REVIEW: Second Chance Summer – Morgan Matson

July 5, 2012 Review 3

Second Chance SummerSecond Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

Taylor Edwards is the middle child of 3. She’s not academic like her older brother, or talented like her younger sister, so her coping mechanism for bad news and uncomfortable situations is not to bury her head in a book or practice a dance routine, it’s to run away from the problem.

That’s how this story starts off. Taylor is heading out of the door at home to escape her family and the summer they plan to spend together at the family’s lake house. It’s to be their first summer there in 5 years, and their last one as a family of 5, given that they’ve just been given devastating news about one of the family members.

There’s a reason they haven’t been there in 5 years. Taylor did then what she always does, she ran away when things got tough. Now she has to go back and face the music, all the while dealing with the news that for one of her family this will be their last ever summer.

This was the first of Morgan Matson’s books that I’ve read. After hearing good things about Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour I knew I wanted to give this new release a try. I’m really glad I did and will definitely be reading more of Morgan Matson’s books when they appear.

The book dealt with the issues of making mistakes,forgiveness, moving on, growing up, and really getting to know someone before it’s too late.

In my opinion the reason Taylor ran away 5 years ago was built up to be a really big thing so I did feel a sense of anti-climax when the reason was revealed, but I guess that would be a major thing to a 12 year old so I was happy to let that go! It’s been a while (*cough, 18 years,cough*) since I was 12 so I’m struggling to think back to how I would have felt!

I really enjoyed this book, even if it did have me crying so much I couldn’t continue for a while towards the end. The subject of someone in Taylor’s family dying hit me hard since I have personal experience of that same person dying. This last section of the book was beautifully written. I felt so heartbroken for Taylor and her family and could completely empathise with their situation which made what was happening to them feel so real for me. A sign of a good book when it evokes that sort of reaction, I think.

I fell in love with Henry, such a sweet, caring guy, perfect boyfriend material. I really liked Lucy and her “tell it like it is” personality, and even dare I say geeky, inexperienced Warren won me over too, especially with his gratitude towards Taylor for what she did for him.

The writing style flowed well, the characters were well developed, and the descriptions of the characters and the settings were vivid and realistic. Definitely a book that I could recommend that people read.

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3 Responses to “REVIEW: Second Chance Summer – Morgan Matson”

  1. Shay @ 365 Books A Year

    Thanks for following me. I’m following you through RSS feed. This sounds like a great book, but my mother died of cancer about 5 years ago. Just can’t read stuff like this yet- unless I know there’s a happy ending. This doesn’t sound like it does.

    • Kelly

      Hi Shay, thanks for stopping by and following. No, in terms of Taylor’s dad it’s not a happy ending. I can say that without spoliers as it’s kind of made clear from the start that it’s inevitable. I’m sorry for your loss and you’re right that it probably wouldn’t be a great book for you to read right now. My own dad died suddenly 5 years ago and this book set off all kinds of emotions within me, ones that I thought I had dealt with a while ago. It was beautifully written but I think that made it all the harder for me to read that section. Take care x

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