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.
And so begins my list of summer reads. I thought summer. And when my friend asked me to do a summer book list for her, I knew that I would have to be one of those cheesy dorks who has to have the word summer in at least one of the books they review for their summer reading list for their friends. So yeah…Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson, everybody. First of all, I have to say the first few pages of this book I really liked. I liked the first few chapters, then hated it the rest of the beginning and most of the middle. Then, at the very end, when I was about to give up on this book, Morgan Matson came out with a pretty satisfactory ending for this book.
I just want to make sure everyone knows that this book does not depend upon the ending to be good. The ending is inevitable, but holy cow, this book traumatized me. There are some books that just make you freeze up and when you’re done, you just sit there with the book in your lap as you stare off into space for a while. The mark of a good book is one that can completely and totally take you to another world or bring you closer to this one. This book did that in the ending it.
I didn’t and did like Taylor’s friendship with her best friends, Henry and Lucy. The slow rebuilding of Lucy and Taylor’s friendship is what I really liked about the book. I didn’t like too much about Henry, or his relationship with Taylor. If you didn’t read Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, also by Morgan Matson, then you’ll be fine. The chances are statistically 87.3% higher that you”ll rate this book about 4 stars or higher if you didn’t read Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. If you did, you’ll keep drawing comparisons to that book. There’s also the chances that it won’t matter though. Either way, this book is worth a shot. If you like Sarah Dessen, you’ll probably like Morgan Matson.
The slow rebuilding of Taylor and Lucy’s friendship, and the romance between Taylor and Henry are all big parts of the book and Taylor as a character herself, but both plots take a back seat to the main plot of the book: family. The Edwards family starts off as distant from another, but as the book progresses, they slowly become a unit, working together. At the end, they are all able to support each other in a major time of need for support. I really liked this concept about the book.That said, the use of flashbacks to previous summers as a technique for fleshing out the friendship and family storyline started to feel tedious. We’re given plenty of insight into the relationship between Taylor, Lucy, Henry and the family, but I felt that this gradual reveal slowed the story down.
Matson’s writing is very readable – she has a keen grasp Taylor’s mental and emotional state, and injects this into her voice. It’s believable and effortless. She also tempers the story with moments of humour and warmth. More for teenage girls than teenage guys. Three stars.
pg count for the hardcover: 468