Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 7, 2013)
Format: Trade Paperback
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
This is actually the second book by Morgan Matson that I have read to prepare myself for her previous book signing here in the Philippines. First one was Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour which I have read a million years ago. 😛 It did took me a long time to finish it though because of life in general, lol. Anyway, I think this novel is such a beautiful, heart-wrenching story that touched my soul. I know, I know, it’s a common line for books in this genre but it perfectly describes what the book really is.
The story is set when the Edwards family go to their summer house in Lake Phoenix for vacation when they receive a saddening news that would change their lives forever. Not only that is happening, but Taylor, our main character is actually not comfortable of going back because of the past that she’s had there.
Let me just say that I adore Morgan so much for writing a book that focuses in family dynamics and friendships as well. It’s unusual for me to find a young adult contemporary book that tackles most of the important topics that people today should be reading. I find myself somehow invested in the characters in this book because somehow I can relate to what they are going through. That’s just one of the reason why I think Second Chance Summer captured my heart as a reader.
With regards to the characters, I think they were very well-written. They are flawed which makes it easier to identify with them. I guess I might have been annoyed for some part at Taylor because she’s silly and stubborn as hell but that just makes her character natural. I also enjoyed Lucy and Henry. I think they were the kind of friends that I would love to have in my life. Warren is also such a joy to read about.
The aspect that I enjoyed the most is reading about Taylor’s family. They were not very close to each other and had hard time being showy with their affections. It might hit me in the heart because my family is a tiny bit of something like them but the only difference is that we have open communication with each other. Her parents are adorable and her siblings added fun to my reading experience.
Story-wise, I have know that this story has a sad ending to it, having read reviews and heard from some of my friends who read it. The plot was beautiful, it explored friendship (leaving others and what it is to be left behind). Yes, another thing that I guess I can relate on. Also, I enjoyed how Morgan worked her way through these people repaired their friendship. Romance aspect of the book was cutesy too.
Now, beware of this book. I am telling you to steer clear of this book if you are looking for summer-y fun themed novels. Sure, it has its funny moments but it made me sob my heart out. The last few chapters broke my heart. I wondered how am I ever going to survive this book. I can just remember the time I was reading it, I was close to breaking down because I cannot imaging losing someone so important in your life. And now that I am writing about it, I almost want to cry again.
Overall, I think Second Chance Summer made me read contemporary YA novels again. After my long break in this genre, it made me want to go read more. The story was amazing and touching. I recommend it highly to everyone. Please read this. Oh and I really am glad to have met Morgan because damn her book is frigging fantastic.