Book Review: Second Chance by Morgan Matson

11071466Title: Second Chance Summer

Author: Morgan Matson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 7, 2013)

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 468

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.




Book Review: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Title:  Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

Author: Morgan Matson

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 3, 2011)

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 344

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is a story about finding your way back or rather moving forward after being faced with misfortunes in life. Amy blames herself for the death of her father due to a car accident. What’s left in her family became even more broken. Her mother moves to Connecticut and her brother is away in a rehab facility. She’s alone and lonely. One day, her mother decides to put her and a childhood friend, Roger, to go on a road trip to Connecticut. As they set forth on their journey, they decided to take a detour instead of following the itinerary made for them by her mother.

At the beginning of the novel, I was afraid that this could be a story filled with lots of angst. Thankfully, it wasn’t. Of course, there is drama but it’s the kind that will touch your heart..not torture your heart (you know how hard it is, right?). I kind of put in my head that this will be a light read. At some parts of the story it is. There are the cutesy scenes in which Amy’s having a bit of a crush on Roger. Who wouldn’t? Roger is charming and handsome and intelligent.

I also enjoyed the incorporated playlists, scrapbook pictures and  other stuff featured in the book. That’s what made me appreciate the book more. It’s fun having those to feel like I’m actually on the trip with Amy and Roger. It definitely triggered my brain to crave for road trips.

Their adventures in Yosemite was really good. I can’t help but laugh at most of the things that happened to them at that place. Also, the part with the Loneliest Road in America. Gosh, I wonder if I was travelling there, maybe I would become hysterical for driving miles and miles and not seeing anything but the sign of civilization at sight.

I thought the issues that Roger has would be deeper than what is in the book. Anyway, it’s good of Amy to help him in resolving it. In the book, Roger is chasing after a girl who’s no longer interested in him. I mean wow. Dump the girl Roger and stop your foolishness! Lol.

All in all, what I like the most about this novel is that, it’s told in a compelling way. It will make you turn page after page. It will make your heart melt and drown you in feels. Also, the fact that it’s not all about cutesy teenager romance. It’s about family ties, building friendships, and finding hope again.

My rate for this book is: