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.

5-rating

 

Book Review: Lola and The Boy Next Door

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss #2)

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Publisher:  Speak (July 9, 2013)

Format: Paperback

Pages: 338

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

This is the second book in The Anna and The French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins. I’m extremely in love with this book. It has the right amount of all the feels. Cricket Bell is so cute (and I am fangirling here like a crazy schoolgirl). Anyhoo, the story is about Lola Nolan, a girl who’s into taking up a notch when it comes to her daily outfits. She almost has the dream life that every girl can have, including having the perfect hot rocker boyfriend. However, one day, the only one guy from the past, the one she’s terrified to face again moves back to the house next to theirs. Lola’s long buried feelings come back to her and it seems like she will not be able to resist it.

Reading Lola and The Boy Next Door is same as breathing. It’s probably the easiest and lightest read that I’ve had this year. I did not have the slightest problem in reading it. I found myself breeze-reading through it. It made me feel good with all the feelings that it evoked inside of me (lol, jk).

I find all the characters adorable and unique. I love love love Lola. I almost wish I was her. I like that she’s creative and funny although she can also be shy and doubtful to herself. She also got cool parents (not her birth parents). Most of the time I laughed out loud while reading the book, it was mostly because of them. It was great how they support Lola but can also be overprotective. Oh and Cricket…my Cricket. He’s such a nerd but I love him for it. I like the fact that he makes stuff for Lola. I love that he’s a bit awkward but still cute.

There are pretty funny scenes in the book and those made me go on and on. The last part all about them helping Calliope. That was really awesome. My favorite part was the dance at the end part of the book. That was all sweet and feels-inducing.

I also appreciate the parts where Anna and St. Clair were in the story. Thank God for putting them there Stephanie. This book is so perfect.

I’m recommending this book to all YA contemporary lovers out there. I’m sure this book will make it to your favorites list. My rating for this book is:

5-rating

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 road..no 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:

4-rating

Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Title: We Were Liars

Author: E. Lockhart

Publisher: Hot Keys Books (May 15, 2014)

Format: Paperback

Pages: 228

Synopsis from Goodreads:

We are the Liars.

We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury.

We are cracked and broken.

A story of love and romance.

A tale of tragedy.

Which are lies?

Which is truth?

I was actually hesitant to read this novel due to the huge hype that’s been going around about this book. There have been lots of good reviews and bad ones too. Finally, when there had been a huge book store sale near my place, so I finally decided to buy the book and see what the hype is all about.

We Were Liars takes place in a private island owned by the Sinclairs, a well-known rich family. Every summer, the Sinclair cousins, Cadence, Johny, Mirren, together with Gat  see each other and have fun like kids living the dream life.  One day, Cadence wakes up with these terrible migraines and she realizes that she has forgotten everything that had occurred after an accident in the island two years ago. When she gets back, everything changes and she finds out what happened.

Well, that was all that I could tell you at this moment. Other reviewers were definitely right when they said that you better read this book without knowing and expecting anything about it. I am glad that I got to read it without accidentally coming across spoilers and stuff..but the thing is that I got HIGH expectations for this novel.

I was absolutely shocked at the plot twist. Honestly, I didn’t know how to feel. I was confused and my mind was in a mess. I was trying to catch up..and I was all WHAT???!!!! I guess it took some time for me to absorb what has been revealed. I was waiting and waiting for the climax of the story to unfold and there it appeared at the point in the story wherein I did not expect it to appear. There goes all my expectations.

On the other hand, E. Lockhart’s way of writing is so beautiful in a way that she’ll make you feel fascinated. Her use of metaphor to convey her character’s emotion was effective to me. It’s powerful I tell you. Plus, she also incorporated some short fairy tales in the novel. Wow. Just wow. She also made feel as if I was reading a very long book when in truth she was able to condense the story in just 200 plus pages.

When I finished WWL, I had lots and lots of questions and I would love to find out about them when E. Lockhart comes here in the Philippines next year. LOL. In the meantime, I would have to deal with my book hangover by watching theories about WWL in booktube.

4-rating