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Thursday 30 August 2012

Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Page Count: 468 pages, Hardcover (I read the Paperback edition, 468 pages - Simon & Schuster UK)
Date Published: May 8th 2012  (first published June 7th 2012)
Find it on Goodreads: Second Chance Summer
Source: Purchased
Rating:  4/5

 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.

 My Thoughts: What seems like a fluffy, cute read is actually a story filled with depth and had me in tears multiple times. 

The description doesn't really do this book many favors. It makes it seem like a mindless summer read that you'll forget in a few days. But it was absolutely not that. This is a book about family, friendship, love and forgiveness. After reading Pushing the Limits, I really wanted something to get my mind off of things and to try and cheer me up. While this book was fantastic, it was also not the book to do that with. I absolutely loved Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, so I was super excited for this book to come out... I think a lot of people can agree with me on that. This is the perfect book for lovers of contemporaries that aren't filled with instluv and cheesy story lines. 

The Edwards family charmed me from the very beginning. I loved how distant they are at first, and the fact that their old cabin and a stray dog can help bring them together during a really horrible time. Taylor's dad is sick with terminal cancer, so they decide to spend one last summer at their old summer cabin. There they begin to reconnect and learn more about each other than ever. The entire family felt so real... They were all people I can imagine staying in the cabin next to mine. I LOVED Taylor's brother... I have a real weakness for those adorably awkward brothers in YA. Then there was her little sister, who reminded me of myself two years ago, actually. Always dancing around the house, my family avoiding  my kicks and leaps because it's completely normal. Matson got the 'young dancer' spot on. Then there was the mom and dad. Obviously it was hard not to love Taylor's dad. And I felt so much for her mother. She had to be so strong whilst watching her husband slowly die... Matson had me tearing up in some of the scenes with Taylor's mum. 

The only thing I can say that really disappointed me about this book was the big 'betrayal' that Taylor committed. The way the author built up tension and suspense as to what it was, when it was finally revealed, I was a bit like, 'Huh?'. It was made up into this huge thing, that ended up being really overemphasized. If there had been more focus on the relationship between Taylor and her father, and less about the not-so-dramatic past, this book would have gotten five stars out of me. Although this book was also about Taylor rekindling her old friendships and relationship with Henry, my favorite scenes were the ones with her family. Yes, her friendship with Lucy was important, as well as her romance with Henry, but there were a few times where I felt the book start dragging along and not have much going on. But at the same time, I felt there were plenty of times where the author did the perfect amount of detail, and made the book filled with emotion and detail that was personal to the characters. I don't know if that makes any sense, but it did in my head...  I did like Henry, he was cute and sweet and the relationship between him and Taylor took time and forgiveness, so that was an absolute plus. But I wish we could have delved a little bit more into who he was. We learn a bit about his past, but not much more about him. Then there was Lucy, Taylor's ex-best friend. She was hard to like at first, but eventually grows on you. 

This is a great book for the summer, if you enjoy books that will have you reaching for the tissue box half the time! It's got a story that is filled with real characters and a real story. There were so many things that Matson included in the story that made it so much better, like the fact that Taylor's father wanted to do as many things that he hadn't done before he passed, or the fact that Taylor and Lucy help Gelsey and her new friend have an epic sleepover. It was things like that that made this book amazing to me. I'm really loving Morgan Matson's works, and am looking forward to what she comes up with next!

Have a great day/night!


  1. Thanks for the review! I just got this book today, but I think I'll hang onto it until I feel like having a good cry.

  2. Thanks for the review! contemp rocks


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