Thursday, July 5, 2012

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak.

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. (from GoodReads)

I loved Morgan Matson's first novel, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, because it was an amazing road-trip novel and I'm pleased to say that I also adored Second Chance Summer.

I was originally drawn to this novel because it takes place in the Pocono Mountains. I've vacationed there before so I am familiar with the locale, even though the author did create her own lake and town for the book. Places near me are rarely in books, so I get excited when they do eventually show up.

There is something about books that are set in the summer that I just love. Summer is my favorite season, and there's just this feeling of possibility. Like, anything could happen in the summer. So I love books that take place during this time and especially when they're set somewhere different, like at the beach or in the mountains. In Second Chance Summer, the lake and the surrounding town is an important aspect. It's where everything happens, but it also is the catalyst for the action in the book.

I really liked the way the protagonist, Taylor, was characterized. Her "fatal flaw" (you could call it) is that she tends to run away when things get tough. This is the reason for her break with her friends, which is eventually told through flashbacks, and you get the idea that this keeps her a little distant from her family.

But I love that Taylor's penchant for leaving gets reformed in this "second chance summer." In addition to getting a second chance with her family, friends, and love, she gets a second chance with herself. Taylor realizes that she is a strong person and can handle the tough parts of life.

As for the plot, I enjoyed all aspects of it, even the parts where I was bawling my eyes out. I'm pretty close with my dad, so I could feel Taylor's pain and grief over what happens. I would suggest not reading this public, unless you don't mind crying in front of people, because I don't think many readers will stay dry-eyed at the end.

Overall, I thought Second Chance Summer was a very poignant novel and showed that you should treasure the time you have with your loved ones because you don't know when it might be gone. Even through all the seriousness, I really did enjoy the novel (parts of it actually were fun) and thought it combined all the best parts of YA contemporary fiction.

Rating: 10 out of 10!!
FTC: read online at Pulse It

2012/Simon Pulse/480 pages.


We Heart YA said...

Ooo, somehow we didn't realize this was the same author as AMY & ROGER! Very cool. And we keep hearing great things about this book. Thanks for explaining the "second chance" bit. We can definitely identify with Taylor's urge to avoid the hard stuff -- but like her, we had to learn that that's not the best or right way to deal.

Katie said...

Great review! I have been dying to read this ever since I first heard about it. I loved Amy & Roger's Epic Detour and while this one sounds pretty different, I think I will love it.