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.

I was already a huge fan of Morgan Matson from the get-go. Her debut Amy and Roger's Epic Detour is one of my all-time favorite books ever. I loved the adventure, seeing the country through Amy and Roger's eyes, and watching their relationship develop. Second Chance Summer goes in a totally different direction. It's consistent with gorgeous writing and a fantastic cast of characters. But this story is grounded in family, and is such a beautiful heart wrenching book about love and loss.

Let me just say this first. I KNEW it was coming. She tells you it's coming. Yet--when it happened, I was still sobbing like a baby. 

Taylor Edwards runs when things get tough. That is so, so relatable for so many people. But Taylor runs in a literal sense as well as metaphorical, avoiding confrontation at all costs. And as a result, one small problem accumulates over years and years, becoming so much bigger than it ever needed to be. Who can't relate to that? I loved watching Taylor develop throughout the novel and become a better friend, sister, and daughter, and seeing her realize that it's worth sticking around.

Matson's ability to develop relationships and simultaneously weave them all together always amazes me. Watching Taylor re-form old friendships--and showing how it wasn't easy to do so. I adored Taylor's childhood best friend, Lucy. And Henry. Such a sweetheart. He was a little TOO nice for my personal taste, but I still loved him. AND THANK YOU for being pissed with Taylor at first. But yes, so many feels with them. And the tree house. There's a tree house. That is all I'm saying.

Okay, Marisa. Stop talking about the cuteness. Because the root of the this story is so emotional. And horribly tragic. Because it's not a story that just revolves around Taylor's summer and fixing all the relationships she broke. It's also a story about cancer, and dealing with it's effects. And I should've learned what they do to me after The Fault in our Stars, but of course it didn't. Watching the decline of Taylor's father, seeing how the different family members reacted to it. But mostly, seeing how Taylor reacted to it, because she was closest to her father. Just thinking about it as I'm typing this is making me emotional. 

Taking a turn away from the emotion... *wipes tear*... Thank you Morgan Matson for well written flashbacks! I already knew you were awesome at this from Amy and Roger's, but these flashbacks were even better! Usually, I dread flashbacks because when they're bad they can take away from the story. But these totally added to the story in every possible way. So much love.

I am continually impressed with Morgan Matson, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next! I could rave on and on about her and her books for pages, I swear!

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Paige said...

Yay! Thanks for posting this review! I'm reading it now and I'm having trouble getting into it so I guess it gets better!

Marisa said...

Paige: It definitely is a bit slow at first--but it gets really good!

Amaranthine said...

This book looks great! I might try it...I lose patience with books though. :3

Zoe said...

I didn't finish reading Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, but this book sounds really good but emotionally draining...I better get the tissues ready. Great, articulate review!