I've adored author Morgan Matson ever since I read Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. So I was hysterically excited to get my hands on her next book, Second Chance Summer, and yet again she has written the perfect summer read. This is a brand new story with new lead characters that will draw you in and tug at your heart. Taylor and the journey her family embarks on is so captivating that it had me reflecting on my own personal life and how the interactions I have with my family reveal my love and respect for them. When I was near the end of the book I had to close the book and take a minute to compose myself because there was a tiny moment when I saw my own little girl in Taylor and myself. I made a connection to the book and because of that I plan to share this book with my daughter when she becomes older. It’s that seriously good!
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Summary 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.
Taylor is hands down, a character that any teen girl or woman could connect to. She is a girl that is just trying to get through life with as little bumps in the road as possible, but that’s not real life. Real life decides to slam her in the gut like a steel hammer and challenges Taylor to not run away from what she is afraid of. While I read Taylor’s story I felt a sense of encouragement towards her. She’s the middle child of the family who feels she doesn’t stand out to her super intelligent older brother Warren and little ballerina sister Gelsey. So when she experiences things like talking in front a crowd or pleading her case to an ex-boyfriend, and friend you want things to work out for her because she is at least trying to make things better, and when she does this I was right there with her as a reader while her hands shook and pulse raced.
Henry is a guy who was hurt by Taylor five years prior. He was Taylor’s first boyfriend and friend. He has his own story line that I was not expecting. Early in the book he is a bit cold toward Taylor but you never hate him for it because he has every right to be. Instead you are given a storyline from Henry’s perspective that is enlightening and proves helpful to Taylor. I love Henry’s simplicity; nothing is too showy about him. He’s just a guy going through life and someone that you would feel privileged to know.
The Edwards family was my favorite part of the entire book. There interaction with each other is wonderful. They each have there own little quirks and sarcasm that will have you laugh out loud. They support each other during there up’s and downs and make an honest effort in spending time with each other. Robin, Taylor’s father, is absolutely brilliant. He adores his family and he is a reminder that parents always have an idea of what’s going on with their children if they pay attention. His relationship with his daughter had me in tears until the very end of the book. My husband bared witness to this and when he asked why I was crying I said, “Because I can’t help but think of you and our own daughter when I read this book.” I may have seen a bit of my husband in this too only because he is a man of rituals. He is consistent with our children making sure they each feel special and I see that in Robin Edwards.
Even though this book is shelved in the YA genre, I feel that it would stand true amongst any adult fiction title as well. It’s got humor, drama, and really makes you think and reflect after reading it. I can’t stop talking about it and have a number of people that I have to hound and make sure they read Second Chance Summer. Morgan Matson is probably one of my favorite authors. She has a way of keeping the characters locked away in the minds of her readers and can set up a scene like no one’s business. When reading her books I can’t help but see the movie version in my head and hear the soundtrack that partners with it of course. So if you read anything this summer do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Second Chance Summer.