Monday, 23 July 2012

Book Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Second Chance SummerTitle: Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Series: Standalone
Pages:  468
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
Date of Publication: 7th June 2012
Source: Publisher*
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.(l

My Thoughts:
Having never read anything by Morgan Matson, despite having Amy & Roger on my shelf for almost a whole year now, I was excited to find out what all the fuss about her books was. I'd only heard good things and let me tell you, I completely agree with every single one of those glowing reviews and tweets that have surrounded this book. It was fantastic.

Maybe I should have, but I didn't realise that Second Chance Summer wouldn't all be fun and games, which I'd assumed by looking at the cover. Taylor's dad is terminally ill and only has a few months left to live, and as soon as I found that out in one of the first few chapters, I knew this book would break me. I dreaded the end the whole way through, dreaded what I knew was coming because it would be so sad and awful I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like for the characters. Even though they're not real... Pfffft.

At first, it was good, but it wasn't amazing. There was this whole thing about Taylor and her friend Lucy, and this guy called Henry. Taylor and Lucy had a falling out many years ago, and it built up and built up in the beginning to what I thought was going to be a huge conflict, but it turned out to be pretty trivial in my opinion.  For some people that may be the be all and end all (and maybe it goes back to me not having had a relationship before so I couldn't relate (as mentioned in a previous review)), but I don't know - I just expected something more drastic... Anyway, that was like, my ONE complaint for the whole book. Just the one.

Everything else was perfect. The setting was gloriously summery and made me want my summer holidays to come quick (not that I like hot weather, but whatever) and the characters were so real and just generally awesome people. I've not read many books where the author makes family life such a big part of the book, and it was great. Often I find that families don't play much of a role, or the family bonds seem either strained or unnatural, so to see that the book was more about real family bonds and friendship rather than just finding yourself a nice boyfriend (though there's some of that too) was awesome.

I have to talk about the end. There won't be any spoilers that aren't obvious, I promise! The end broke me into pieces and I was a mess. It was literally the most I have ever cried at a book before, most definitely. Taylor's world is completely ripped apart and even though she's been preparing for it for months, it's one of those things that you don't really think is ever going to happen and then it does and you have no idea what to do with yourself. And it's not even my dad but afterwards I felt like someone close to me had died. My parents kept asking me if I was okay and I told them what happened and they reminded me that it wasn't real. It may not have been, but it sure felt like it was.

And I must mention Henry. Henry is the most adorable person ever. He's on a level with Cricket Bell on my adorableness scale. (Yeah. I'm that cool.) There was nothing particularly remarkable about him for a while, and then I realised he was cute, and once that thought had popped into my brain, I couldn't think of anything else. He's just adorable! GAH. I loved him. You could read the book just for Henry. He's that cute. :3

I agree with absolutely everyone who's raving about Morgan Matson's books. Second Chance Summer is definitely one of my favourite contemporary reads, right up there with Anna and Lola by Stephanie Perkins and Perfect Chemistry. I absolutely adored it and I can't wait to read Amy & Roger (finally!) when I'm on holiday. If you're looking for a good contemporary, then you should definitely pick this up! You won't regret it - both heart warming and heart wrenching, this has everything needed for that perfect summer read that you'll want to read over and over again, every time summer comes around.

*Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

4 comments:

  1. I hope you get to read Amy & Roger soon! Morgan Matson is my favourite. She'll probably become one of my favourite authors :)

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  2. You really must read Amy & Rogers Epic Detour soon! I loved both of these books and couldn't put either down when I was reading them! Glad you loved this one as much as I did!

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  3. ^^What they said, haha!

    Awesome review, Bella! I have a copy of this and I'm so excited to read it, especially now I've read your review! And omg, if Henry is as adorable as you say he is, I NEED TO READ THIS ASAP!!!

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  4. You MUST MUST MUST read Amy & Roger! And the ending broke me a little bit, too. Not as much as TFiOS, say, but it was pretty bad. And Henry! I basically just agree with this whole review.

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