Thursday, August 6, 2015

Review: Second Chance Summer

Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Published: May 8th, 2012
Paperback, 468 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Taylor Edwards' family might not be the closest knit - everyone is a little too busy and over-scheduled - 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.

There's no beating around the bush on this one - it's a tearjerker. Taylor's family hasn't really been that close, but when her dad is diagnosed with cancer, suddenly everything is going to change. One last summer at the lake house will bring the family together like never before. It was an amazing summer full of family, friendship and love and I was in love every step of the way. Taylor's last time at the lake house was memorable for all the wrong reasons. She left without saying goodbye to her first "boyfriend" (they were twelve) Henry, and her best friend, Lucy. Back after so many years, she's not surprised with the hostility they both show her once they realize she's there for the summer. But this is a summer for second chances, and throughout the book, we watch Taylor redeem herself and find out how she became so good at running away. This is a typical summer book with a dash of grief mixed in. The more Taylor learns to live, the more she realizes her father won't be able to anymore. The hope and loss is strong and every chapter brought me closer to an ending I would never be prepared for.

Every character in this book was great and well-rounded. Taylor was very typical for a seventeen year old girl, she liked to run away from problems and I won't lie when I say I've done the same. Her and Henry are awkward at first, but you can tell right away that he cares about her and wants them to be friends again. Lucy is not so easily persuaded and Taylor works really hard over the summer to earn her friendship back. They work together at a concession booth on the beach and the close quarters certainly made for great tension while their friendship was on the rocks. I was very happy when they became friends again as strong female friendships are so fun to read in books. I love when an author makes it as important as the romance because a seventeen-year-old girl would tell her friends everything. I remember how important friendship was at that age, and even now I don't know what I'd do without my best friends. Taylor's family was very realistic as well. Her older brother is an awkward brainiac who also finds love over the summer and it's the cutest damn thing. Her little sister, Gelsey, is a talented ballerina who takes after her mom and is constantly the center of attention. My favourite part with her is when Lucy and Taylor teach her how to have a proper sleepover, something every little girl needs to know!

Throughout the book, there are flashbacks to Taylor's twelve summer, a time when things were easier and everything was happy. It played really well into the story and made Taylor's redemption that much stronger. The closer I got to the end, I knew the summer was coming to an end. As Taylor grew closer to Lucy and spent romantic moments with Henry, her father's death longed in the back of her mind. Matson certainly knows how to tug those heartstrings. Taylor grew closer to her family, spent time with her father and made new memories over the summer. Family is the main focus of this book and even though Taylor spent her days with her friends, the times with her family were more important than anything. Summer stories hold a certain place in my heart. They are always hopeful and fun and nights spent looking out at the lake as the sunsets is what dreams are made of. Matson has weaved together a tale of summer love, summer friendship and moments that will forever be captured in my heart. You'll want to hug your dad and your family after this book. You'll want to say "I love you" to everyone you love before it's too late. This one is a keeper, and sometimes you need a good cry, right?

"A thousand moments that I had just taken for granted - mostly because I assumed that there would be a thousand more."

"And I've realized that the Beatles got it wrong. Love isn't all we need - love is all there is."

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