Friday, 20 July 2012

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Taylor Edwards has made  leaving things behind into an art form. When things get tough, she gets going. Then her dad gets some terrible news and the whole family decides to spend the summer at their old lake house, where Taylor is forced to confront her past. She hasn't been to the lake for years and isn't keen to go back. But then she starts to reconnect with the people she thought she'd left behind- including Henry, her first crush, who's even cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve....
With fireworks, fireflies and midnight swims, the summer feels full of possibility and, for the first time, Taylor wants to hold on to the moment but is one summer really enough to have a second chance- with family, friends and love?

Finally got reunited with this book- it was every bit as amazing as I thought it would be. Just like with Amy and Roger's Epic Detour I could happily go and live in the Poconos and live this book (minus the sadness)! It was more emotional than Amy and Roger's Epic Detour but just as captivating. Before I gush too much I'll get in to..

What I Loved:
  • Edwards siblings- I loved Warren for his facts, nervousness and moments of brotherly affection. Gelsey was so devoted to Ballet and clearly looked up to Taylor, who was unaware. As the summer progressed it was clear that they were closer than they thought. Taylor set up Warren and showed Gelsey how to be twelve, Warren displayed just how well he knew Taylor. They may not have been a super close unit but when needed they were supportive which was very realistic and made a change to all the super close siblings in YA fiction.
  • Taylor- Wow it is hard to put into words how much I loved this character! She was flawed yet endearing. I think we have all left things behind when they got hard so it was easy to relate to Taylor. I liked how she recognised that she had a tendency to run and tried to combat it, whether intentionally or not. I loved her relationship with her dad who accepted her for who she was and how she related to him. I liked that she was actually quite confident in herself despite everything.  I just loved her!
  • Robin Edwards- Taylor's dad was very courageous, he got diagnosed and despite being scared he spent his time with his family, experiencing all his favourite things. I especially loved how he treated each of his children individually, he talked law with Warren, did breakfasts and ice cream with Taylor  and whatever with Gelsey. It was heart breaking to read his slow then quick deterioration.
  • The Poconos- The setting of the summer! I loved the summer community vibe. How nothing substantial had ever really changed. How there was a predictable routine. How even the people were often  It was the best setting for the story!
  • The pace- Morgan Matson managed to tell a story over a summer with well placed flashbacks and flawless pacing. I could feel the summer slipping away and the flashbacks felt like you were five years in the past.
  • Henry- Genuinely a good guy! He was forgiving, sweet and sounded pretty hot! I liked that he had layers he wasn't just the same guy from five years ago. I loved their cute history and how their relationship developed.
  • Minor characters- Morgan Matson has a brilliant talent for creating a cast of side characters with background and significance. I loved Davy with his love of the wilderness. Mr Crosby's dedication to trying to revive Robin's appetite. Leland's spaced out life guarding. They were all well thought out and added something to the book instead of just being there.
  • The mysterious reason Taylor didn't want to go back- I won't spoil this but I kinda loved it. Mainly for how it reminded me how different things are to twelve year olds and how grudges or indiscretions can last as long as you let them. I also think it helped Taylor realise that running away hadn't made it any better and had just cost her relationships and fun summers.
  • Realism- Most people can remember a time when they holidayed every summer with their whole family to the same place, played board games and knew that place as well as their home. However like the Edwards, families change, your parents get tired of the same place, siblings grow up or you decide to holiday with a friend instead. I loved , despite the circumstances, that the Edwards got one last summer to reconnect as a family.
What I didn't love as much.
  • Lucy- She did grow on me but I didn't feel she'd really grown up in the five years. Taylor believed she had a strict sense of right and wrong but it kind of felt like she was just unfairly stubborn. She was also a terrible employee and really mean to start with!
  • Mrs. Edwards- I felt like she openly favoured Gelsey. She always seemed to be helping her with ballet or doing her hair or organising for her to practise ballet. She didn't seem to show the same level of interest in Warren or Taylor. At times, most likely because the book was from Taylor's point of view, she was unfairly harsh on Taylor. She grew on me at the very end.
  • How sad this book was!- I knew the book would be sad from the beginning but it still was hard to read especially as I really fell in love with the characters!

Morgan Matson has cemented herself as my go to summer author- especially as Amy and Roger made a brief cameo, love when authors do that!
So go pick this up and be prepared to love and cry!

Much Love!
P.S my review of Amy and Roger's Epic Detour.


  1. I actually have only read one review of this and it was just a so-so one. So I wasn't rushing to pick this up. But after reading your review I think I'm excited again. I'm glad it really was amazing for you. I REALLY loved Amy & Roger so hopefully this is a winner too. Thanks for rekindling my interest!

    1. Yay! I'm so glad I could rekindle your interest!
      It truly lives up to the standard of Amy and Roger :)
      I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


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