Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Second Chance Summer - Morgan Matson

Second Chance Summer Morgan Matson book cover
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library || Hardcover

Taylor Edwards and her family are headed to the Pocono Mountains to spend one last summer together after her father receives some life-changing news. As they return to a place last visited in her childhood, Taylor discovers that sometimes, there's just enough time to get a second chance... in life and in love.

This book is absolute perfection, at least in my eyes. It features everything I could ever want in a YA novel - a beautiful setting, a tight-knit family unit, a sweet boy-next-door and a story that touched my heart. While I was a fan of Morgan Matson's debut novel Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, I can happily report that it's been topped by the incredible work that is Second Chance Summer.

One of the remarkable capabilities that this author possesses is the ability to write a whole cast of characters that I can fall in love with and care deeply about. Taylor (a name I love, by the way), her family, Henry, Lucy and all the residents of the town added such a charming aspect to the story, and they totally won me over just by being who they were. There were aspects of each character that I could identify with, and I think that was an important factor in making me love them all.

Her setting in this novel - what a place it is! It sounds like a spot I'd love to own a vacation house in myself. With a neighborhood that's safe and accessible, all the amenities anyone could want during a relaxing summer and a sense of security and small-town intimacy, I fell in love. It had me wishing I could go on vacation myself, especially since I've never really been on a vacation in a community like the one in this book.

And oh, the romance did many complicated things to my heart. But the end result was that it made me happy.. as in swoony, smiling like an idiot happy. The relationship between Taylor and Henry is fraught with complications and history, but I loved that. I loved that it started when they were younger. I love that they had to work to put all of these things in their past behind them and take a step forward. And I love that we were reminded of something important about relationships - that choosing to take a chance on one is always going to be a risk, even when you think you know the other person well. It also helps that I practically swooned over all their moments together, since a lot of things that Henry said and did were so, so lovely.

However, only half of what makes this novel special lies in the romance. The other half falls into the relationships Taylor with her family, which were so authentic and made me miss my own family while I was reading. The way Taylor interacts with each member of her family - her older brother, her younger sister, her mother and her father - is different and unique to them, and I like how the author was able to showcase that. I love reading YA with an incredible family dynamic, and Second Chance Summer is certainly one of those novels.

Reading about Taylor's relationship with her father, both her memories and her current experiences with him as his condition worsened, felt like such a gift. The bond between them warmed my heart, and I enjoyed their moments together. This intimate view into their relationship, of course, constitutes most of the reason of why I bawled my eyes out as I got towards the last third of the book. So yes, be warned: this book will most likely make you cry until your eyes have swollen.

Second Chance Summer is a beautifully written story, featuring a look into Taylor's life and her relationships with her family, her friends and the boy. It's a tale that will tug at your heartstrings, while simultaneously making you smile and swoon. Reading this book is definitely worth the time you'll spend with it.

32 comments:

  1. I loved Second Chance Summer too and I had pretty high expectation after reading Amy and Roger's Epic Detour so yay! I liked the characters but have to say I didn't connect with them all that much for some reason. Also, yes about the sobbing. As the book neared the tears just got worse and by the end my heart was broken. *sigh* Morgan Matson sure is good and I can't wait to read more by her! Glad you enjoyed it, always nice to see a MM fan about :)

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    1. I really, really loved this book. I loved Taylor + her family, and I loved Henry! Plus, any book that makes me break out into sobs is a winner.

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  2. I want to read this book SO MUCH. I checked it out of my library once but didn't get to it before I had to turn it back in because someone had requested it. I haven't read Epic Detour either, so I feel like I'm missing out on some great stuff by this author. Everyone seems to really love her. But this one, THIS ONE - very high on my "want to read" list! I love that you love it so much!

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    1. I hope that you get to read Morgan's stuff this year, because she's a wonderful writer. I loved both her books, but this one is my favorite ;)

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  3. SUCH a great book. I was just saying last night that it is indeed perfect to me.

    So glad you got a chance to read it! (FINALLY!!!! haha)

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    1. I KNOW. I can't believe it took me so long because it is SO GOOD. I need my own copy of this book!

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    1. You'll like certain parts of this book for sure then! :)

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  5. I really want to read this book, and now even more thanks to your review. It really seems like a wonderful book! I also love reading YA books that have a great family dynamic, because there are just too many YA books where the family is a bit 'forgotten'. I hope I'll love Second Chance Summer too when I get to read it!

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    1. I hope you do as well. The family dynamic is awesome in this one, and the romance is a major plus.

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  6. The romance sounds absolutely brilliant. I reckon I'd enjoy this one, even though I can be quite particular about romance. I will also need to dig out my copy of Matson's debut novel as I've heard great things about that one. Lovely review, Alexa! :)

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    1. I've read both of her books and really loved them, so I hope you do as well! I like the way she writes her characters.

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  7. What a wonderful review for such a wonderful book! Reading your thoughts reminds me of how deeply affecting this book was and I honestly want to go cry somewhere for a bit. I loved Amy & Roger, too, but Second Chance Summer cemented Morgan Matson as one of my favorites.

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    1. RIGHT? I loved Amy & Roger, but Second Chance Summer just took my breath away (and made me cry, obviously).

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  8. Oh, Alexa..now I want to push everything aside and read this book!!

    "a beautiful setting, a tight-knit family unit, a sweet boy-next-door and a story that touched my heart" - I LOVE ALL OF THESE THINGS TOO!!

    I have to make this one a priority come January. Great review!

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    1. Yes Jess, do read this one! It's SO GOOD. And Estelle (Rather be Reading) will vouch for it too :)

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  9. I loved, loved, loved this book and your review just reminded me of that love all over again! I cannot WAIT to see what Morgan Matson comes up with next =) I, too, was a sobbing mess at the end of this book, even more so than The Fault in Our Stars, I think. But it was sooooooooooooo good -- and one of those good, therapeutic cries ;)

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    1. After reading this book, I wanted to go find my family and give hugs all around. It reminded me of how important and precious the moments I share with them (and with all my loved ones) are!

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  10. SUCH an amazing book! I loooooved it! And it made me feel ALL THE EMOTIONS! I love that there was that family love mixed in the story, but also Taylor wanting to find herself and live her first love. I hope to read this again sometime -- probably prepared with more Kleenex this time. :)

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    1. Yup, I'll need to keep a Kleenex box within reach if I read this again. I do need to get my own copy first...

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  11. I want to read this one SO BAD! I love a good combination of incredible family dynamics (I love that in a book btw!) and romance, which was part of the reason why I loved The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. I liked Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, but this one seems even better.

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    1. Oh, this one's really good! I'm sure you'll like it. If I'm being honest, I love it even more than Amy & Roger!

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  12. I think this may cure my Amy and Roger hangover!

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    1. It might! But be warned, this one is a little more emotional!

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  13. I just read Amy and Roger and LOVED it ! Like I just finished it a few hours ago.I'll have to grab this one next, I had no idea they were written by the same author.

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    1. You definitely should. She's a wonderful writer, and this one is just lovely!

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  14. HOORAY FOR FAMILY! i really loved this story so i'm glad you did too. i want to re-read it. it makes me happy and sad at the same time.

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    1. Me too! Just thinking about the story makes me smile and my heart hurt all at once...

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  15. Oh goodness, Shanyn gifted this book to me, right, and you mention the bawling and I'm like noooo no cries, but you know what, I am totally going to risk it because Second Chance Summer sounds excellent and I love a good family dynamic and ROMANCE!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it April! It's a pretty awesome book and Shanyn definitely knew what she was doing when she gifted it to you :)

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  16. This book sounds so relaxing, and it seems like a perfect read during the spring or summer! I like the cover also.
    -
    Leigh
    Little Book Star

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    1. I'll probably want to reread this one in the summer!

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