Monday, June 11, 2018

Shenanigans + Celebrations • Save the Date

If you’ve been a longtime reader of my blog (hello to you, by the way, and thank you for continuing to visit my little corner of the internet!), you’ll know the following two things (or you’ll know them now, if you’ve come across this blog just today):
  • I love Morgan Matson.
  • Of all her published work, Second Chance Summer has always been my favorite.
Armed with this knowledge, you’ll understand then that it is very high praise from me to tell you that Save the Date actually rivals Second Chance Summer as my favorite of Morgan’s works. I honestly can’t even believe it myself, as I expected to love the new book, but would never have imagined that I’d love it just as much as I do Second Chance Summer. But here we are, and so, I’m going to try and explain just why I fell in love with this one.

Save the Date is set over the course of a three day wedding weekend taking place in the Grant family home. It is a story of romantic comedy proportions, with all sorts of things going wrong in the days leading up to the actual celebration and Charlie Grant, youngest of the siblings, is the main character we follow as she tries to get a handle on all the problems that arise. There are wedding-related shenanigans, complicated (but loving) familial dynamics, and two potential romantic options, as well as Charlie’s own personal emotional experiences in the face of change and the removal of her rose-tinted glasses to confront some truths.

I just genuinely enjoyed Save the Date from start to finish. It’s not only because of Morgan’s writing style (which I’ve always been a fan of), but it’s also because of the five main factors listed below.
  • Charlie Grant: Charlie is not perfect. In fact, she makes some pretty terrible judgment calls over the course of this story, and I found myself shaking my head at her more than once. But I liked that she was making mistakes. I liked that she was forced to deal with hard stuff. I liked seeing how she had to make peace with the fact that life isn’t static and continues to change, and how she also had to come to terms with the fact that she needed to start learning to seeing the truth of a person or a situation and not just project her own feelings or views onto them. I loved her loyalty, her deep love and affection for her family, her ability to cherish all the things that bound her to other people. I loved how capable she was, and how willing to put in the work to make things happen for the wedding. She definitely grew on me over the course of the novel, and I have so much affection for her now!
  • The Grant family (+ Rodney): Oh goodness, I cannot explain to you all in sufficient words how much I love the Grants (including Rodney). Morgan Matson did a stupendous job writing this family into existence, employing just enough description and detail in order to bring each individual member of the clan to life. She juggled their relationships, their conversations, their stories and their traditions so very well within the limited timeframe of this story. I just felt like I was really a member of the Grants (seriously though, I want to be an adopted member of the Grants) as I was reading, and having that sort of familial vibe all throughout really elevated my level of emotional investment in the story.
  • The story: As mentioned, this is a tale that plays out exactly like a rom-com. There are shenanigans. There are emotional bits. There are complicated relationships. There are happy moments too. I was just swept up in all the things that happened over the course of three days! I couldn’t stop reading once I’d started, determined as I was to see this through to the end. I could visualize the entire thing so perfectly in my mind, and that’s definitely a testament to Morgan’s skills.
  • The humor: I laughed out loud so many times while I read this one! Whether it was a pun of epic proportions, a verbal sparring match between the siblings, actual slapstick shenanigans or terribly great references to Journey, I just found this story hilarious.
  • The feels: Right alongside all the parts that made me laugh, there was an overflowing current of feels inspired by this story. Because I loved Charlie and her family so much, I was also really emotionally invested in their relationships and the outcome of this entire weekend. I may or may not have teared up multiple times reading this one…
I really, really, really loved Save the Date. It hit every single one of my sweet spots - a plot with romantic comedy elements, an incredibly big and loving family and the story of a girl who learns something about herself (and other people) by the end of the book. (Plus, it doesn’t hurt that there are Easter eggs for Morgan’s other books that had me squealing!) I’d highly recommend reading Save the Date if you haven’t yet (and also reading all of Morgan’s other works, because let’s be real, all her books are wonderful). 

Save the Date by Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thank you!)

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