Friday 8 June 2012

Book Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson.

Product details:
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
Release date: June 7th 2012.
Paperback, 468 pages.
Rating: 4½ out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

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.

A bittersweet tale of great loss, love lost, heartbreak, betrayal and redemption, Morgan Matson’s Second Chance Summer contains every essential summer reading ingredient you could wish for. Just like her stunning debut novel, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, this one is pretty much perfect in every way, marking Matson as one of my go to authors for great summer reads.

Like a lot of people, Taylor Edwards takes the people closest to her for granted.  She’s not particularly close to her mom, doesn’t have a lot in common with her siblings, and while she has a special bond with her dad, she doesn’t see him all that often, because he’s always working.  The members of Taylor’s family are always so busy doing their own thing, living their own lives, that they don’t really have a whole lot of time for each other.  But when life deals Taylor’s dad a cruel blow in the form of terminal cancer, giving him only a matter of months to live, all he wants to do is to spend that time with his family.

Taylor has her own reasons for not wanting to return to the lake house in the Pocono Mountains.   She hasn’t been back there since she was twelve, not since that summer when everything went wrong, and she has no intention of ever going back there again.  But it’s what her dad wants, one last summer when they’ll all be together, and she can’t say no to that.

Second Chance Summer, is such a touching, heartfelt tale, which enters into truly tear-jerking territory in its final heartbreaking chapters. Matson doesn’t relegate Taylor’s dad to the sidelines in this book, and she doesn’t scrimp on detailing the advancement of his illness. In fact, she tells it all, right to the end. And that’s what makes this book so sad, because this is the summer when Taylor gets to know her dad, really gets to know him and all the little things that make him who he is.  And as Taylor and her dad bond in what will be their last summer, we get to know him too. And you know what; Taylor’s dad is a really nice guy.   He gets Taylor in ways that most other people don’t, he worries about her and wonders if she’ll be okay when she’s gone.  He worries that she’ll just run away, shutting everyone out of her life, like she always does, like she did that summer she was twelve.

For five years, Taylor has been running away from something that she now has to face the consequences of.  Initially I thought that Taylor made a bigger deal out of things than was really believable.  Mostly what’s so bad when you’re twelve really isn’t a huge big deal when you’re seventeen, and that’s if you even remember it, but then as I got to know Taylor, I understood why it was still such a big deal to her. It’s because she never faced up to it, she never explained why she did what she did, and she never said sorry.  Taylor learns a lot of lessons in her second chance summer, the most important of those being that it’s never too late to say sorry, it’s never too late to say the words you’ve always wanted to say, and that you should always say them, no matter how hard it is, no matter how much it hurts, no matter what.

Second Chance Summer sees Taylor reconnect with her first boyfriend, Henry, who is no longer the twelve year old guy who wanted to hold her hand, no longer the boy who liked her more than any boy ever had before, or maybe even since.   At seventeen he’s totally hot, but when they have their first meeting on the dock, he blows cold towards Taylor. But there’s a long summer ahead, and even though time is running out for Taylor’s family to be together, she knows there’s still time to reconnect with Henry, to make amends with her ex-best friend Lucy, and finally, to say goodbye to her dad, although Taylor doesn’t know if she’ll ever really be able to do that.

A total summer must-read, Morgan Matson’s Second Chance Summer will make you remember your own special summers, your childhood crushes, and your sad times too.  Ultimately, it is a beautiful book, and is written in a voice that is pitch-perfect all the way through.   And as an added bonus, Amy & Roger even make a small surprise appearance here.  Those two are just too cute!


  1. Vivienne_dacosta8 June 2012 at 10:56

    Oh I so want this!!!

  2. This one definitely sounds beautiful! I can't wait to read it, it sounds amazing. And I love that Amy & Roger make an appearance! Fab review, thanks :).

  3. I am dying to read this book! I must get a copy for this summer. I love Matson, so I am sure I won't be disappointed, especially since you enjoyed it, too.  I love that this book takes place at the Pocono Mountains! My parents used to have a house there when I was little- it's only a few hours from where I live.  Anyway, great review, Leanna! So excited for this one!

  4. This premise (young girl w/dying dad in a summer cottage) reminds me of a Nicholas Sparks book.  I can't remember the title, but I think Miley Cyrus was in the movie version.  I enjoyed your review!

  5. daisychainbooks8 June 2012 at 15:42

     You will love this one! Morgan Matson's books always make me want to go places. I was looking up pictures of the Pocono Mountains last night! Looks so pretty there! :)

  6. daisychainbooks8 June 2012 at 15:42

     Thanks! I'd like to see this one as a movie! It would be a tearjerker for sure!

  7. daisychainbooks8 June 2012 at 15:43

     Just a tiny appearance, but it's cute! <3

  8. daisychainbooks8 June 2012 at 15:43

     Go get it! It's a really good read!

  9. Yes! I agree with this review. I was going to give this a 4.5 star too but I was like, "well, I can't think any real flaws in this book" so I decided to bump it up to my first 5 star review. It really is a beautiful book!

  10. Amazing review! I was already excited to read this, but your review made me even more excited!

  11. this book sounds so bitter-sweet. i hear it's a real tear-jerker! :)

  12. daisychainbooks9 June 2012 at 13:22

     It really is! The 4.5 from me was mainly due to Taylor's character. It took a while for me to connect with her.  When I did I understood why what happened five summers before was such a big deal for her, but up until then I really figured she was making a big deal out of nothing.  It's definitely one of my 2012 faves though! <3

  13. daisychainbooks9 June 2012 at 13:23

     Yay! Good to hear! :)

  14. daisychainbooks9 June 2012 at 13:23

     It is, Aly! Especially those last few chapters *sob!*

  15. I really enjoyed this one, too, although I was quite teary by the end of it!

  16. Great review, I loved this one so, so much but it was so hard to read! I must have been skim reading though becuase I seriously missed Amy and Roger turning up…. Where did that happen (email me if you don't want to put it on here, I don't mind!) 

  17. This book sounds pretty powerful. And knowing that Amy and Roger make an appearance kinda seals the deal for me:) 

  18. daisychainbooks12 June 2012 at 17:45

     I don't have the book with me atm, so don't have the exact page number, but it's very close to the start of the book. It's just a small sighting, but cute! :)

  19. Oh my gosh, you made my heart melt with your review. That's it. I need to get a copy now. You know, I think if you loved this one Leanna, then you're going to love The Sky is Everywhere. Your review reminds me of my experience with that book. Beautifully written review as always. I can't wait to read this on myself!

  20. Me thinks I'm going to need to get this!


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