Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

From Goodreads: 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. 

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Having read and loved Morgan Matson’s debut novel, Amy andRoger’s Epic Detour, I was excitedly looking forward to reading her sophomore novel, Second Chance Summer. I finally got a chance to read it during my blogging hiatus … and loved it because while the book deftly tackles a terminal illness, it also manages to celebrate life.

Initially, I wasn’t a fan of Taylor’s because she had a tendency to run away from problematic situations rather than dealing with them. However, Taylor acknowledges this fault of hers and attempts to work on it. For example, flashbacks throughout the novel cause the reader to realize that something happened five summers ago that led to the breakdown of Taylor’s relationships with her best friend, Lucy, and her first boyfriend, Henry. Although the reason turned out to be very anti-climactic, I liked that Taylor sought to repair those relationships.

Taylor’s family also develops over the course of the novel. At the beginning, they’re all busy with their own activities and not very close with each other. But, as Taylor’s father’s condition worsens, her family starts to spend a lot more time together, enjoying each other’s company and supporting one another. I especially loved the scene where Taylor told her father that she loved him; it was so touching and had me wiping tears surreptitiously since I was sitting on the bus. It also made me feel a little guilty because in a way I’m a lot like Taylor in that I don’t tell the people I care about that I love them, but just assume they know I do.

A book that manages to suspend the passage of time (and make you long for summer) before reaching its poignant climax, Second Chance Summer is a novel I definitely recommend reading!

Second Chance Summer was released in May 2012 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. 

Comments About the Cover: Though I like the cover, I feel like it doesn’t adequately convey the depth of emotions that Second Chance Summer managed to elicit in me.


  1. I still have to read "Amy and Roger" and pick this one up too. I don't mind the heaviness as long as there's some balance to it. It's nice to read about a family getting along instead of being distant and virtually nonexistent.

  2. YOU'RE BACK!!!! YAY!!!!

    I really like that Taylor recognizes her tendency to run away from her problems rather than stand and face them, and then makes the effort to work on that issue. She sounds like a heroine I can really support, flaws and all. I haven't read anything by Matson, and clearly I need to fix that!

  3. This sounds so good I've been loving contemp novels a lot this year and I haven't had a chance to read Morgan Matson yet. I'm pretty sure I'd love it, though. Taylor sounds like a perfectly flawed and realistic character who grows throughout the story so that's definitely a plus. And I also love it when family is involved. Family is a huge part of life, especially as a teenager, so I'm glad when authors decide to not ignore that fact in books. Lovely review, chickie!

  4. I've seen the cover of this book around everywhere, but never felt compelled to pick it up. You've written such a beautiful and compelling review, though, so I want to give this a shot now. Amazing review! :)

  5. Anonymous12:03 am

    You're baaaaack! *throws confetti* And just in time for the winter holidays, too. :) Anyhow, I love YA contemporary; it's easily one of my favourite genres, and knowing you to be a critical reviewer has me wanting to purchase myself a copy of this and Amy and Roger's Epic Detour soon. :) Great review!

  6. Welcome back...just as I get ready for a break, only for a week, though. I have been eyeing this since summer and I am so glad it pans out. I think a summer read in winter would be a great way to chase away the blues.

  7. You're back, you're back!! I'm glad you got to read such a good book over your hiatus while dealing with exams and applications and such. You know, I didn't even make the connection that this one was written by the same author as Amy & Roger's Epic Detour (a book that I STILL haven't read, but really need to). This one sounds absolutely touching!

  8. I love it when a book you're initially cautious about turns around. Glad you enjoyed!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  9. My bestie didn't even like Amy & Roger so I never really bothered to read it, but I really like the sound of this despite the problems you had with Taylor initially.
    Great review.

  10. EEP! Zahida, you're back! <3 And what a review to "start" off with. Second Chance Summer is still waiting on my shelf to be picked up... I don't know why I'm taking so long to pick it up! Like you, I LOVED Morgan's debut novel. I'm so excited to hear that you loved this one, too. I've heard only positive things about it. Taylor sounds like such a realistic character. I can't wait to read about her. I'll have to pick this one up when I'm in the mood for something touching and poignant! Lovely review, Zahida! Glad you're back! <3


I love comments and will reply back via either email or stopping by your blog. Please note that this is an award-free zone.