Thursday, August 29, 2013

REVIEW: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

About the book: 

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.

Pages: 468
Published by: Simon & Schuster (May 8th, 2012)
Genre: YA contemporary + romance

My rating for Second Chance Summer:

My initial reaction at 4AM:

I don't think I've cried so much while reading since...since The Fault in Our Stars. I wouldn't say Second Chance Summer is better than TFiOS because apart from the terminal illness factor, it's quite different, but the sad parts hit me just as hard in here as they did in TFiOS. Tears streaming down my face and sobs controlling my breathing on and off for the last 50 pages...just threw away about 10 snot filled tissues. Yup. But there were also many beautiful and funny moments that had me smiling for chapters long and giggling. Wonderful character development and life lessons introduced as the story rolled on.

Second Chance Summer is a hybrid of The Fault in Our Stars and My Life Next Door.

So since you've gathered (hopefully) that I love this book, I'm going to get the cons of the book out of the way first and then end with my love and love and more love for this book.

Taylor Edwards, the M.C. wasn't the most well-developed character. Her personality was sort of bland, which is okay, but she lacked, well, character! She didn't have hobbies or...habits that make people distinct individuals. 

The other thing I didn't like was that the other conflicts, more minor conflicts, were solved reeeally easily. For example, boredom was an issue with Taylor and her siblings and those were solved quickly and without much fuss. One second they were bored and the next they had a job, new friend, etc. Also, the book begins with this huge stress of Taylor's dread of returning to the summer house because of the horrible, awful, entirely unforgivable thing she did when she was twelve. (AKA The last time she was at the summer house.) I thought Taylor's past was going to stir up something big and when her "terrible awful thing" (anyone know that reference? ;) ) was revealed, I was like that, "That was it? That's all that happened?!?" I see how the event would have put a lot of guilt on her twelve year old shoulders and how the shame could have resurfaced if she ever re-met the people she hurt, but as she grew older, I would have expected her to think of it as a simple mistake she needed to learn from.

Nowwww for the gushing! 

I love this book! I enjoyed the casual pace of the novel and some of the most simple scenes did it all. I liked the supporting characters, especially Henry. He's sweet and loves nature. He's just perfectly nice and I like him. Taylor's major flaw is one that she spends the whole novel defying. Her progress when compared from the beginning to end is one I always look for in the my M.C.s. So lovely.

And then Taylor and her dad. Together, these two made the story what it was for me. The moments they shared were so special, so heartfelt... gosh the emotions they evoked within me! I loved seeing them grow closer, their relationship grow strong. It was beautiful and magical and I felt it all. <3 

And then for the saddness... Like The Fault in Our Stars, I KNEW to expect something horribly sad and tragic, but when those moments hit...oh my gosh, they were like waves, one scene after the next, salty tears oozing down my face with each wave. They hit me so hard, every one of them. The feelings I felt shine through the pages during one particular scene Taylor and her dad shared...just wow. Tears. *clutches heart.*
P.S. I had a similar experience with my grandpa that Taylor had with her dad, so as I was reading this, my own similar memories resurfaced and I think that added to how emotional this book made me, HOWEVER if you put yourself in your characters' shoes like I do for every book I read, you will not feel any less connected than I did.

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