By: Melanie | July 8, 2013 | (23) Comments

Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Release Date: June 7, 2012
Pages: 468
Source: Borrowed it

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 thousand moments that I had just taken for granted- mostly because I had assumed that there would be a thousand more.’

Second Chance Summer, summarised in one word could possibly be emotive. Packed with varying degrees of emotional states from the main character and to us readers, Matson’s story unravels essentially to be a summer of second chances at love, friendship and family connections. A pleasing novel- which I’ll admit, got a few tears at the end, still seemed to lack more detail and realism. Let me rephrase that, Second Chance Summer is unmitigatedly real- characters, relationships and plot, however everything reworked itself and seemed… a little too perfect. After all, things left for so long, broken and detached, could they possibly be renewed within a summer so simplistically? The theme of deep and harsh topics is already of present, so I feel somewhat inclined for a higher and more intricate climax and resolution filled with jagged points.

Taylor, was full of character. She’s feeling awkward with her family as it’s never really connected closely- siblings years apart and complete contrasts in personalities and interests. Lost, her father has just been informed that he has three months to live, which is why the family is going back to their holiday house, to relax and have the best last summer. And even more importantly, confused, on so many levels. There’s Henry, her twelve year old boyfriend from five years ago and Lucy, best friend a.k.a soul mate. Matson tackled Taylor’s character development and personality in a riveting manner, utterly effortlessly.

The romance entwined here was bittersweet, gradual and completely delectable. As both Taylor and Henry were fantastic characters as individuals, the chemistry here was expectedly strong and true. Moreover, it had a complicated touch to it, while not turning it into a “you are too good for me” stereotype romance. The complicatedness was a tension from 5 years ago and the way it was rekindled and meddled with here. Delicate and raw.

An issue I had with this novel was that I wanted more of a family development. There was one, yet small and swift in the near closure of Second Chance Summer. A significant and moving one added would have made this novel close to perfect in that essence. Tension, sensitivity and trust are addressed here.

A Sarah Dessen-esque novel compact with changes of scenery and tones from bitter mornings at home and romantic nights on the seashore, the prose here is nothing to be overseen, neither is the core message being impeded. Recommended to lovers of Sarah Dessen and Sarah Ockler.

(ACTUAL: 3.5)
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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23 Responses to Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

  1. Book Blather says:

    Hmm I think I’d rather read Morgan Matson than Sarah Dessen as Matson always seems to have nice endings – which is why she always wraps complicated stories up in nice tidy bows! 🙂 Seems like the ‘family’ story got lost in the face of a slow build romance? That’s a shame. I’d like the try this one anyway, it sounds like something I would enjoy.

    Sorry I had to delete my last comment – spelling errors! Erg! 🙂

  2. selkiereads says:

    I loved this book more than I expected myself to. I got completely sucked in from the very first page, and i’m glad that you loved it too!

    – Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

  3. Amelia K says:

    This was a really touchin read for me- I loved it to bits and the MC and Henry were so cute together! Such a sad ending though. 😐 Glad you liked this one as well! Fabulous review.

  4. I wanted it to be more complicated as well! Now I’m not the only one ^,^ I guess it was like Sarah Dessen except not as good and descriptive. But still really great. Fan review!

  5. Morgan Matson has some great books on the market, but I keep putting off trying this one, for some reason. It does sound touching and heartfelt though, and I love that you thought it was really engaging. I’m definitely going to need to give it a go now. Great review, Melanie 🙂

  6. I was never really too interested in picking this up before blogging. Though now having read all these great reviews, I really want to give it a try. Plus we agree on a lot of the same titles, and I’m on a strange contemporary kick at the moment anyway, so I definitely hope I can squeeze it in sometime later this summer. A really lovely review, Mel! I like the sound of the romance more than anything and can’t wait to eventually meet Taylor and Henry myself. 🙂

  7. Jasprit says:

    I’ve always been meaning to pick this up, I loved Matson’s debut novel and heard great things about this too, but I’ve never really been in the right mood for it. I’m glad that despite some issues you were able to enjoy this. I will definitely keep my tissues at the ready when I pick this up. Gorgeous review Melanie! 🙂

  8. Aneeqah says:

    I gave this one a 3.5 as well, if I recall. I was also craving for some more development, and didn’t quite like how things managed to work out so quickly. For a 400 page book, you’d think that there would be more problems intertwined within the plot, yet I found that wasn’t the case, really. However, I loved Taylor as a character, and the fact is that this book really is touching and raw. I enjoyed how the romance was different, and didn’t fall back on any stereotypes. And that ending, it coerced some tears from me as well!

    Lovely review, Mel! <3

  9. Great review! I haven’t heard of this book, but after reading this I think I’ll give it a try.(Plus, I like that cover)

  10. At first I didn’t recognize this because it’s so different from the cover I know, but I looked it up and now I remember it! I didn’t read many contemporaries back when this released, but now I want to pick it up! It sounds like a book I would really enjoy now. Great review!

  11. sshah605 says:

    Okay I marked this book as TBR after reading ‘Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour’ . I loved that book and was eager to read another book by the same author ! I still want to read this book and since u said its recommended for Sarah Dessen fans (which I am) I will be reading this book! Thanks for the recommend!

    -Gayatri @ Notorious Writer.

  12. fifi says:

    love your review..the way you tsart the review is just brilliant, I really love the quote ‘A thousand moments that I had just taken for granted- mostly because I had assumed that there would be a thousand more.’ 🙂
    fifi recently posted…Thief (Love Me With Lies, #3) by Tarryn FisherMy Profile

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