Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing | Pages: 468
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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.
In keeping with my obsession with Morgan Matson, my re-read of Second Chance Summer was just perfect. This book is one of those books that has the power to make you laugh and then cry less than a minute later. It is heartfelt and heart-wrenching, all at the same time. And yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The title of this novel, Second Chance Summer, is true to the theme of the book. Summer is the opportunity to right past wrongs and take a second chance at all that life offers. The main character Taylor makes mistakes and takes a second chance to fix them. She also takes the opportunity to enjoy and spend more time with her family, which itself, is a second chance.
The characters in this novel were super enjoyable. Taylor was a good main character. She sometimes frustrated me and by that I mean to say that I would question her decisions. But at the same time, this is why Morgan Matson is a wonderful writer. Not only does she create worlds and stories that are enjoyable. But, she makes her stories so realistic and relatable, that yes, at times will frustrate you.
My favourite aspect of this novel is the lovable family that just leaps off the pages. While the family is going through a trying and difficult time, they don’t let it interrupt the natural love that they have for one another. I was likely to cry during times when the family was together. This shows how Morgan Matson can tug at your heartstrings, and she does it so well!
Plot is important to me, but I am largely attracted to a character driven story. This is one of those books that did not disappoint. While I am not able to relate to all of the characters experiences, I can relate to their feelings and thoughts. I love that Morgan Matson is able to create such realistic and relatable characters. I think that is why I love her stories so much.
Overall, Second Chance Summer highlights the difficult choices we have in life. Moreover, it demonstrates the hardships that come with making things right. However, it is the perfect summer read that shows the importance of taking a leap of faith when past and present collide.
I highly recommend reading this book – especially this summer. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. And I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. Maybe it will help you to have a Second Chance Summer – whether it be a summer of firsts, or a summer of seconds!
Favourite Quote: “A thousand moments that I had just taken for granted – mostly because I had assumed that there would be a thousand more.”
About Morgan Matson
Morgan Matson was born in New York City and grew up there and in Greenwich, Connecticut. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, but halfway through a theater degree, she started working in the children’s department of Vroman’s Bookstore and fell in love with YA literature.
Following college graduation (and the proud bearer of an incredibly useful theater/English degree) she received her M.F.A. in Writing for Children from The New school and worked as an editor for YA novels. She received a second M.F.A. (for reasons that made sense at the time) in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California.
Her novels have been translated into dozens of languages, and published all over the world.