Second Chance Summer
By Morgan Matson
Publication date: May 8, 2013
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 468 pages
From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak.
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.
— Goodreads.com description
Oh, golly, this book.
When Second Chance Summer came out last summer, I knew I should read it — friends were raving, and I absolutely adored Morgan Matson’s writing in Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour.
But I didn’t read Second Chance Summer, even though I checked it out from the library at least twice. Why? Well, at the time the subject matter hit a bit too close to home — much like Taylor and her dad, I knew my father-in-law had just a few months to live. So it put it off because I was scared, and then, after his death, because I thought it would be too soon, too fresh.
But finally I picked it up and I’m so glad I did.
It was serious, and it was a difficult book for me personally, but the tough subject matter was so, so well handled. Even the smallest details of watching a disease take control over a loved one, from smart to finish, were eerily spot-on. Like, seriously, I don’t want to spoil it, but one of the final scenes? Disturbingly real to life. And when you’re tackling a subject matter like this, you need to nail it.
Plus, it was a lovely mix of romance, family and friend drama — all the teenagery fluff mixed right in with the big-picture issues in Second Chance Summer, just like it does in real life. That’s what I loved about Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour too!
Did I cry? No, because I purposely steeled myself and disconnected from the characters — sort of a self-protection mechanism. But anyone else: Have your tissues nearby.
Truly, Morgan Matson is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and at this point I’d happily read anything she writes.