Mon, May 5, 2014

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson Review + Giveaway

Since You've Been Gone book cover

Since You've Been Gone book cover

Since You’ve Been Gone
By Morgan Matson
Publication date: May 6, 2014
Simon & Schuster, 464 pages
Source: Publisher

The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

— Goodreads.com description

Since You’ve Been Gone is a layered and lovely story that did exactly what I think a good book should: gave me a fresh perspective on my own life.

I’m sure everyone will take away something of their own, but for me, reading Since You’ve Been Gone filled me with a very enriching sense of appreciation for certain aspects of my life.

This book highlights what I think Morgan nails, time and time again:

- Fun storytelling techniques (playlists and lists)
- A perfect summer setting (you could just feel the heat and taste the ice cream while you read)
- And plenty of character growth

That last one was perhaps my favorite part of this book, aside from the sweet romance. It was such a treat to watch each and every character in this story come out of his or her shell.

It’s definitely one of my favorite books of the year so far, and I know I’ll be recommending it again and again in the coming months. A “must” for your summer reading lists!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: If you can finish this book without wanting to IMMEDIATELY hug your BFF, you are not human.

PPS: Join Morgan Matson in the #BFFchallenge by entering the giveaway below, provided by my friends at Simon & Schuster. By entering, you could win:

- 1 Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera (color will vary)
- A copy of all of Morgan’s books (OMGOMGOMGJEALOUS) — Since You’ve Been Gone, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer
- And a pair of heart sunglasses (I have a pair of these and cannot wait to rock ‘em all summer long!)

Good luck and happy reading!

Visit morgansbffchallenge.com for an excerpt of the book & more info about the #bffchallenge.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted by: Anna   •   In: friendship, morgan matson, romance, summer
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Wed, September 18, 2013

Waiting on Since You’ve Been Gone

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Since You've Been Gone book cover

Since You’ve Been Gone
By Morgan Matson
Simon & Schuster, 352 pages
To be released May 14, 2014

The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not?Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?
Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

— Goodreads.com description

Summer book! Mystery! Boy! And look at that book cover — so summery! Yes. Yes, please.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: morgan matson, wow
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Wed, July 10, 2013

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson Review

Second Chance Summer book cover

Second Chance Summer book cover

Second Chance Summer
By Morgan Matson
Publication date: May 8, 2013
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 468 pages
Source: Library

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.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: death, family, friendship, morgan matson, romance, summer
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Wed, December 7, 2011

Waiting on Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Second Chance Summer Morgan Matson book cover

Second Chance Summer
By Morgan Matson

224 pages
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, to be released May 8, 2012

Taylor’s family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news that changes everything. Her parents decide that the family will spend the summer together at their old vacation home 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 summer 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, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them are very aware 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

Are you guys sick of me going on and on and on about how much I loved Morgan Matson’s book Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour? TOO BAD! Because I’m going to be raving about that book for years to come. And based on the description alone, I think Second Chance Summer could be a favorite of mine in the making.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: morgan matson, wow
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Thu, October 14, 2010

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour
By Morgan Matson
2010, Simon & Schuster, 352 pages

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew—just in time for Amy’s senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she’s always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy’s mother’s old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she’s surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road—diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards—this is the story of one girl’s journey to find herself.

— Amazon.com description

EPIC! Yes, that is the perfect word to describe this.

Amy and Roger are near-strangers thrown together on a cross-country trip. They’re both dealing with some heavy stuff (Him: a broken heart; Her: her father’s death), but decide to throw caution to the wind, ditch their itinerary and see America one roadside mini-mart at a time. Oh, they made me want to go on a road trip SO BAD. And it made me cry. In a good way.

Their funny, thoughtful and, yes, romantic story is interspersed with pictures, maps, doodles, iPod playlists and burger joint receipts that bring the words to life. It all combines to make this book seem so REAL. The playlists were my favorite part. Oh, Roger, you have such great taste in music! I made a few of them on Grooveshark to listen to while I read (you can stream it here) and found that Roger’s song choices really revealed a lot…that boy is so emo! It’s quite adorable.

Rachael, my best friend, if you are reading this and I know you are because you love me, you would adore Roger. Go read this book.

Side note 1: The acknowledgements page says Morgan is writing buddies with Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. How amazing does that sound? I want to be their friend.

Side note 2: The font on the cover is the font we used on our wedding invitations. Love it!

You might also like: Well, I’m wishing there was a sequel. But, in its place, I’ll also recommend Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols. Trust me, it’s fabulous as well.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: 5 stars, death, morgan matson, romance
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