Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

First Published May 8th, 2012
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
468 pages (Paperback)
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.  (From Goodreads)
Second Chance Summer felt like your classic contemporary novel, dealing with love, loss and life, and that made it feel like a good summer read.

The plot is pretty basic and classic, about a girl having to confront her past while dealing with the pending death of her father.  Having recently dealt with the death of a close family member to cancer, I was instantly able to relate to Taylor.  It isn't easy to watch the ones you love slowly deteriorate.  If there was one flaw with the plot, it was the pace.  This is entirely personal, because we know that I love fact-paced novels.  This book is a lot slower in development, with Matson taking her time and really emphasizing the feelings Taylor experiences.  This isn't a flaw, it's just a matter of personal preference.

As far of characters go, none were overly remarkable, but they were all pretty good.  There was just enough back-story to make sense, and enough development to make the story flow well.  I found little pieces of Taylor in myself, and I think a lot of readers will too, especially those in their late teenage years.   Henry was an okay love interest that didn't overwhelm the deeper meaning of the story.  Taylor's father was a great character, who's little life lessons alone make this book worth the read.

This book has flashbacks.  If I have one major pet peeve in books, other than wimpy female protagonists, it is the flashbacks.  Good on Morgan Matson, because I didn't hate them here.  They were short, to the point, and integrated well.

If you're looking for a relatable contemporary read that deals with very real life events, Second Chance Summer is a good book.  Even if you're like me and enjoy a faster pace, this book has something that will pull everyone's heartstrings.

Much love, Samantha


  1. oh man, i am on the hunt for summer romances, but this seems a bit too sad for me right now! nice review!

  2. I read AMY & ROGER'S EPIC DETOUR last year sometime and loved it, so I really should give this one a read. Great review, Samantha--honest and thoughtful. :-)

  3. I've seen this book around, but just haven't picked it up. I have such a hard time with books about family members dying. It sounds lovely. I may give it a shot sometime. Great review!
    -Natalie @Natflix&Books


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