Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: May 8, 2012
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."
Taylor used to spend every summer with her family at her mountain house in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. She had good friends up there and even her first boyfriend, Henry. Taylor hasn't been back to the Poconos since something happened five years ago amongst her boyfriend and her friend and she hasn't been back since. That is until her father is diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and he wants to spend one more summer up at the lake house with his family. Taylor then spends the summer revisiting the location of so many childhood memories as well as friendships. She also has one more summer to spend with her father, which in itself has been a heartbreaking situation. Morgan Matson's Second Chance Summer will tug at your heartstrings and have even those most stoic of readers eyes brimming with tears.
Taylor was a tough character to understand at first. I couldn't relate to how she would also run away from her problems, but as I read more about her, I could deal better with her coping strategies. She also grew as a person over the summer and as she did, I enjoyed her more and more. My favorite part of Second Chance Summer was Taylor mending the fences with her old best friend and her childhood boyfriend. It really proves that it's never too late to fix something if you really want to. I also adored Taylor spending time with her father and talking about life. It broke my heart, but I loved every second of it. This book isn't just about friendships and ex-boyfriends, it's also about something more important-- family and life lessons.
The setting of the Pocono Mountains is also something I enjoyed as my parents used to have a lake house there when I was a kid and I went to college not far from there as well. It's a gorgeous location that is so serene and beautiful; Matson really brought it to life. My usual summertime reads deal with the beach, so this was a nice change.
Also, I must admit that Matson has easily become one of my new favorite contemporary authors. I adored Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, so I was hoping I wouldn't be disappointed by Second Chance Summer and thankfully, I wasn't in the least. Her writing style was just as entertaining and heartfelt. I'm a huge fan!
If you are looking for a summer read that isn't all fluff, but has a poignant story that will really elicit strong emotion from you, then Second Chance Summer is the way to go. Thank GOD I was reading this at home and not at the beach or in public, because towards the end I was sobbing loudly, which hasn't happened since Forman's If I Stay. I highly recommend Second Chance Summer; just make sure you have a box of tissues nearby and a lot of time on hand, because you won't want to put it down!