TITLE: Second Chance Summer
AUTHOR: Morgan Matson
PUBLICATION DATE: May 8, 2012
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse, a division of Simon & Schuster
PAGES: 468 pages
RATING: 3 stars
This novel follows the story of Taylor Edwards as she is forced to take a final summer vacation with her family to make the most of her father’s last summer. He has cancer and he is going to die (this is not a spoiler because you are told this from page one). Her mom, dad, ballet obsessed little sister, and super genius older brother are in this summer house that isn’t nearly big enough and since they are exactly a close knit bunch, it’s more than a little awkward. This is increased by the fact that they haven’t been here is 5 years and when they left, Taylor made a mess of not only a strong friendship, but also her first romantic relationship. As the title implies, this summer gives her a second chance at family, friendship, and love.
This novel fell somewhere in the middle for me. I can completely relate to Taylor’s desire to run away from things that are going to be stressful or difficult but I fault her for actually running. The more I learned of her past screw ups, the more I wanted to yell at her for just ignoring her friends and not trying to work things out. The situation between her, Lucy, and Henry could have easily been dealt with if she would have just spoken up and tried. But it’s a moot point since even in the beginning of this novel, it is part of the past. I also liked that this novel is told from the “normal” character’s perspective. Taylor is the middle child with no special talents and it was very refreshing to read about someone who wasn’t the chosen one or had been studying to be a doctor since preschool or whatever.
This book reminded me a bit of the movie The Last Song. It was interesting but it wasn’t something I was dying to continue reading. I wanted to know how it ended, but in a sense, I already knew exactly where it was going so there was no mystery to it. It also didn’t have much humor which isn’t shocking because how can a book about cancer be humorous? There was a point where I wanted to stop reading near the end because Taylor was being an idiot and did the same idiotic thing most heroines do when things get hard and though I won’t ruin it for you, I wanted to run her over with my car. ****SPOILER****She breaks up with Henry! She’s “getting too attach” and “things will just be harder later” and “blah blah blah”. GRH Stupid stupid stupid!****END SPOILER****.
In general, I liked this novel, but I didn’t love it. Though I knew going into it her dad was going to die, I still wasn’t thrilled when it happened. If you are looking for a book that will break your heart while giving you hope, this is it. If you are looking for something to make you laugh, well, go read You Wish by Mandy Hubbard.