Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Published May 8th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Source: Online via Simon & Schuster’s Pulse It
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.
WARNING: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson is NSFW. That is… Not Safe For Work. And it’s not due to the usual reasons that things are deemed NSFW. Nope, no gratuitous sex in THIS incredible book. Second Chance Summer is of the ugly-crying NSFW variety. But we will get to that. I promise.
Earlier chapters of Second Chance Summer may not be sob-inducing, but they pulled at my heart an equal amount.
And there are a variety of reasons for that.
First of all, there’s Morgan Matson’s masterful handling of a terminal illness. Taylor’s dad seems fine as the summer starts, but his diagnosis hangs over them even in happy moments. A dark cloud on a sunny day, so to speak.
But those happy moments are there. Matson develops a cast of characters around Taylor who are quirky and wonderful. Her family is loving, but isn’t some cliche of the all-American family. They don’t seem like caricatures of an idea; they are all so human and real.
Taylor reunites with her former best friend, Lucy amidst a great deal of awkwardness (they haven’t spoken in years after something Taylor did to both Lucy and Taylor’s ex-boyfriend), but when they get back to the friendship point? I wanted to squish them in a hug. Even when they were fighting, for that matter, I still respected them. Lucy wasn’t nice to Taylor, by any means, but she doesn’t fall into that trap of being “mean girl.”
Then… oh, guys, then there is Henry. Taylor’s ex-boyfriend. Her first love. The boy who brings swoon to the page in Second Chance Summer. The way he and Taylor come back together is so realistic and just… do they actually make boys like this in real life? Because I would like one.
We get into NSFW territory (again, from ugly-crying) as Taylor’s father begins his decline. I started off the cry-fest by wiping the few tears that trickled out of my eyes. But soon after that, I gave up wiping them because they kept on coming; there was practically a WATERFALL on my face. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that there was a point when I was crying so hard that I couldn’t breathe.
Overall rating: 5/5. I literally have no criticism of Morgan Matson’s Second Chance Summer. This is a fabulous book and left me with… just… so many feelings.