Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
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 they get news that changes everything: Her father has pancreatic cancer, and it’s stage four – meaning that there is basically nothing to be done. Her parents decide that the family will spend his last months together at their old summerhouse 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 suddenly 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 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.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
It’s strange how I’m once again split over this book: On one the one hand, I truly didn’t get why it was such a big deal. Why it took almost half of the book for her to spell out what had happened. The thing revealed was too minor a thing, to juvenile a concern in the face of what was taking place. I couldn’t get why she was still running away from what she was running away from.
And on the other, there were aspects that had me sobbing. Her getting to know her family felt sad and true and struck a chord of desperation. By that last bit, I mean there’s was this mood of that a certain moment being the last chance they’d get to do a certain thing: last chance and with so little time. Yet, still not completely desperate or urgent as first felt given the normal feel of everything with their ice cream runs, swimming with friends, summer jobs and slumber parties, or the Q & A’s with dad or the sneaking out with someone else. All these things mashed up sol close to each other; everything happening all at once or close on the heels of something else, lent SECOND CHANCE SUMMER a sense of urgency, a need to get things done. And that’s the part that I actually did ‘get’ … because it really was, in fact, the case.
Despite the caricature quirk factor that some of them had (case in point her big brother, Warren,) and despite a lack of something more from some of them (Eliot, the boy forever in love but unable to do anything about it, to illustrate,) there was one stand outs in this one. Taylor to be exact.
Though I most definitely did not like her at first, I have to give props to one who has the unique trait of being honest about what her faults were. She’s a frankness about feelings of fear and stated point blank that she’d a tendency to run away from what scared her. My problem with the girl stem not from admitting these things, but that she never did quite get out of that little
Taylor aside, I didn’t gravitate to anyone else in this one. I mean, I respect the presence of the none talky-talk brother sister thing here. Not all siblings can be best friends after all. Yet, it was the little details that showed how different they were from each other that I enjoyed. It’s the difference that seemed to emphasize her feelings of being ordinary. Yet despite the same, there’s really not that much sibling drama going on with them, which made this feel even more possibly real They’ve their own thing, they’re not joined at the hip, but they’re linked nonetheless. And that’s the bit that I felt most real in this one. There were other moments that had me chuckling too: that talk on first base? Priceless.
As to the side story of Lucy/Henry/Taylor, again even if I felt things were blown out of proportion, I eventually liked where this part of the story went. Lucy is a bit standard as best friend (but not quite BFF) with her being more out there and more social than Taylor; and Henry is a bit of the same, with his being good and present ala- the Sarah Dessen male lead… yet, I liked both off them with her.
Sweet story… the initial drama was one I thought a bit juvenile, but the last bit had me sobbing.
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