I was a huge fan of Morgan Matson’s Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour (check out my review here) so I was super excited for the release of her next book, Second Chance Summer. This book doesn’t disappoint and Matson has become one of my favorite contemporary YA authors, joining the ranks with Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.
I recommend this books for grades 7 and up.
The Story: Taylor Edwards is used to running away from her problems. Five summers ago, she left her family’s summer home in the Poconos after a misunderstanding with her friends. She didn’t return – that is, until now. Taylor has met a problem that she can’t outrun – her dad has stage four pancreatic cancer and he wants the family to have one last summer together at their lake house. Taylor’s uncomfortable talking with her family about her dad’s illness and prognosis – she’s never really had practice with facing hard stuff.
The hard stuff faces her head-on, though. She continually runs into her ex-boyfriend Henry (who is a lot cuter than she remembers), works with her ex-best friend Lucy at the beach snack shop and watches her father progressively get sicker and sicker, becoming a shadow of the person she knew before. Taylor needs to learn how to communicate, let others in and deal with life’s difficulties to have a second chance with the friends she left behind, with her family and with her father.
Wonderful character development for both major and minor characters, great emotional arcs and excellent writing make this a must-read. The characters really stood out to me. Each one was so dimensional and real and played into the family dynamic. Gansley and Warren, Taylor’s sister and brother, each had their own growing to do. I especially loved Warren’s relationship with the red-headed vet. It was so sweet and fun to read!
When it comes down to it, this book is about relationships – cultivating them, growing them, and cherishing them. I loved how Second Chance Summer explored all kinds of relationships - familial, romantic and friendships. It explored the beginnings of relationships and the sad endings of others. This was a beautiful book about love and loss and everything in between. I highly recommend Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson!