Saturday, November 30, 2013

Second Chance Summer

11071466Author: Morgan Matson
Release Date:  May 8th, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Genre(s): YA Contemporary
Pages: 468
*Stand alone*
Spoilers are hidden! Highlight the page to see them:) 

Summary (Goodreads):

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.

In a word?  Bittersweet.

What I loved most about this book was that it was delightfully deeper than it had initially seemed.  That blurb did NOTHING for this book; it was vague, and it made the book sound like a fluffy cloud of cotton candy.

Was this a fluffy cloud of cotton candy?  No and yes.  

 It was very sweet, but not cutesy sweet.  It was very touching and heartwarming. The second chance part in the blurb was a bit misleading because the second chance the book was talking about did not necessarily mean life (which led to much anguish and tears at the end; I should have known, but I kept holding out for the possibility that there would be a magical cure or something), but it meant a second chance in truly becoming a family before it was too late. I loved all the interactions between Taylor and her family, and I loved how through these small things (like a shared inside joke or watching comets in silence), we were able to see their bond and love strengthening.  There was amazing character growth by Taylor (by everyone actually, but Taylor was the one that stood out the most because she had been affected the most), but it was heartbreaking to know that this growth would not have happened if not for her father’s tragic news.    

This story was so much more than a girl reconnecting with a past love.  It was about family.  It was about getting to truly know your family when it seemed like it was almost too late. Even with all its 468 pages, I felt this book was too short.  I wanted it to last forever because you KNEW what was going to happen at the end.  There was no miracle drug or a magical solution this time.  It was pure life.    

Taylor and Henry’s romance was more of a subplot than anything else. So were the parts where Lucy and Taylor were rekindling their friendship.  I hesitate to use the word subplot, though, because they weren’t really plots.  They were more like quiet scenes of bonding, healing, realizing what it meant to be human, and learning to accept and to give second chances.  

Everything about this book was very subtle.  Thing happened slowly, very realistically, and by the time the book ended, you felt like you’ve grown as well.  There wasn’t really a definite plot; it was heart driven.  I love heart driven novels because they’re so profound, and after you’re done reading, you sit back, and all you can say is “Wow.” 

So now that I've gushed about it, let me address that rating.  It means I loved the book, but I'm probably not going to pick it up again.  There was something about this book that was very final.  I mean, a lot of books are like this, but this book in particular seemed DONE, that if I was to go back and read it again, it wouldn't give me the same emotional impact. Again, you can say that ALL books are like this, but honestly?  Every time I read that scene where Luke dies in The Last Olympian, I feel like I've been stabbed in the gut, and I start BAWLING.  Would I feel like bawling (again) after reading this book again? Hard to say. 

Final thoughts?  It was a beautiful book of family, hope, and second chances, perfect for a one time read during any season. ;)

Thanks for reading!:) 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5   

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