Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
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. (Goodreads)
Taylor’s family is returning to their summer home at Phoenix Lake, someplace they haven’t been in ages. It’s the place she spent every summer of her childhood, the place she first fell in love with Henry, where she forged what seemed like an indestructible friendship with Lucy, and where it all fell apart five years ago. Now Taylor is returning there with her family on the cusp of receiving life-altering news. She has to face the heartbreak that is inevitably waiting around the corner, and face those she left behind without a word that last summer on the lake. Here, Taylor gets to know her family again, she faces her fears instead of doing what she’s always done–run away–and she gets what we all need sometimes: a second chance.
What a beautiful, sweet, sometimes heartbreaking book. Morgan Matson perfectly captures all those emotions wrapped up in first love, best friends, and family drama, and even simple things like summer jobs or days lounging by a lake. This book is everything a summer novel should be.
Taylor is grappling with earth-shattering news. Her father has only weeks, month maybe, to live. And this man, oh, what a guy he is. Both in flashbacks and in present day timelines, it’s impossible not to love him and love the way he enjoys life. The moments he takes with each person in the family, the special breakfasts he and Taylor have a couple of times a week, are the sweetest, loveliest parts of this book. To me, this is where the true love story lies. But we can’t talk about that too much because THE TEARS.
But yes, there is another story. First, that of Taylor and Lucy, her old BFF. The dialogue, the flashbacks, the ease of these two girls, is pretty much YA perfection. Every moment of it feels real, feels true, like any moment you or I may have had with our childhood bestie. And Henry, that adorable first crush, who has grown into that adorable guy, his relationship with Taylor has such promise. The reason Taylor had her falling out with the two of them five years ago is not high drama. As an adult, I don’t think it’s a big deal, but I can see how, at the age Taylor was at the time, it seemed massive. And her heart feels so raw until she rights that wrong.
This is a wonderful book. I was so sad when it ended, for many reasons, but mainly because Matson introduced me to characters I fell in love with and placed them in a town I’d move to in a heartbeat. It made me wish those summers of my childhood could have lasted forever.
Crush Intensity: 4.5 I could read this book again and again–but I’d need lots of Kleenex!
Where’d I Get It: The library