Saturday, September 21, 2013

Second Chance Summer: A review

Author: Morgan Matson
Info: Simon &Schuster, copyright 2012, 468 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Oh my goodness was I a blubbering mess.

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 Description~

The Breakdown
Taylor likes to run away.  When things get tough or when there is something she doesn't want to face, she packs her bags and leaves.  But when her father is given three months to live, there's no where she can go to escape.  Unfortunately for Taylor, the one place he wants to go is the last place she ever thought she would return to.

The Awesome
Matson knows how to drag things out to make them as painful as possible.  Over the course of nearly 500 pages, you live the fear and impending loss with the entire family.  Slowly.  So Slowly, she describes the decline of Taylor's father and the ways in which each member of the family cope with their uncertain futures.  The camaraderie, acceptance, and forgiveness that happens over the course of the summer is extremely emotional, but written oh so well.

The Not So Awesome
Taylor's mother felt absent for much of the book.  She wasn't the main character, but you see Taylor grow closer to her siblings and her father, recognizing the changes that are happening to all of them, but you don't really get to know her mother much at all. At the end of the book, Taylor and her mother share a moment, but without more context, the moment didn't feel as genuine as it could have.

I absolutely adored Matson's Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, so I was eager to dive into her newest book, and I was not disappointed.  The story absolutely crushed me, especially since you find out almost immediately that her father is gravely ill.  You know the end of the book.  You can't hide from what is happening, and you can't stop it.  But that made it all the more real.  Time is limited, and you have to love and live to the best of your ability with the time you are given.  Taylor's transformation was graceful and heartfelt.  Just an all around enjoyable read with enjoyable characters.


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