Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Age Classification: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release: May 8, 2012
Second Chance Summer is the story of a family who has grown apart coming together for one final Summer at their holiday house. During this Summer, Taylor also has to face old friends she has not spoken to in five years, repair broken relationships, get her first summer job and say goodbye to a loved one in one of the most painful ways.
Taylor begins the novel as a stubborn and somewhat selfish girl but her love for her dad is strong and she will do anything to make him happy. At his request, she gets a job working with her ex-best friend at a beach snack shack and it just so happens her ex-boyfriend has moved into the house next door. Taylor does not really know how to handle either situation but her dad refuses to let her execute her usual method – running away.
Let’s talk about the ex-best friend. Lucy Marino seems to be the bitchy type who has a new guy every week. While there are obvious signs that their friendship was true, shown mostly through the flashbacks, I also cannot help but think Lucy is at least half responsible for the event that occurred five years earlier.
Now for the ex-boyfriend. Henry Crosby is described as the good-looking, kind-hearted guy most girls wanted when they were a teenager but could not find at our school. He works in his dad’s bakery and seems to spend his free time in nature. Other than that, he was the typical girl-crush type of chacter for me.
As for Taylor’s family, her little sister, Gesley, is a dancer and her older brother, Warren, is a human encyclopedia. These siblings have little in common and do not seem to want each others company. Thier mum also seems to favour the others, especially Gesley, and Taylor feels neglected. Not cool Taylor’s mum! However, my heart breaks when it comes to their dad. He is dying – terminal cancer with only a few months to live – and Taylor realises that while she always got along better with her dad, she does not know him the way she wants to.
The plot of this story had me in tears. The rebuilding of friendships was relatable as friends from the past have popped up in my life again and, although the dynamic is different, it can work well. What really broke me was the cancer story. While I am not close to my father, I have lost someone I love after watching them fade away. The book did such a great job of showing what it is like and explaining how painful it is to know they are going to die when there is nothing you can do to stop it. Perhaps it felt accurate because it hit so close to home, but I do believe this would give readers an idea of how it feels.
The only thing I was not all that keen on was the flashbacks. Although I like that there was not a massive blow up explaining everything that happened and that it was probably better explained by doing flashbacks, I just personally do not enjoy it interrupting the flow of the “current” story. Otherwise, it was beautifully written, full of emotion and provided a few good life lessons.
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
There were a couple tiny faults with this book for me, but overall it was an easy 5-stars from me.
Is there a fictional book that hits close to home with you?
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Until next time bibliophiles!