Friday 1 June 2012

153. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Published June 2012 Simon & Schuster

From the publisher:
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.

Morgan Matson's first book, published last year Amy and Roger's Epic Detour was a real treat. I have a real soft spot for 'road trip' stories, and this was a great one.  My other soft spot is 'summer' stories, especially American summer stories.  I think it's because the idea of having 3 months off over the summer is such a foreign concept.  When I was at school, I am sure we never had 3 months off, more like 7 weeks, which is a lot, but 3 months?  Wow!  The things you could do in 3 months!

So, this second book of Matson's is a summer story.  It's the story of Taylor's current summer at the family's house at Phoenix Lake, and there are chapters that tell the story of the last summer she spent there 5 years ago.  Something happened that summer five years ago, that meant Taylor never really wanted to come back, but here she is.  The reason for the holiday at the lake is not a good one.  Taylor's Dad is dying, the doctors have given him no more than a few months to live.  His wish was for the family to be together for the summer, at the lake.

Taylor has to come face to face with her past, and none of her summer friends from 5 years ago are happy to see her.  The summer turns out to be a roller coast of emotion for Taylor, as things go from bad to good, to great to devastating.  She gets the chance to really get to know her Dad, she gets a summer job, mends bridges and falls in love...again.

I am a sook when it comes to books where parents die, so this was a big tear jerker for me.  Now that I think of it it has a bit of a Beaches (the movie) feel about it, getting away from it all and spending time with the people you love, in a place that you love before you leave them.  I think what really works about this book is that even though it's a heartbreakingly sad story, it's also a wonderful story about friendship, forgiveness, first love and family.  I loved this book, and I can't wait for her next one!

Who will like this book: Girls age 14+
Read it if you like: the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series

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