Second Chance Summer by Morgan MatsonPublished: May 8th, 2012 | Simon & Schuster
Age: YA Contemporary
It’s been three weeks since Taylor Edwards’s father was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. Up until that fateful birthday, she didn’t even know the word “pancreatic” existed, and now her world is upside-down. As a result, her family—never touchy-feely, always too busy for each other—will spend the entire summer at their lake house in the Pocono Mountains, a former yearly tradition they haven’t done in five years. This is where she gets to know her parents, older brother and little sister in ways she never imagined she could.
Here is also where she finds that the confrontation she walked away from at twelve has come back to face her once more at seventeen: Her old best friend is also in town, as is her first boyfriend. And for Taylor, whose number one solution to everything is always to run in the opposite direction of the problem, it might not be too late to discover that most of the good things always deserve a second chance.
I was extremely excited for this book after reading and loving Morgan Matson's first book, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour.
Though I loved Amy & Roger better, this book was still great.
We start with Taylor who has just learned devastating news about her father, he has pancreatic cancer and doesn't have long to live. At all. And his last wish is to spend the summer with his wife, son and daughters at their vacation home in the Pocono Mountains. They haven't been there in about 4 years and it's the last place Taylor wants to be. It's where she met her best friend and her first love, but it's also where she ran away from them.
I figured this book would be all romance like Matson's 1st book, and though there really wasn't much romance at all, I wasn't disappointed.
Taylor goes through a lot during the three months at the lake house, meeting back up with her past friends and loves and trying to cope with knowing when and how she'd lose her dad. She gets a job and tries to just pass through the summer as slow and as fast as possible. Trying not to run into anyone from her past, but that proves impossible.
I loved Taylor's drive though everything she was faced with, but wanted to shake her at times for not speaking up about her feelings; whether to her dad, mom, Lucy, or Henry.
Henry: he was utterly adorable and I knew I would like him from the moment she runs into him at the dock outside of her house. Even though he too hid his feelings, I liked him and wished with every page in this book that there was more of him. I understood that this more about Taylor, her family and especially her father, but I needed more Henry.
Taylor's father tore me apart. It was extremely hard to read anything with him because I lost my grandmother to cancer and everything she describes happening to him was all too real for me. Like him going up or down the stairs. (I remember a time my mom had to carry my grandma down two steps because she couldn't do it anymore.) The quickness that cancer can take over if you catch it too late is the hardest thing to have to deal with. I knew that when the inevitable happened I would hate it. And I did.
But for most of the book, it wasn't depressing or sad, there were moments I laughed out loud, especially with her quirky genius brother, her co-workers and even her father still had a since of humor through it all.
I can't wait to read more from Morgan Matson and hope that she combines both elements of romance from Amy & Roger's story with the realness of Taylor's story!
Author Info: Morgan Matson was born in 1981 and grew up in New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut. Following college graduation (and the proud bearer of an incredibly useful theater/English degree) she moved back East to attend the New School, where she received her M.F.A in Writing for Children. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, inspired by Morgan's three cross-country road trips, was published in May 2010. It was named an ALA Top Ten Best Book, a PW "Flying Start" book, and was shortlisted for the Waterstone's Book Prize. It has since been published in five different languages and six different countries. Her second book, Second Chance Summer, will be released in May 2012 and draws largely on her experiences spending summers growing up in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Morgan currently lives in Los Angeles, though she loves to travel and does it whenever she can. She is currently writing another book, to be published in 2014.