Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Title/Author: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Publication Date: May 8, 2012

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing

Source: Public library

Rating: 5/5 ice cream cones (EEP!)

When the final Harry Potter book came out, I spent three whole days laying in my bed trying to finish it. I barely ate, I didn't move, and I just read. That book was the first book I ever read that made me feel emotion, and the first book that ever made me cry. Since then, there are only a handful of books that have made me as emotional as Harry Potter did (The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, Marley & Me, The Fault in Our Stars, and so on).

I'm extremely please to be able to add Second Chance Summer to that list.

(From the publisher): Sandwiched between two exceptional siblings, Taylor Edwards never felt like she stood out- except for her history of running away when things got too complicated. Then her dad receives unexpected, terrible news, and the family makes a last-minute decision to spend the summer together in the cramped quarters at their old lake house.
Taylor hasn't been to the summerhouse since she was twelve, and she definitely never planned on going back. Up at the lake she is confronted with people she thought she left behind, like her former best friend Lucy, and Henry Crosby, her first crush, who's all grown up... and a lot cuter. Suddenly Taylor is surrounded by memories she's rather leave in the past- but she can't run away this time.
As the days lying on the beach pass into nights gazing at the stars, Taylor realizes she has a second chance- with friends, with family, maybe even with love. But she knows that once the summer ends, there's no way to recapture what she stands to lose.
Wow. Can I just say that the synopsis doesn't do the book justice? This is such an amazing story, and the synopsis makes it sound like it's just about crushes and best friends, but it's far more than that. It's a story of forgiveness and making memories last just as long as the moments it takes to create them. It's about every sweet word and precious touch. And okay, there is an underlying plot line of romance and friendship and drama, but come on. It wouldn't be a young adult book if it didn't have those things, would it?

You guys know I've been on a kick where all I can do is trash on the female leads, right? Well, hopefully that spell has been broken, because I loved Taylor Edwards. I loved her because she admitted her flaws, I loved her because she could see the world for what it really was, and I loved her because she was real. Yes, she ran away from her problems, but she didn't have to have somebody yell at her to tell her that. She knew that was a fault of hers, and she worked on it. She had character, sass, and emotion. I genuinely liked her, and I'm so excited to be able to say that!

Taylor's relationship with her father, Rob, was precious. One thing I adored about this book was that, yes, Rob has cancer, but it isn't some miracle cancer where he never gets really sick. It's real, and emotional. It's sad, just as it should be. When Rob was in the scene, I was drawn in, and I couldn't help but read just a LITTLE bit more, even I did have something to do, or places to go. Like this book teaches you, you are never guaranteed a "later" or "soon". All you have is right now, and you have to make it worth it.

I knew that come this was the kind of book you have to read after dark, under the covers, in the middle or nowhere, when nobody could see you blowing your nose and bawling you eyes out every couple of pages. My mascara ran a couple of times while I was reading this, and I cursed the book for it's rare ability to make me cry, since that doesn't happen very often. I'm not an emotional gal, so the fact that this book moved me so much speaks volumes.

It's a little strange, because just a little before I finished this book, I was speaking to my mother, and I distinctly remember saying "Well, I'm just excited for the memories we're going to make". Once I closed the hardback, I sat for a moment, and I let the words I'd read mix with those words I'd said. Guys, I don't care how old you are, or where you are right now, you need to make memories. Make every moment worth living and every memory worth having. What's the point of living when you have nothing to show for your life at the end of it but a university degree and heaps of money?

Go buy this book. I'd say read it in the library but A) it's about 400 pages long and B) you'll be reaching for tissues and hugging random strangers by the end. So just buy it and save yourself the dry cleaning bill for a stranger's suit. Enjoy it! And keep it on your shelf for those days that just seem a little low. You'll make it through, I promise.

Happy Reading, Lots of Hugs, and Boxes of Tissues,

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