Review of ‘Second Chance Summer’ by Morgan Matson

Second Chance SummerWell I definitely have a new book to add to my books that made me cry list! Great big snotty harrumphy sobby tears!

I had a spare Audible credit, so I decided to download this audiobook after I saw it listed on so many top ten Tuesday lists last week (books that will be in my beach bag this summer). Thank goodness I listened to it at home, the crying would have been very embarrassing in public!

This book was reminiscent of books by Sarah Dessen. It has the familiar premise of teenage girl away for the summer holidays with family issues and a dreamy boy next door who she starts dating and then drives him away before finally managing to resolve her issues and getting him back again. This is no bad thing as I really enjoy Dessen’s writing and there is a very cozy predictability to these books, they are utterly formulaic but reading them is like getting a lovely warm hug.

I don’t think Matson is quite up to Dessen’s standards, the foreshadowing throughout the book was laid on so thickly that it made the plot even more predictable. Taylor’s favourite film is Casablanca? That will be the film Taylor picks at her movie night. Taylor asks Henry about his treehouse? They’ll end up sheltering from a storm there. Taylor has a habit of running away? She’s going to have to face up to problems that she can’t run away from in order to get past this. Nonetheless I enjoyed this book.

The book follows Taylor, a seventeen year old girl whose father is dying of cancer. Her family spends one last summer together at their lake house which Taylor hasn’t visited for 5 years after a summer where she fell out with her boyfriend Henry and her best friend Lucy.

Side note: It’s amazing how many YA books feature American families who go away for the whole summer and have second houses by the beach. How are American’s so rich that they don’t need to work for three months of the year and can still afford a second home?

Taylor has avoided seeing Henry and Lucy for 5 years. When we finally find out about the infraction which led to this avoidance, it is revealed to be incredibly minor; a misunderstanding which could have been resolved with a very simple conversation and apology. I didn’t expect a 12 year old to have done anything really bad, but her reaction and decision to run away for so long rather than face a difficult conversation is much worse and more cowardly than the wrong she committed against these two people is the first place.

Taylor’s cowardly nature made it hard to like her or understand why everyone else liked her so much. She constantly avoided any sort of conflict. However, as usual with this type of book the love interest, Henry, is a saintly figure who never does anything wrong and who loves the heroine despite her many flaws.

My Murphy
My Murphy

I wasn’t sure the romance completely came together, but the scenes with Taylor and her dad and his eventual death were very touching. I also liked the fact that there was a dog called Murphy which is the name of my dog! Although to counteract this, Taylor’s sister is called Gelsey; what sort of a stupid name is Gelsey?!

I’d definitely recommend this book to fans of Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins.

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4 thoughts on “Review of ‘Second Chance Summer’ by Morgan Matson”

  1. First, your dog is freaking adorable.
    Second, great review! I liked that you said it’s similar to Sarah Dessen books, because I love Sarah Dessen. I’m looking forward to reading this book next. 🙂

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