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.
Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.
As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.
Second Chance Summer wasn’t exactly what I had hoped it would be. I think Morgan Matson’s debut, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, set the bar just a tad too high in my eyes. Don’t be afraid! I still liked the book. I read all 450+ pages of it so it was good enough to keep me interested. It just lacked something for me.
This book is about death. That’s obvious just by reading the summary. Death is always a hard thing to tackle but Second Chance Summer is a little different from others. Where most books start with a death or have an unexpected death at some point, this book had the very slow progression of illness. Taylor’s dad is sick from the beginning and he has just a short time left. That was heartbreaking but I liked the uniqueness of it.
My biggest problem with the book is that I didn’t really connect with Taylor. I didn’t really dislike her, she just never felt very alive for me. There wasn’t a lot of emotion from her. It seemed like all the other characters had more personality than she did. I also had a hard time with the fact that she would even consider dating a boy while her father was dying. I have a very close family. We are very different from Taylor’s family and that added another disconnect for me. I couldn’t imagine just living my life the way they did after such life altering news. I understand that lots of people would probably react that way, but it was very hard for me to relate to.
There were many things about Second Chance Summer that I did like. The setting was one. I loved the Poconos and the entire community. It was very richly described. I really loved the side characters. Taylor’s siblings were really well done. I loved their quirks. Warren and his facts and Gelsey with her ballet. Taylor’s father was also fabulous. The puns they threw back forth throughout the book had me giggling. I liked Lucy and Henry as well. Although, I never felt a big spark between Taylor and Henry.
Overall, Second Chance Summer was a good read. I think if I could have connected to Taylor a little more I would have loved it. There was a lot more emotion toward the end of the book and that made me like it more. I do recommend it if you’re looking for a book heavy on family dynamics. I’m also looking forward to what Morgan Matson has in store for us next.
Side note: I read a finished hardback copy of this and I was surprised at the amount of errors in the book. This didn’t take away anything from the story. I just thought it was really odd. I’m talking about lots of cases of extra words in the sentences. Sometimes there was just a wrong word in there (like from instead of front). Did any of you notice this? I just think it’s weird because I usually don’t even notice that many mistakes in ARCs.