Second Chance Summer

Second Chance Summer

Title: Second Chance Summer

Author: Morgan Matson

Series: N/A

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

Release Date: June 7th 2012


Five Stars

From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak.

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.

– Blurb courtesy of

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“In all the medical dramas I’d ever seen, there was always some solution, some last-minute, miraculously undiscovered remedy. Nobody ever just gave up on a patient. But it seemed like in real life, they did.”

Taylor hasn’t been back to her families lake house for five years, not since she ran away from a mistake which cost her her childhood best friend and her first boyfriend. When her father is diagnosed with cancer Taylor has to face that mistake however, as her family head back to the lake house for one last summer together. While Taylor’s younger sister can lose herself in ballet and her older brother in his college reading, Taylor has nothing to fill the endless days stretched out ahead of her.

I feel like all of Morgan Matson’s books have had deeper story to tell; they’re not just fluffy YA contemporaries with a cute romance but books about family, and Second Chance Summer takes that to the next level. Her father’s cancer diagnosis has given the family a few months to spend together, and over the course of the summer Taylor watches as her father’s health declines. As well as the development of her family there was fantastic character development for Taylor as well.

“It wasn’t until now, when every day I had with my father was suddenly numbered, that I realised just how precious they had been. A thousand moments that I had just taken for granted—mostly because I had assumed that there would be a thousand more.”

With no better options Taylor finds herself taking a summer job, and ends up working with the childhood best friend she ran away from. Add to that the fact that her first boyfriend now lives next door and Taylor can’t escape the mistake she made five years ago. Over the course of one summer Taylor becomes closer to her family, but the time bomb that is her father’s diagnosis looms over the family and she learns that she can’t run away from every problem she encounters.

Second Chance Summer follows Taylor over the three months her and her family are at the lake house, but we also see key events that define her history; from hearing her father’s diagnosis for the first time to what happened five years ago between her, Lucy and Henry. This book has a slow burn story, it’s the development of the characters and their relationships with one another which makes it such an emotional read.

…The Characters

“I felt, as more tears fell, just how tired I was, a tiredness that had nothing to do with the hour. I was tired of running from this, tired of not telling people, tired of not talking about it, tired of pretending things were okay when they had never, ever been less okay.”

Taylor has never been good at facing her problems, when things get too hard her first instinct is to run away. In the past it’s been her dad who’s followed her and brought her home again, of her parents Taylor has always been closest to her father, but Taylor has never faced head on the hard times that have shaped her past. Her father’s diagnosis isn’t something she can run from when every day she can see how he’s deteriorating.

As much as Taylor grows in this book, realises running away doesn’t solve everything when the problems just wait for you to come back, it’s still something she defaults to when things get too much to handle. She doesn’t want to face what her father’s diagnosis will eventually mean, she bottles up her thoughts and feelings on the subject and puts people off when they ask about them.

“Daddy,” I whispered, feeling my own breath hitch in my throat. “I love you.”
Just when I was sure he was asleep, the one corner of his mouth lifted in a smile. “I knew that,” he murmured. “Always knew that.”

At the beginning of Second Chance Summer Taylor isn’t close with her siblings; they’re all too different and while her sister and brother have something which makes them stand out Taylor sees herself as the unexceptional middle child. As the story continues that difference is bridged a little as Taylor realises there are things her brother and sister aren’t exceptional at which she can help them with.

The relationship between Taylor and her father was both beautifully written and heartbreaking, and my favourite part of this book was reading about the breakfasts’ Taylor and her father go on during her days off. Although Taylor was always closest to her father she realises she doesn’t know much about him at all. She always put her family off for her friends or boyfriend thinking there’d be more time, but now there isn’t any more time.

“Your childhood friends are the ones you should hang on to. They know you in a way that nobody else does.”

Both Lucy and Henry play a key part in Taylor’s development. It wasn’t so much what Taylor did five years ago which hurt them so much, but the fact that she ran away without giving an explanation. It’s been a long time for both Lucy and Henry to live without answers, letting their hurt feelings grow into resentment and anger, but now back at the lake house Taylor has a chance to make amends.

This was an incredibly emotional read, probably tied with Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour for my favourite Morgan Matson release, and by the end I was in tears. Second Chance Summer does have  a cute romance which grows over the summer, but the part of this story which stayed with me past the final page was the journey Taylor’s family went through over those same three months.

What did you think of Second Chance Summer? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

25 thoughts on “Second Chance Summer

  1. Yeah I really love how Matson books aren’t just fluffy romances- and this was such a good one of hers (and took me by surprise when I picked it up cos I wasn’t massively into contemporaries at the time and had some misconceptions about the genre). I loved how this explored family relationships and how they grew closer over time- it was so wonderfully done! And I really agree that this was super emotional- I ended up in tears too (no surprises there 😉 )
    So glad you loved this too- fantastic review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re really not. I think in all her books I’ve read so far there’s been a cute YA romance but there’s been so much depth as well. All I’d heard before I picked this one up was how devastating it was, but I’d read some other Morgan Matson books before this so I knew what to expect from her writing and characters. I was still surprised how much it hurt when I got to the last page. Massive amounts of tears were shed. 🙂
      Thanks. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review Beth 🙂 I am glad to hear that you’ve enjoyed this one. Sounds like it is an emotional read, despite the light-hearted appearance of the cover! This one has been on my radar for a while, and you’ve made me want to read it even more 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Sophie. Oh this was amazing, I know it was going to be a sad story so I put it off but it’s now one of my favourite Morgan Matson books. Definitely emotional, and yeah now you’ve said it the cover doesn’t really give off that vibe (the story hits you like a punch in the stomach though). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it was brilliant, and I can definitely see why it’s your favourite because it’s (one of) my favourites by Morgan Matson too! 😀 I think it’s books that move me so much like this one that mean the most to me, I’m not going to forget this story anytime soon. 🙂


  3. Ahhh Beth, I’m so happy you finally read Second Chance Summer and that you enjoyed it as well ❤ It is such a great story, it made me cry a whole lot just as well haha, but I loved it so much ❤
    Lovely review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah better late than never! I can finally say I’ve got through all of the books Morgan Matson has released so far. 🙂 It’s a brilliant read, and one I will be picking up again once I’ve gotten over the emotional trauma that comes with reading it for the first time!
      Thanks so much. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I read this forever ago, and now I desperately want to to reread it after seeing this!! Wonderful review, I completely agree. I remember being in floods of tears as well. I think Epic Detour juuuust comes out on top for me, from what I remember, but that may change if I do dig this back out again!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.