I love Morgan Matson’s writing style. I will put that out there to begin with, and I strongly suggest that if you are yet to read any of her works, then start with Amy and Roger so that you can enjoy the true joys of cameo mentions. Unfortunately I read her novels out of sequence so I missed the little gem that is Amy and her boyfriend’s (squeal) mention.
I don’t know why, but I didn’t have high hopes for Second Chance Summer, and all I can say in response to past Bee is ‘WHY?’ I think it was mostly because the blurb makes a truly beautiful story sound cliche, when it wasn’t. It so wasn’t.
What I wasn’t expecting from Second Chance Summer was cancer. What did her dad have? Cancer. The terminal kind. I thought I would be prepared for his death, because the whole summer trip is prefaced in the very first chapter that her dad only has three months to live – it’s not a spoiler, it really isn’t – but I was wholly unprepared for it to actually happen. I legitimately cried for the entirety of the last fifty pages. There were sad tears, there were happy tears, and my were there a lot of them. The only problem I had was that Taylor, our main character, didn’t know when to say ‘I love you’ to her father, and I was shouting at her ‘You don’t need a reason to say it! There is no wrong time to tell someone you love them’ and because of this the ending was even more poignant.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about Taylor. Taylor, Emily and Amy. I would like all three of them to be my best friends. Taylor is lovely, even though she has a propensity from running away from her feelings, and from bad things. Which is a problem when she has such a wonderful love interest, Henry. Henry is outdoorsy, but vulnerable and, let’s face it, pretty much perfect. Their relationship is tense, because Taylor ran away at a crucial moment in their past. Like in Morgan Matson’s other novels, backstories are interspersed throughout, but nothing feels forced, everything is gently woven together so that the reader can begin to fit the pieces together. Normally, I’m not a big fan of backstories, but Morgan Matson somehow makes them work AND feel natural.
I loved reading about the Taylor’s progression. She’s back at her old holiday home after being away from five years, and she had to reignite the friendships she once had with pretty much everyone. Character development is also another thing Morgan Matson does excellently. Every time Taylor overcame a previous anxiety or regained a relationship with someone from her previous time at the Lake, I was so happy, and kept me reading. I did not want to put this book down.
I also loved the minor love story arcs, like Lucy’s and Taylor’s brother’s they complimented the main love story and…there are no words to describe how amazing this book is. No words. I feel like I could spiel about Second Chance Summer for the next five hours, going into every plot point, but this is a review, not a five thousand word essay. To sum up, I gave SCS five stars, because it seriously deserves them.