Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

A second chance at family. A second chance at love. This summer everything changes.

Taylor Edwards hasn't been back to her family's summer lake house in years. The Edwards' are always so busy with their own interests that once summer comes along every one of them has something planned or a camp to go to - because of this Taylor doesn't get along with her sister Gelsey who's all about ballet and doesn't really communicate with her brother whose always spouting random facts. So of course everyone already has set plans this summer to do anything but spend time with each other. However, something happens that'll change the course of the summer and every family member's lives forever.

One pivotal moment, the family finds out that the father is dying and there is nothing to be done. One of people's worst fears coming to life changes everyone's plans instantly. Taylor, her sister Gelsey, her brother Warren, and both her parents travel to the lake house for one last summer together. Taylor isn't thrilled about going back, she's been avoiding going back to the lake house. The last time she was there she made mistakes that lost both her best friend and first boyfriend. This summer will bring Taylor moments of pain, connection, and hope.

I adored Morgan Matson's writing in her other story called Unexpected Everything. Absolutely adored. After reading that gem, I had to get my hands on another one of her books. After a long time of having it on my shelves from the library and my mom constantly telling me I would love it (I gave it to her to read first because she loved Unexpected Everything as well) I finally read this very highly rated book. I found that there was one thing that consistently made me keep reading - Taylor and her father.

Taylor and her father get really close to each other this summer. It wasn't that they didn't know each other but they really got to know each other this summer. They spent time together alone getting to really know about their past, their wants, and their dreams. The dad talks about how he met Taylor's mom and when Taylor was first born as well as other topics. He asks lots of questions about what Taylor wants for the future and she asks him questions in return. You slowly see him deteriorate as Taylor catches glimpses of him - she's shocked how frail her father has become. This plot line felt so realistic. The dialogue between the father and Taylor was my favorite part. I wish I could have seen the dad doing the same thing with his two other children. Nevertheless, I got so emotionally invested in this father daughter relationship and how the dad was doing throughout the summer. These two aspects of the story really tugged on my heartstrings and my tear ducts haha...

The problem is that I was so-so about everything else. It was interesting seeing Taylor get out of her shell (this and her public speaking shyness was relatable), work her first job, make friends, and reconnect with her past but it really didn't effect me that much. Everything compared to the moments with her father felt meh. I did like her reconnection with her first boyfriend, Henry, but he was a little too perfect. It did feel very obvious that he was a character in a book, in that moments with him (more towards midway to the end of the book) I was aware I was reading a story not like moments with her father where I was escaping into this world. Because Henry seemed to have no flaws it also felt very obvious that this was a woman writing the perspective of a guy.

Warren, Taylor's brother, also felt off to me. I think it's also the woman perspective of a guy thing. Although, there are shy geeky guys out there. Warren just didn't feel like the older brother. Taylor had to help him out with some things and he honestly just bored me after a while. I guess I didn't find him attractive too so I didn't like him as much which is such an odd thing to say but I guess I'm trying to rationalize why I stopped caring for him. You of course can be geeky and cute. At least I hope so for the sake of my romantic life...

Everything else was so-so like I said before. There are a lot of things that happened in this story that were really fantastic but since it was mainly from the father daughter relationship portion of the story (that I wish there was more of) this was more of a three star book for me. Most of everything else was focused on friendships, the siblings, and Henry which I was just okay about. I can see why readers would rate this higher than me but as I've read a lot of books and have gotten older, YA books have to work real hard for me to be impressed. Unless I just fall in love with a romance in the story - then come my blinders for every perceived flaw in the story.

It's always nice to read some father daughter relationships in the books I read. Preferably ones where the father isn't dying... On that note, do you have any father daughter book recommendations? Leave them in the comments so everyone can take a look.


back to top