Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Summary: 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.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: If I'm willing to let a book make me cry in public, you know it's a good book. I only teared up the first time I read Second Chance Summer, but it's made me cry every time I've reread it.
Besides the plot about Taylor's father, this is Morgan Matson's weakest book, plot-wise. Character-wise, it is one of her strongest. This is definitely a book about relationships and growing and realizing how short time can be. Taylor's relationship with her father is beautiful but also bittersweet because you know what's coming the entire time you read (especially during rereads). I also appreciated Taylor and Lucy's friendship. And while Henry Crosby is great and there are strong moments with him, this isn't Morgan's best ship (that honor belongs to Frank and Emily from Since You've Been Gone). I do appreciate that Taylor's voice sounds distinct from Morgan's other protagonists; while the writing style is still the same, Taylor simultaneously sounds older and younger than Amy, Emily, and Andie, which is very hard to do. Second Chance Summer is very introspective, which I appreciate now and again in my books, especially if it never feels like the prose drags.
There's a smattering of foul language and some making out. And if you're sensitive to family deaths and grief, I'm definitely giving Second Chance Summer a trigger warning for that.
The Verdict: So very good. Make sure to have tissues with you while reading this one, if you're prone to crying when reading.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Already did.