Second Chance Summer – Morgan Matson

“I eased open my bedroom door to check that the hallway was empty. When I was sure that it was, I shouldered my purse and closed the door behind me quietly, then took the stairs down to the kitchen two at a time. It was nine am, we were leaving for the lake house in three hours, and I was running away.”

Taylor is a runner – not in the sporting sense, no – she runs away from everything as soon as it gets hard. So the thought of returning to the Lake House fills her with dread. She hasn’t been back there in five years, not since she was 12 and she left unexpectedly, running away form some problems that its not likely will have been forgotten. To make it worse the reason the family are going to the Lake House is because her father has received some terrible news. Taylor can’t see the summer being a good one but when they arrive at the Lake House could things be different, is it time to make amends and could this summer be great even with the looming troubles that are ahead?

I knew this book was going to be good, to follow on from Matson’s first – Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour – she really had to hit the nail on the head and make this book amazing, and thankfully, she managed it brilliantly. 
Second Chance Summer is a hard book to read, not by way of actual reading, but by topic. The words flow seamlessly and whilst it’s very descriptive I really felt like that helped the book as I could picture so much of the house, the people and the lake community. You got to know the characters brilliantly well because of the way everything’s described and I really felt myself connecting to them all. 
The topics that are dealt with in this book are immense, theres love, friendship, guilt, grief and facing up to your fears. There’s growing up and being a better person and mostly its Taylor who goes through this all. Second Chance Summer is an emotional rollercoaster for both Taylor and the reader. I seriously had to stop reading towards the end becuase I couldn’t see the book for tears, and I was crying so much i needed tissues and a drink to re-hydrate myself! 
You see this book really hit home for me because at 17 my dad was going through crap with his health too. Nowhere near as bad as Taylor’s dad I must add, but it was still scary. I have a very similar relationship with my dad as Taylor does in this book – even down to the hilarious pun jokes that everyone else groans about. I wanted to call my dad and share some of the ones that appear in the book with my dad! Taylors dad is a workoholic and so was my dad, it takes a lot for Taylor’s dad to stop working and it did with mine too, I saw so many similarities between the dad in this book and my own that I couldn’t help but think “what if this happened?” and that’s when I started crying even more! 
Its so hard to see the change in Taylor’s father as the book and its months go on but I loved seeing Taylor and her dad’s relationship grow even more. I loved that he wanted to know so much about her life and what she was going to do with it and I loved how he just understood her, especially because as a teenager you probably don’t even consider parents are people let alone ones who actually see things! 
The change in her father made Taylor change too. I’m glad of the way things worked out and I know she still wasn’t perfect but she was trying and I really liked that. The problem that she ran away from all those years was still a fresh wound for so many of the characters but for different reasons, exspecially for Henry and I felt so sorry for him. Things must have been tough and then Taylor turns up, making it worse. The two of them were childhood sweethearts and its obvious that neither of them ever got over that first love. I did think that maybe Henry was to easy going on Taylor, especially towards the end but I guess when you know something is right, tis right. 
This book was filled with brilliant characters, the relationships they all had was brilliant and whilst Taylor wasn’t my favourite character, she made for a good narrator. Warren was typical big brother and such an egghead. Gelsey was a bratty little sister who could be great at times. Taylor’s mum wasn’t mentioned a lot, despite always being there but I thought her character was well drawn in, the way you could tell how the grief and hurt was there despite her not being mentioned properly and how much of an effort she was putting in for her husband and children. Lucy was a brilliant friend, despite the obvious set backs and her flirting ways made me laugh so much when she couldn’t even see what was right in front of her. My favourite character had to be Taylor’s dad though, I loved him and to see him hurt was awful. I loved the breakfasts he’d take taylor too and the way he’d talk law stuff with Warren even though there was probably other stuff on his mind. He was a kind, sweet guy who realised just how little time he had spent with his family and wanted to change that. 
Second Chance Summer was just incredible. If you read and loved Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour you will love this, but be warned; have tissues at the ready! It’s a brilliant summer read with amazing ‘part’ titles that work so well for the book, and whats more is, it starts off at the very beginning with a Death Cab For Cutie song lyric! 
Second Chance Summer was published by Simon and Schuster on June 7th. My copy was purchased online. 


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