May 15, 2012

Latest Read: Second Chance Summer

Here are the basics ...
BookSecond Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Website: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Morgan-Matson/63461446
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary


[Note: I'm changing up the format for this one; it just felt easier to write out my thoughts without categorizing them.]




Short Summary:  Taylor’s family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then they get news that changes everything: Her father has pancreatic cancer, and it’s stage four – meaning that there is basically nothing to be done. Her parents decide that the family will spend his last months together at their old summerhouse in the Pocono Mountains. (Source: goodreads.com)

Here's what I thought...

Between reading the synopsis and knowing the wonderful writing style of Morgan Matson, I was prepared to cry by the (inevitable) end of this book.  And I did.  But I didn't expect these little moments of tearing up during scenes between Taylor and her father.  Their relationship was so beautifully written and I loved every single page where it was just the two of them.  It's interesting how you can love your parents so much but at the same time not know the littlest things about them, like their favorite book.  The entire family dynamic was written really well - from the mother trying to be strong, three siblings so different but starting to come together in the face of this tragedy and all making the most of the time left with their father.  I think if the book had just focused on the family, I would have really, really loved the book.

Now you're probably thinking - would have?

Don't get me wrong, I did like the book, A LOT! But.. I had some issues with the main character, Taylor.  Early on, we're told that Taylor is a runner.  When faced with any sort of confrontation or hardship, her first instinct is to go running in the opposite direction.  The book alternates between the past and the present of her summers spent in the Poconos Mountains.  In the past, we learn about Taylor's first love (Henry) and childhood best friend (Lucy) and how her relationships with them ended.  In the present, it's about her mending those relationships and trying to get a second chance by fighting her flight instincts and learning to open up.  When the reason for Taylor cutting off her past relationships is finally revealed, it felt a little anti-climactic to me.  Like, this is why you cut out these two important people out of your life? All you had to do was talk to them! I'm no stranger to the fear of confrontation, but I didn't get it. And when she was clearly on the brink of making those same mistakes again in the present, I still didn't understand and I just felt frustrated with her.  And usually I look forward to the romantic parts (tension and all) but in this case, I went from feeling anxious for Taylor & Henry to be together to lukewarm on the whole thing.  What really made me enjoy the book was Taylor's personal growth, her family and her friendship with Lucy.

Do I recommend?:  Yup! It's beautifully written and despite how I felt at times about Taylor, her story is definitely one worth checking out.

Happy reading!

PS.  What did you guys think of the format? Should I write my reviews this way or stick with the old way?

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