I cannot decide if I liked this book or not, but I know I didn't love it. I loved that it explored family dynamics - a very real portrayal of a fictio...moreI cannot decide if I liked this book or not, but I know I didn't love it. I loved that it explored family dynamics - a very real portrayal of a fictional family. Most families aren't quite as dysfunctional or perfect as TV programs, movies, and novels would have you believe. But "The Smart One" gives a very good example of the kinds of things I imagine every family deals with throughout their lives.
Close captured the characters well, but I felt *everyone* did a little too much dwelling to keep my interest properly. I think this is one novel that could have used a little more jumping around to keep things moving along, rather than feeling like we're falling into the depths of despair with each and every character portrayed.
It is devastating how many cruel and horrendous people their are in the world, and absolutely terrifying to realize how many are in out own neighborho...moreIt is devastating how many cruel and horrendous people their are in the world, and absolutely terrifying to realize how many are in out own neighborhoods.
I would like to think I could have the strength, character, and kindness to do what the Ladens did in this novel. I am not at all sure I am as good a person as these characters were written to be, though.
Kittle did an excellent job leading is through the story and giving just enough to implicate the horror of the situation being described, without getting morbid and blatantly or sensationally disgusting.(less)
I really wasn't sure if I was going to like this book - at first I couldn't get into it, then the obvious bits got on my nerves. And then things start...moreI really wasn't sure if I was going to like this book - at first I couldn't get into it, then the obvious bits got on my nerves. And then things started falling into place.
The deeper I got, the more I felt the pull - just what I need from a book. I look for this anytime I read anything, and I was thrilled to find it in this book. Marchetta wraps the reader around this tale, drawing us inside of it instead of drawing it inside of us. She's brilliant, and the story she tells us is incredible and moving and beautiful.
I'm not even going to give plot points - I encourage everyone just to pick it up and try it out. Push yourself past the first few chapters and get to the meat, and you'll be hooked. Go on, check it out! (less)
"Second Chance Summer" is, in more ways than one, about facing up to life's challenges, even when you don't feel ready. Morgan Matson did an excellent...more"Second Chance Summer" is, in more ways than one, about facing up to life's challenges, even when you don't feel ready. Morgan Matson did an excellent job outlining her very human characters, flaws and all. She also challenges the reader to face, along with the Edwards family, the reality of life: death.
Taylor Edwards runs when life gets hard. She doesn't run far, but she can't seem to just stay and face the difficulty before her. Taylor's older brother, Warren, was grown up before he was a teenager. Their younger sister, Gelsey (I also love that this name is admitted to be unusual, rather than treating the reader like an idiot for being unaware and unsure how to pronounce it), is a ballerina who has no desire to be anything else, ever.
Five years earlier, Taylor ran from a situation involving the 2 closest friends she has ever known, and now on top if facing her father's death, she is also forced to face Lucy and Henry.
Will the Edwards family say what needs to be said? Will Taylor learn to stop running? And will Warren and Gelsey face their own fears in friendships and love?
The story is slow to unfold, but unlike most slow-paced books, you understand the reason. And when the pace picks up, you feel the frenzy and panic and want to force it to slow. I cried in several places, full out tears and near-sobbing. And you KNOW when the moment arrives, no matter how much you want to change it, fix it, and make it better.
This is an incredibly well-written novel, full of human interactions that are not so far-stretched ad to feel unreal. Everything feels very real, very close.(less)