I've recently been having a dry spell with books. I can't seem to find a writing style I can tolerate with a plot that doesn't make me cringe and characters I can connect with. Summer has always been prime book devouring time, and I've been disappointed by my last few adventures.
I can very happily say that was not the case with Second Chance Summer
As a fan of Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
(one of the better books I've come across recently) also by Morgan Matson
, I was more than willing to try out Ms. Matson most recent novel. After reading the back (please check above or anybody else's review for a summary), I decided it might be worth actually buying, and when I tried a free sample on my Kindle, I was sold. I immediatly went to my nearest Barnes and Noble and bought it. When I got home and began reading it, I found myself almost 240 pages into the novel after only a couple hours, completly engrossed in the adventures of Taylor, Henry, Lucy, Warren, Gelsey, Davy, Elliot, Mr. Edwards, Mrs. Edwards, and all the other colorful characters gathered around Lake Pheonix for the summer.
While parts of Epic Detour
appeared unrealistic, a littly cheesy, and something I could distance myself from easily, Second Chance Summer was nothing like that. Maybe that was why I loved it so much; it was utterly realistic in all ways down to the setting, circumstances, and characters. I wasn't left wondering what crack the parents were smoking to let their kids go on a five day road trip across the country by themselves. No. It was just a family going to spend their last few months together at the summer lake house. It made sense.
As I mentioned earlier, all the characters seemed more fleshed out than the ones in Detour had been. Everyone had depth and growth, and I felt I understood or at least sympathized with all the neighbors on a deeper level. They were real people, people I would want to live next door to for the summer.
There's a number of reasons I loved this book, so just to summarize.
1) The setting (a lake for the summer) -- something I've always wanted
2) The plot -- so modern and realistic, you could see this actually happening to family
3) The characters -- you come to appreciate each of them, even if its in some small way
4) The balance -- Ms. Matson is at her best here as she upholds the difficult balance between Taylor's complicated romance and the Edwards' family dilemma. I never felt like Henry was overshadowing Rob or that Rob was over shadowing Henry. It was a perfect combination.
This rambling and nonsense I'm writing is the result of how stunnned I am by this book. I haven't had to write an adoring review in a long time, so I'm a little practice. How do you convey what a book means to you on an emotional level? Let me put it this way...I cried in this book. I've cried in three other books in my lifteime.
Thank you Ms. Matson for a beautiful book about love, loss, family, hope, summer, and second chances.