Review: Second Chances, and a summer filled with feelings

In the matter of a few books, (Since You’ve Been Gone and Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour), Morgan Matson managed to convince me she was one of the greatest contemporary authors out there. After hearing such incredible things about Second Chance Summer, I obviously had my hopes up high when starting (and a box of tissues ready at all times). I buddy-read this book with the incredible Kat, and it was well-needed, because if I could sum up this book in one word, it would be: FEELINGS.

It might be summer, but there’s nothing light about this…


“A thousand moments that I had just taken for granted- mostly because I had assumed that there would be a thousand more.”

A tsunami entered in Taylor’s life on her birthday, ruining everything she thought she knew about the future in one single second. In an attempt to save the last few months with her Dad, sick with incurable cancer, her whole family decides to go back to their lake house, to spend one last summer together. CAN YOU FEEL the tears coming, because I did, just by reading this synopsis. Second Chance Summer is far from a light reading in the summer, on your pool chair – unless you’re enjoying to cry your eyes out in front of other people. Let this be a warning, if you’re a marshmallow like me. It’s a heavy yet very enjoyable story, with a huge focus on the importance of family, time spent together, getting to know each other. It’s not a plot-driven story, but has a huge focus on characterization, and is allowing within the story to let the characters, the family and just, life to expand and take such a huge place you feel like you’re stepping into their lives. AND IT HURTS.

Some annoyingly and painfully REAL characters


“And I’ve realized that the Beatles got it wrong. Love isn’t all we need—love is all there is.”

It hurts because it’s real, or something like that. But, if I had to define the characters in this book, it’s that word I would use. Taylor, our main character, is far from being perfect, and I have to say there were times where she annoyed me, and made me want to shake some sense into her. But she had her own personality, and from the start until the end of the book, we can see her shaping, taking her life into account again and just growing. That was wonderful. Moreover, all the characters aside are just as important, and they all felt real, because Morgan Matson manages to give them quirks, from Warren the brother, fascinated with random facts about Heinz (yes, the ketchup) and other stuff, to her sister and mother, with their present and past of ballet dancing, to her dad (insert ugly crying here), to her former childhood friends. HELLO FAVORITE TROPE OF EVER. I’m a huge fan of childhood friends turning into more, so I loved Taylor and Henry’s relationship, from trying to be friends again, to more, to less, to… Their relationship’s growth just felt very realistic given everything that’s happened between them in the past, and I was grateful for it. I’m a sucker for this kind of thing, and their relationship made me smile.

A focus on friendship, family, and on the tears running down your face


“It seemed crazy that something so big, so seemingly permanent, could be knocked down by a little wind and rain.”

Above everything, Second Chance Summer is about second chances (you didn’t see that coming…did you?). With friendships, because something happened between Taylor and her friends’ years ago, and they had to learn to forget, forgive and move on. I did have some issues on that part, because holding a grudge for something so silly seemed, well…silly. But true friendship manages to get past 12 years-old silliness now, so all for the best. It’s also about second chances with family, and…let’s just say you know how this will all end, right from the synopsis. With a lump stuck in your throat called feelings, and tears falling down your face because why is this happening and it’s just so, so sad.


If you’re not into character-driven stories, this might not be the book for you, because it’s a contemporary that’s 400 pages long. If you’re into stories with a huge focus on family, friendships, forgiveness, childhood friends, love YA contemporary, or just one of these things, then WHY didn’t you read this book yet? You should. I’ll be there to hand you a tissue.

Final rating:  4 drops!

Did you read Second Chance Summer? Did you CRY A LOT? Do you want to read it?

If you know a book is going to make you cry…do you pick it up anyway? Share your thoughts in comments!


Morgan Matson, Second Chance Summer,  Published by Simon & Schuster, May 8th 2012.


From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak.

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.

Posted by

Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

66 thoughts on “Review: Second Chances, and a summer filled with feelings

  1. I haven’t read many character driven stories (I think Aristotle and Dante was the first one and that was only a month or so ago) but I love Morgan Matson’s writing and I’ve put pretty much all of her books on my to-rad list after finishing Since You’ve Been Gone (also last month!) I think they’re going to be part of my summer holiday, sitting on a beach to-read list 😀
    This sounds like a great book, and probably one that may make me cry as well (I don’t tend to cry much over books and films but this one may do it!). I really loved your review, it made me want to start this book right away but I guess I’ll have to settle for it being the next Morgan Matson book I pick up this summer 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh well this book (and all the Morgan Matson books) are perfect for a beach read, I think 🙂
      It will be VERY weird to say this, but, I hope it’ll make you cry, ahah. It made me cry, and I think this definitely shows how good and powerful a story can be, if it manages to touch us this way 🙂 Thank you so, so much Beth! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah that was my thoughts exactly, I’ll download them all on my Kindle and during summer just read them one after the other 😀 kinda a perfect day in my opinion!
        There are a fair few books that have made me cry but this could be one of them, I hope it is. I really liked Since You’ve Been Gone so I think I’ll enjoy this one just as much, and that it’ll move me to tears too!
        That’s all right ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m already really excited to start The Unexpected Everything because I’ve seen some good reviews for that book as well, same with pretty much all her other books actually! I think Jandy Nelson will always be my favourite contemporary author but Morgan Matson is a close runner up at the moment 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m on a book buying ban so I can’t buy that book yet! Maybe I’ll get some Amazon vouchers for my birthday or something because that won’t technically be cheating on my book ban (I thought about this a LOT!)
        I’m working on building up my summer to-read list, and Morgan Matson is definitely right at the very top! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’ve gone two weeks without buying a book, even pre-orders, and I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone. Which is not a good thing thinking of it because it just means after my book buying ban is over I’m gonna go insane on Amazon!
        Yeah, it’s weird how quickly this year has gone, like part of me thinks it should still be March or something :/

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Wow, that’s not much haha, well, I guess books are way too addictive, and you’re reading so, so much as well 🙂
        Oh yeah definitely, it’s gone by so, so fast, I can’t believe it. I don’t know if I’m happy about it or sad, though…


  2. Wow, I really need to read this book asap because it sounds absolutely amazing! I do have the ebook but I haven’t picked it up yet but now I think I will soon. Nonetheless, great review!

    Btw, can a get a tini-tiny help? I can’t figure out how to upload the favicon icon in my blog. Can you tell me how you uploaded your little teddy bear up there? Pretty please… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is, and I think you would LOVE it! Please read it soon so we can talk about it 😀
      You need to click on the top-left-hand-corner of the page, when you’re on your blog, then at the very last item “Settings”. Once you’re on that page, on the top-left corner you’ll see your blog name, and there are three little dots. Click on the little dots there, and you can add an icon there 😀 I hope this helped 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I yet have to read ANY of Morgan Matson’s books *boo me* but I’m planning on getting to it next month so FINGERS CROSSED ! I love character driven stories and this one seems like something I’d enjoy, shocker haha :p
    Great review Marie ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your review was perfect, Marie <3! It made all the feels come rushing back right now and I am so, so glad we read this together. I still think it is weird how much this book felt like summer even though there was a rain cloud over my head the entire time. It weighed heavy on my heart and still, it also made me laugh. Matson is just the Queen of Summer.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s okay if you take your time for reviews! Don’t ever feel pressured in any way! I just like to get them out of the way as soon as possible, because my brain tends to delete vital details otherwise hahaha

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have a difficult time relaxing as well, but I am working on it. I went to an American Football game today and it was awesome. I had no idea what was happening, no idea how to behave, but I ignored my inner panic and just enjoyed it nonetheless ;D

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This whole review reflects my feels so much! The first time I read this I just broke on completely at the end. Morgan Matson just writes amazing characters and I just grew so attached to them. I loved the focus of family in this book unlike other contemporaries that focus on romance (though Henry was pretty great!). I just loved this book to pieces, I’m so glad you feel the same 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful review, Marie! 💕 I still haven’t read any Matson… The shame I know. But I’m going to read Since You Been Gone for sure this summer. And oh my gosh, this sounds so heartbreaking. 😥 I, like you, cry easily when reading an emotional story so I’ll keep a box of tissues handy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. the choice of drops for the rating here seems to fit incredibly well. I’m generally not a big fun of contemporary novels, I guess because I look at books as a source of escapism or encounter with otherness, but I have to be honest, Morgan Matson’s become more and more appealing each time I read a review about them. I’ll probably pick up Since You’ve Been Gone or Second Chance Summer soon. And yes, I welcome the tears and strong emotions despite the high investment in tissues involved!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh you’re right about this, I didn’t even notice. I should rate sad books with tons of drops, ahah 🙂 I understand, but I’m a huge contemporary lover anyway, because I kind some kind of escapism in those stories as well, and I find myself usually getting more attached to the characters in these kind of stories, and it definitely leaves a mark afterwards. I hope you’ll read one of her books soon, and love it, please let me know! 😀 And thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great review, this makes want to finish the book a lot faster! But I really can’t read this during the day because, every time there’s a scene with her dad, it just makes me feel like crying ugh, I hate myself I get so emotional because I’m always like “what if this happens to me?” haha. So I’m just going to read this at night, where I can cry a lot without the judging eyes of my family lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I honestly did not think this book was going to make me cry when I picked it up but BOY OH BOY was I wrong. By the end of it, I was a horrid mess and you’ve never seen a scary monster until you’ve seen my sobbingness. Little Sis over there just turned around and LAUGHED AT MY FACE while I was dying in agony.

    When I know a book is going to make me cry I READ IT because I guess I enjoy the torture. Yea, I don’t know – ITS TWISTED but I can’t help it! The sadness just stays with me FOR A VERY LONG TIME but I can’t not read a sad book that I know will be amazing!

    SUCH a fantastic review, it makes me want to read the book all over again! Which I probably will do some time in the future because you know, SOMETIMES THE LUMPS CALLED FEELINGS MUST BE FELT.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That book just HIT ME AND I CRIED A LOT. I couldn’t stop I had a lump in my throat, it was so, so sad 😦
      I’m glad I’m not alone in doing this, I think we must LIKE to feel tortured and sad like crazy? We should buddy read one crazy-sad book so we can have ALL THE TEARS together ahah. THANK YOU, you are way TOO SWEET and what did I do to deserve such sweetness ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OH GOSH I REMEMBER THE MOMENTS. That star scene? THE TEARS MAN THE TEARS. Oh yes, what is happening to readers I do not know but the satisfaction of our hearts ripping to shreds is real. #forevercrazy 😉 OH IT IS IN YOU, YOU DESERVE ALL THE SWEETNESS AND MORE ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I read this last week and it’s the first time a book has made me full-on cry for a really long time. It was so sososo sad and beautiful although Taylor did some idiot things, let’s be honest. (like: why are you doing this to yourself, girl). I also loved her friendship with Lucy and the realistic ending, and, like you, I’d give it 4 stars 🙂 It was a lot, but the setting was also good, although I agree the plot wasn’t really a driver 😀 😥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH READ HER BOOKS NOW. Sorry, haha, but she writes such great books, and since summer is right around the corner, and holidays, it’s just the perfect time for it! 🙂 Oh 😦 Well, I think my favorite of hers really is Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, because road-trip, friendship, music playlists, great character development and cute romance, ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Morgan Matson is one of the best authors I’ve ever read. I’m a huge fan of character driven books, and she does it perfectly. I want to have a party with all of her characters at the same table, because each one of them is so perfectly imperfect and I love them all so much. They basically are my friends. And the romances *swoon*. She really writes the best romances and the best character arches and just the best relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes I agree with all of your thoughts! The characters is what really makes this story and I would love to get back into it (and cry all over again). I really related to Taylor and even though the drama was just some silly thing, when you are 12 years old it feels like a much more big thing. Although I can understand everyone’s reaction as being a little disappointed. This book is one of my absolute favorites of the year!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.