Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

A good summer read, but some mixed feelings…

Taylor is seventeen years old and she is going back to her lake house in the Poconos with her family after five years. Five years ago, she ran away from her problems and left unfinished business. Her father is diagnosed with cancer, and he only has the rest of the summer to live. Taylor must learn to face her problems and cherish the last moments with her father.

At the start of the book, I felt like it was such an average young adult book. There’s the average, rather non-descript main character in first person point of view. This happens to be Taylor Edwards in this book. She runs away from her problems. Then, there’s the super outgoing friend–Lucy. And of course, there’s the gorgeous, seemly perfect, irresistible boy. Really, what irks me is the fact that the characters are a little flat. Taylor is average, except she runs from her problems. Lucy is super outgoing, but her parents are divorced. Henry, the boy, is perfect, except that his mom left his family behind. The actual characters themselves aren’t really flawed.

Still, I finished this book within three days just because a) I wanted to see if it would get better and b) I wanted to know what happened. The plot is somewhat predictable with the little sob story (not to say that losing someone to cancer isn’t devastating, I just think the cancer story is the only thing that gives this book something substantial) Of course, there’s the boy she ran away from five years ago, and shocker she still has feelings for him.

I loved the setting on the lake, and small subtle things like the character Elliot and stuff made the book enjoyable.
Even though most of this review seems to be complaints about the book, I didn’t actually think it was horrible. It was just an easy, breezy, average summer read. It wasn’t a story that I will swoon over. It’s probably not even a story I will reread. But, while reading it, it was enjoyable.

I’ll be honest, I compare most YA romance books to Sarah Dessen’s books. Sorry if you don’t like her…and if you haven’t read her books, DO! One of the things I love most about Sarah Dessen’s books is that the characters are very well shaped, not flat. And all of them are very human, even supporting characters. They have their own problems. flaws, quirks, etc. They’re very believable. Also, the problem in her stories don’t overtake the book. Yes, there’s a problem the main character has to get through, but the book also focuses on the character’s life. And one of the best things about her books is that they don’t completely revolve and rely on the love interest. The boy helps the girl, but so do her other friends and family. It’s not all about the boy.

What I’m trying to say is that Second Chance Summer has some of these elements, but it’s missing some here and there that make certain books favorite books, books you swoon about.
***

I do have to add that this book did make me cry at the end. There must be something about the book that made me get attached enough to cry. I only cry when I really care about the characters. Like Marley in Marley and Me.

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