Aly in Wonderland

Second Chance Summer

Second Chance Summer - Morgan Matson Read more reviews at The Beautiful World of Books!

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


I'm not sure where my problem with this book stemmed from. With a 4.13 star average, over 15,000 four/five star ratings, and a family feel to the blurb, this book is supposed to be right up my alley.

In truth, this book annoyed and upset me a lot. I couldn't quite wrap my head around the fact that Taylor's main problem was that a boy she left behind when she was twelve was mad at her, whilst her father is dying of pancreatic cancer. It was the sort of selfish, self-centred attitude that really grated on my nerves.

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


The first sentence in that quote isn't what I found in the book. The whole "know each other" situation happened a grand total, that we know about, of two times, when Taylor's father took her to the diner. There were almost no family interactions. A lot of the time, Taylor was either making out with Henry, gossiping with Lucy or thinking about making out and gossiping. Her dying father seemed to come along as a second thought, and we don't really get to see much interaction.

But isn't that what this book is about? Making the most of the short time you have together? I didn't see it. It wasn't until the last week of summer that they all became really close and by then, it was too little too late. I didn't understand why you could possibly want to worry about something you did when you were 12 years old when your father is dying. Surely that stuff can wait? Surely you would try your damn hardest to make the most of the short time you have together? Wouldn't you try to make every second count?

Maybe my problem is that I didn't like Taylor. In the most critical times, she ignores phone calls and takes off, leaving her family behind. She runs away from her problems, thinks badly of herself, but then expects everyone to understand what she's going through.

Don't get me wrong, I cried like a baby at the end of the book. My father isn't very well, he has a severe heart condition, and when he had a major heart attack last year, it landed him in hospital for almost a month. For a month, I didn't leave his bedside, because I was terrified that every breath would be his last. Even now, when he gets angry, or he's in pain, I freak out, because my father is my best friend, he's the man that taught me how to live and I cannot imagine my life without him.

So when Taylor made it all about her, it angered me. When she ran away instead of facing up to her problems or being there for her family (especially her younger sister), it made me so mad. When all she could think about was Henry and Lucy and life when she was twelve, I had to quietly close the book and read something else.

I gave this book 2 stars for a number of reasons:

- I loved the interactions Taylor has with her brother, Warren. I adored how Warren tries to look strong but is okay with talking about how he isn't strong at all.
- Gelsey. I adored her and how determined she was to make the most of everything.
- Robin, Taylor's father. He didn't give up until the very end, until he had no choice. I admired how strong and determined he was to fix everything before leaving.
- The ending. It was done perfectly, with just the right amount of sadness that had me bawling. It was incredibly heartbreaking but hopeful at the same time.

I had to detract stars because:

- Selfish, self-centred Taylor and her woe-is-me attitude, how she was quick at running away and leaving her family behind and worrying about petty shit when she should have been there for her family.

I cannot get my head round that and for me, it was a deal breaker.

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