Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson | a must-read bittersweet story

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Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 5/7/13

Page Count: 468

Hello readers! Today I am reviewing Second Chance Summer; just another lovely book by my all-time favorite YA contemporary author Morgan Matson! Check out some of her other books The Unexpected Everything, or Since You’ve Been Gone (two books I loved).

synopsis

Taylor Edwards never had a closely knit family, because something always tends to step in the way of any bonding. When Taylor is seventeen, her dad receives devastating news, that leaves her family determined to spend a last perfect summer together, which might be harder than they thought, as they realize they don’t know each other as well as they ordinarily should. Taylor’s parents decide to move back into their old lake house, to bring back the type of fun that exists in their memories from five long years ago.

The Pocono Mountains Taylor left behind when she was twelve, much to her surprise, had gone through a lot of change, yet the problems she left are still begging to be resolved; to start off, it is almost inevitable she will face an unforgiving, broken-hearted best friend, and ex-boyfriend. As the summer goes by, the Edwards are hit with the realization that the clock is ticking, every day. Taylor learns to make the best of the moment, and of her past, because maybe she can make this last summer an opportunity for second chances. Taylor can regain everything she loved in her old life, if she just plays her cards right, to make the time she has left with everyone perfect.

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

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Another book by my favorite contemporary author Morgan Matson; how could I NOT totally LOVE it. Second Chance Summer was one of the most bittersweet books I’ve ever read; the perfect resolution of a girl who must figure out how to make her summer perfect after her life is about to be ruined. Though the book moved along fairly slow until the end, I think that this was the best way it could have been written…it portrayed the mending of friendships very realistically. It wasn’t simply your typical, ‘let’s be friends again!’ type of book.

The ending had me so heartbroken at the reality Taylor at last had to face. The way Matson changed Taylor as a person over the summer, was amazing. I know the cover might make the book look a bit cheesy, but it’s far from it. It is hardly even a contemporary, because it’s SO much bigger than that. Although it probably won’t happen, I would love to see this adapt into a movie. Second Chance Summer was overall, simply so heartfelt, and is a book everyone would appreciate deeply. The plot was such a realistic, common situation, which affects the readers view on it, in my honest opinion.

“Just because you’d left something behind didn’t mean that it had gone anywhere.”

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Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

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Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication date: 12/03/2013

Pages: 368

“The Lemony Snicket author convincingly inhabits the mind of Min, a teenage girl reeling from her first heartbreak. This poignant, bittersweet novel centers on a box of objects infused with memories of her brief, unforgettable love.”

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This is the box, Ed.

Inside is everything.

Two bottle caps,

a movie ticket from Greta in the Wild,

a note from you,

a box of matches,

your protractor,

Joan’s book,

the stolen sugar,

a toy truck,

those ugly earrings,

a comb from the motel,

and the rest of it.

This is it, Ed.

The whole story of why we broke up.

The thing is with your heart’s desire is that your heart doesn’t even know what it desires until it turns up. -Daniel Handler, Why We Broke Up

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For the record, I’ve never been very interested in contemporary novels (unless it’s Morgan Matson). But even Matson’s books aren’t solely romance; they’re focused around family and friendships also. When it’s not, things just gets tiring for me…I reached about three quarters through until I skipped to read one of the last chapters (I know, awful). On the contrary, Handler’s writing itself is some of the best I’ve ever found in a young adult novel, but the topic just wasn’t in my interest.

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I didn’t find Min very likable at all; Ed, and Al (her best friend) were okay, but everyone else in the book was basically just a major side character. Of course, because Min is narrating the story about every item in the box, the book is generally very focused around those three characters, which makes sense I guess. Besides that, the whole box idea is really unique and wonderful, and so was the artwork; those things were basically what motivated me to pick up Why We Broke Up. As Asia @LostArtofReading put it..I think it might’ve been me, not the book this time.

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

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I decided I had to read this before the summer ended and was done with it by the end of the week!  This novel had been sitting on my shelf for an awfully long time, but once I was finished with the Mortal Instruments trilogy I picked up right away gladly.  The perfect summer read for sure!

Rating:

I gave The Unexpected Everything 3.75 stars (yes, I know I like to be very exact with my ratings :)) because it certainly deserved better than ‘it was okay’, but definitely not a favorite.

Thankfully the novel itself matches the excellence of the cover.  I really liked Andie’s (the main character) friend group, where each character has a really well defined personality. The only character I seemed to not like was Toby just because near the end of the book she got really dramatic.

Some puppies are thrown in and voila, the book becomes great :).  The plot of the book was good too, although at some points it may have been dragged a little,  making the book the overly long length it is.  Overall it is great and I think that you won’t have much trouble finishing it.

Summary:

Andie Walker has her entire summer planned out; that is until her father’s job as a congressman takes it all away.  She must sacrifice everything to make sure her father doesn’t look bad, even ordering a five dollar latte at Starbucks.  According to her dad, it’s to ensure that Andie doesna snobby rich daughter.  Despite that, she truly tries to do everything right, until she becomes flat-out sick of it, and wants her real father back in return for Congressman Walker.

While avoiding her father, she hangs out with her friends Bri, Toby, and Palmer, but as time passes, the group expands by three, leading to drama between them.  Can the new group stay in one solid piece by the end of the summer?

Meanwhile, Andie is desperately searching for a summer job, and that job truly leads to the summer of the unexpected everything.

The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

The Selection is literally a replica of The Hunger Games (I don’t need to do a review on that book, right?  Everyone should know that The Hunger Games obviously 5 stars!), except of course, with drama in substitute of violence.  In the summary you’ll notice that this is true.

Anyways, the first three books are great, but the author, Kiera, really should have stopped there.  I think that she may have dragged on the subject with The Heir (the 4th book), when as the title clearly displays, the story is retold but with the main character’s heir (Eadlyn).

Rating:

This is a four star series because it the main idea of the Selection is great, but I wasn’t a fan of the rebellion stuff or whatever that came after that.  Anyways, this is another dystopian fiction novel, and if you like that then you should love this series. (Just keep in mind that it is meant to be more drama and a lot less action and adventure.)

Summary:

America Singer lives in a society where it is broken up into eight castes.  America happens to live in five, one of the poorest castes, and unfortunately she has a family of seven to help take care of.  But when the Selection arrives, a competition where a group of girls are chosen to visit the palace and try to win over Prince Maxon’s heart, she wants nothing to do with it.  Although, America’s family is desperate for money, and she knows that entering the competition would be the perfect solution.

The chances that she’s picked is one in a million.  She dreads for her named to be called.  If America is chosen, everything will change for her and her family.  The problem is, is this change going to end up a happily ever after, or are those only found in storybooks?

Back to the Intro:

So obviously the Hunger Games has a lot in common with this book.  I mean, the main start off in a poor section of their society, and must enter life changing competitions.