Sandwiched between two exceptional siblings, Taylor Edwards never felt like she stood out—except for her history of running away when things get too complicated. Then her dad receives unexpected, terrible news, and the family makes the last-minute decision to spend the summer together in the cramped quarters at their old lake house.
Taylor hasn’t been to the summer house since she was twelve, and she definitely never planned on going back. Up at the lake she is confronted with people she thought she left behind, like her former best friend, Lucy, and Henry Crosby, her first crush, who’s all grown up…and a lot cuter. Suddenly Taylor is surrounded by memories she’d rather leave in the past—but she can’t run away this time.
As the days lying on the beach pass into nights gazing at the stars, Taylor realizes she has a second chance—with friends, with family, maybe even with love. But she knows that once the summer ends, there is no way to recapture what she stands to lose. From Morgan Matson, the PW Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, this is a remarkable novel about hope in the face of heartbreaking grief.
This is Matson’s second book. I’ve read her other 3 she’s published is and this is my last one of hers I read before being caught up. For me this book falls into the ‘ugly cry’ category. I knew from the description it would probably be a sad one but I didn’t anticipate how much I would connect with the characters.
Taylor’s family decide to head up to their summer home for one last summer together in the Poconos. It’s been several years and apparently the last time Taylor was there she left everyone there in a way that didn’t leave them rejoicing her return.
“The thing is that people only get hurt—really hurt—when they’re trying to play it safe. That’s when people get injured, when they pull back at the last second because they’re scared. They hurt themselves and other people.”
― Morgan Matson,
While learning about Taylor’s past, I personally didn’t find her to be the most likeable person. She was the kind of person who would rather run from something difficult than deal with it. When she runs into her first ex boyfriend at the bakery, she is in such a hurry to leave she says she wants oatmeal raisin cookies. He calls her out on not liking them but when she has an out to change her order she sticks with it anyway.
We watch this family go through the summer from Taylor’s eyes. It starts out pretty normal. She has to get a job and her sister takes tennis lessons. She’s not happy with the job she takes as it puts her working with her ex-best friend and things get pretty awkward. This job, though not right away, is a perfect way for her to develop herself and get out of her comfort zone.
Something else I noticed throughout the whole book is that Taylor is trying to find the right time to tell her father she loves him. No matter how many times it crosses her mind she just doesn’t… yet. I found this to hit home a lot in myself. I was close to my dad, but we were not the ‘I love you’ type. When I lost my dad in real life, I never got to say good bye or I love you. I kept rooting for Taylor to just tell him. Anytime is the right time!
As a reader you will have a blast with this book. It covers all aspects of love, friendship, family, fun time, sad times, awkward times, and second chances. It will make you long for a summer a lot like this and remind you to hold close the people you hold dear and to try and make amends with others.
Following college graduation (and the proud bearer of an incredibly useful theater/English degree) she moved back East to attend the New School, where she received her M.F.A in Writing for Children.
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, inspired by Morgan’s three cross-country road trips, was published in May 2010. It was named an ALA Top Ten Best Book, a PW “Flying Start” book, and was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Book Prize.
In the meantime, Morgan moved back to California, went back to school again and in 2011 received an M.F.A. in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California.
Her second book, Second Chance Summer, was published in May 2012 and draws largely on her experiences spending summers growing up in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.