When Taylor Edwards’ family receive some devastating news, they re-evaluate their busy lifestyles and decide to spend one last summer together at their lake house in the Pocono mountains. They haven’t been to the Poconos for five years and when they arrive, Taylor discovers that her former best friend is still around, and so is her first boyfriend...who is much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve. As the summer progresses and the Edwards family reconnect despite the ticking clock hanging over their heads, Taylor discovers that this summer might be a time for all sorts of second chances.
It took me a while to connect with Taylor because at first she seemed quite cold and odd, and it was only really when she started to re-form a relationship with her dad and re-connect with her former best friend, Lucy, and her first boyfriend, Henry, that I really started rooting for her. And then I didn’t stop! Despite her flaws, she was very sweet and thoughtful and I really liked her. I especially liked the relationship between her and Lucy. Close female friendships are underrepresented in YA and this one was particularly well-written, I thought. And Henry - I think I have a new book boyfriend. He was so scrummy, I could have just eaten him all up.
Morgan Matson manages to write a whole spectrum of emotions and situations into this book, and I think that was one of the things that made it such a compelling read. You’ve got the tragedy the family are dealing with, and we know from the outset that it’s not going to have a happy ending. Balanced in with this is the romance with Taylor and Henry, friendship and a whole lot of humour. And then, of course, you’ve got Taylor’s guilt at having a good time when her family are struggling so badly. This isn’t one of those books where the tragedy overwhelms the story; the author realises that actually, yes, you can be having a dreadful time but that there can also be high points mixed in with the sadness.
From the outset, we know what the plot is going to hold and the author doesn’t insult the reader with any ‘It’s a MIRACLE!’ plot twists, but instead deals with Taylor’s family tragedy with dignity. Again, the book isn’t entirely about what the family are going through, and Taylor finds that this summer is going to have second chances in lots of different ways.
I’d definitely recommend this as a summer read!