Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson Review {with Audiobook Notes}

Posted July 1, 2014 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 12 Comments

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Publish Date: May 8, 2012

Published by Simon & Schuster Children’s
468 Pages
Source: Book – Bought, Audiobook – Bought
Find It: Goodreads / Amazon / B&N  

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

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.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love. (from Goodreads) 

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
My Thoughts:  I think everyone that has read Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson has their own story about reading it. Why they read it, what was happening around them when they read it, what they did they got the book, and then what happened with their eyes when they finished it…
I’ll be completely honest and tell everyone that I tried to read this book last year. I TRIED. First of all, I went into it knowing that I would probably have some trouble based on real life stuff…but that maybe it would be okay and I would maybe cry a little bit and IT WOULD BE OKAY. Lots of people have stories of losing someone they love. BUT! I started this audiobook and followed along with my Kindle copy, and then I IMMEDIATELY found out that I was a lot like Taylor. Like, BOOM, my life changed. Suddenly I wasn’t a person that had lost someone in a way similar to main character, Taylor. I was experiencing these things, present tense. And although I was sad about it, I had to stop the book. I knew I would come back to it later. 
That almost never happens to me – having to put a book on hold – but I’m sure Morgan Matson understands. 
I picked it back up a couple of days ago. I’m in a better place than I was last year. I was ready to read this book and love it and face whatever THAT ENDING held for me. 

1. There is something really wonderful about reading a contemporary book that is a realistic depiction of how life is. I’m not sure that ANY contemporary book is EXACTLY how my life is or how your life is unless we write the book ourselves, but doggone it if Morgan Matson didn’t reach straight into life as a young adult to craft this book. This book has summertime and young love and friendship in it. There are summer jobs, brothers and sisters, pets, and fights with friends. There is insecurity and not really remembering what the fighting is for and creating memories that you will hold onto forever. Rainstorms, tree houses, riding bikes, and fireworks. It’s incredible. So, so wonderful. 

2. The devastating news that Taylor’s family receives about her father – it devastated me. I knew what kind of book this is. I knew it would make me cry, and I had a sneaking suspicion it would break me and slay me in the process. But what I did not know is that it would also HEAL ME by letting me listen to and read the same experiences that I had been through in my own life. 

I was not expecting this. 
I was not expecting this. 
I was not expecting this. 

There was this gigantic swell of emotion that I felt for Taylor – it grew and grew and grew as the book progressed. If you’ve already read this book, you know what I mean. But at the same time, I was experiencing these emotions for myself too, in a way that I had never allowed myself to before. There are so many scenes that closely mirror scenes from my own life, and having them read back to me in book form so that I could listen to Taylor’s story while watching my own life’s memories play back in my head was SO THERAPEUTIC for me. Toward the end of the book, I read and re-read and listened and re-listened to so many scenes that I’m sure many other people would have hurried through, but I needed to read/hear these things to help me move forward from this big life-changing event in my past, I just didn’t realize it. 

DOES THAT EVEN MAKE SENSE? I’m not sure. What I’m trying to say is that I loved Taylor’s beautiful summer experience, even though it made me feel a thousand emotions, but I felt those emotions for myself at the same time. And that was really something fantastic. For me, anyway. 

Second Chance Summer immediately FLEW to my favorites shelf not only for what it did for me personally, but because it truly earned a place there. It is a fantastic story. I think it is so amazing when an author writes a story that is great but also connects to people, and I’m sure this one does over and over and over and over. I will never be able to properly thank Morgan Matson for my first two attempts at reading this book – for the time I couldn’t get thru it, and for the time that I did. I know that I’m not the only person that has had an emotional experience like this. I can’t possibly be. 
Audiobook NotesThe audiobook format of Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson is published by Audible Studios and is 10 hours, 37 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Brittany Pressley who was new to me. She did a great job with the narration of this book. She fell easily into the voice of Taylor, making me forget that she was a voice actor reading Taylor’s point-of-view. Instead, I felt like Taylor was talking to me. I loved that! I would recommend this audiobook for first time reads and for re-reads, and am absolutely certain that I will be re-reading this book via audiobook again and again in the future. 
I recommend Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson to readers that enjoy young adult contemporary with romance and realistic fiction, but my warning is make sure you are reading the last one-third (at least) when you have nowhere to go or when you know nobody is coming over to see you. I finished the book early in the day while I was working around my house, had to STOP for a while to process everything (it’s okay, I’m totally fine and I loved that about this book), BUT THEN I HAD AN UNEXPECTED GUEST SHOW UP after my >1 hour long ugly-cry session. I told her that “I read a book today and it made me cry. For a long time.” but I’m not sure she really understood.

Morgan Matson, thank you thank you thank you for this book. 


Second Chance Summer will appeal to fans of:

Young Adult Contemporary 

with Romance and Realistic Fiction
Romance: Already developed, but there are swoons. No triangle. 

Great Family/Sibling Relationships
Great Setting
Issues: Illness

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

is currently available for purchase. 


WOOHOO It’s Contemporary Month! 
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About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


12 responses to “Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson Review {with Audiobook Notes}

  1. I love this review!! Love every little bit of it.

    "I think everyone that has read Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson has their own story about reading it. " <—- This is so true.

    I just finished this book a couple weeks ago. I didn't have a personal connection to it in the way you did, as far as things happening in life. I've never lost a parent or anyone that close to me, but I do live in the Pocono Mountains. That is where my connections lies. I live in a lake community much like Lake Pheniox. My husband works for the Hospital her father goes too, it was really quite surreal, and I must say, as far as setting and descriptions.. Morgan was spot on. I actually tweeted with her a bit and she told me what community she used to visit as a child and I drive past it frequently.

    This book was just so good, even aside from the sads, all the other stuff, it's just what summer is all about. It's very well written too. I read and listned to the audio like you do. More so the audio. I'm glad you loved it! I saw on goodreads that you had finished it the other day! 🙂

    • Wow, that's so cool about your connection to the setting! I LOVE setting and I get really excited when a book is set in a place near me or in a place that I love, so I totally GET what you're saying.

      BUT YES, oh my gosh yes. This one was tough the first time and I just couldn't do it. But the second time, I COULD, and it was SO GOOD FOR ME to read it and finish it and then go back and re-read parts of it. I can't really explain it, but I won't forget it and I need a physical copy to go with my ebook and my audiobook.

      Speaking of the audiobook, I know that hearing it read to me made it easier for me to get through. Sometimes seeing the words was a little too tough so I would take a few steps away from the Kindle, but the reader kept going and it was really great. I just with I could put ALL of my feelings into this blog post, but I won't be able to. But this is a spectacular book and it is a fast favorite for several reasons and I totally understand why everyone gushes and raves and even cries over it like they do. Hats off to MMatson.

  2. When I read the book, I wasn't as connected to Taylor or her summer romance.. but the family part? Wow. That part hit me so emotionally then and Morgan Matson really captured so many heartbreaking details with such honesty. It made me cry A LOT. I think if I were to re-read it (which I think about doing a lot), it might even hit me harder now.

    Really great review.. it's seriously making me want to consider re-reading the book soon!

    • Yes, that family relationship is incredible. Family and sibling relationships are one of my favorite things in books – I ALWAYS point them out – and this one just blew me away. It is SPOT ON with the ups and downs of this situation, plus I loved Taylor's need to be by herself sometimes.

      Yes, re-read sometime! I certainly will, but I will have to wait a little while before I do! Maybe I need to make it a yearly thing. It certainly meant a lot to me, being able to finish this one. High fives to this author, for sure.

  3. Morgan Matson so has a gift. That's honestly all I can say. I haven't read this one yet, but knowing how well she grasps and portrays human emotions, I can only imagine that I'll be crying ugly tears over this one, too, Asheley. I'm so glad it resonated for you!

    • This book is absolutely a gift – her words are absolutely amazing. They are so simply and quietly written, but the story rings so true on each level of the story. I loved it in so many ways, and I will never be able to adequately portray how much in something as simple as a blog post.

      This is absolutely an ugly-tears book, but I mean that in the best of ways. It was so gloriously freeing to me to be able to do that, and to find some healing in these pages. I'm really and truly forever grateful.

  4. I don't really read contemporary. The only time I do is if it deals with dark issues, just because I like a book that can make me cry. I'm wondering what I'd feel about this one. It obviously deals with some sensitive issues that people have to deal with in life, and will likely bring some tears, but hm. I'm not sure if it feels right for me to read it just for that reason? Especially when so many people are having such personal connections to it like you. I guess it just feels wrong for me to pick it up without really wanting to get into it. Does that make sense?

    But seriously, I am so so happy that this book impacted you the way it did. It is a beautiful thing when a book can just speak to your soul. I don't think I've ever experienced it quite at the same level as you're saying in this review, but still. I can imagine it must be amazing. 🙂 I'm glad you came back to this book when you were ready. Great review!

    • I remember you saying before that you do not read much contemporary. There are sensitive issues in this book, but there are happy times too which is why I found it so realistic and great. It is definitely not the darkest of contemporaries. I think it would be hard to read this one and NOT cry, but that might be my own experience talking (:

      I've never really had a book speak to me the way this one did, and I'm still not quite sure what to do with all of those feelings. They're so positive, but they're so BIG and I feel like I want to put them somewhere but all I can do is this tiny little blog post and it just isn't enough. Thanks a ton for stopping by. (:

  5. I've heard great things about this book and I'm sure they're all true. But I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to handle the subject matter. Cancer books weird me out to a degree that no others do – and I haven't really had to deal with any instances of cancer among family or friends. All the good you describe here sounds SO GOOD, but I think this is one of those books that just won't be for me. But I'm definitely going to give some of Matson's other books a try!

    • These types of books are SO HARD, and they're particular hard for me in the recent past – obviously as I've mentioned here. But I think there is a difference in most of these types of books that I've read and THIS one and that is that this book is really exceptional because it includes the rest of life as it goes on around the devastation *while also* depicting the effects of everything on the actual person with the disease, on the children, the wife, and the community. AND…how these effects make an impact on Taylor's relationship with the people around her – her friendships and such. I just found Taylor (even though she is so young compared to me) to have mirrored my own relational changes during these times in my life, and I have never seen these feelings that I experienced (the images Taylor saw, her fears, etc) given a VOICE that matched mine so perfectly. I don't know. I'm so MOVED by this book that I can't even adequately explain it.

      I totally understand why it is one that won't be for everyone. It isn't an easy book to read. But it is indeed a beautiful book. I too and very excited to read MMatson's other books. I started in a remarkable place and am on the waitlist for her others at my library!

    • I really wanted to see what Taylor, the MC, had to say about what she was going through because I felt a connection with her from the beginning of the book (despite our age differences). It was just too hard the first time. Waiting a full year in between gave me the time I needed and I was so much more capable and ready to face Taylor's emotions, and I was so shocked to see that they were so, so close to some that I had buried down deep. I'm profoundly affected by this one and I was not expecting that! I just really thought that I'd maybe cry a little and think it was a great book. I'm stunned and honored and moved and will likely wait a while and revisit it again.

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