Shiirleyy's Bookshelf has migrated to Dear Shirley ! I will continue to post book reviews but there will also be a lot of personal and travel-related posts :)

Book Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

9 Jun 2012

by Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Release Date: June 7th 2012 (UK/AUS)/ May 8th (US)
Format: Paperback 
Purchase: Book Depository

From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak.

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.

If you scroll through many of the reviews on goodreads, you'll find something in common- that is, most reviews describe Second Chance Summer as beautiful. And I have to agree. It truly was a beautifully crafted story of second chances, mending the wrongs of the past and starting over; but at its core, it is an incredibly moving story of love, loss, friendship and most importantly, family.

I absolutely loved the relationship between Taylor and her father. It's quite obvious from the start that Taylor and her family weren't a tight-knit bunch - and while she may be closer to her father, you never got the impression they exceptionally close. But I really love how their father-daughter relationship developed over the Summer- they truly bonded over these few months. Their time together was precious, and all the fun they had- eating ice cream together, doing cross-words, listening to music and learning about the tiny details of each other- were unforgettable. This particular summer was a genuinely memorable one for both of them. 

And speaking of relationships, I also loved Henry and Taylor<3 Their love was sweet, beautiful and completely sincere. He may not be the hottest guy; she may not be the hottest girl, but they were perfect for each other. He understood her in a way that no body else did, and she exposed sides of herself to him, that she would never show to anyone else. They were just...for a lack of better word, perfect for one another. 

As for Taylor herself, I wanted to hate her. I really did. I hated the way she treated her friends. I hated how she handled situations ( running away when she didn't want to deal with a certain situation); and I especially hated how she was always too cowardly to apologize. Yet despite all these traits that I despise, I just...couldn't help but like her. There's something about her pure heart, and the understandable fear of losing her loved ones that had me accepting her flaws and also being able to relate to her. I was able to wholeheartedly understand her reasons for doing what she did, and in the end, I just..couldn't blame her. She was, in the end, a character I was able to connect with very easily. 

This really ought to have been released either early or late this year in Australia- it's the perfect Summer read; it's perfect for reading at the beach, while you relax and let your mind wander free. It's just such a pity it's winter here, and freezing cold; it's possibly the worst weather to read this!  Anyway, weather conditions aside,  I urge you to pick this book up and READ IT NOW. 
Second Chance Summer will have you smiling one moment, content with everything that's happening, and bawling your eyes out the next. For me, it was a sweet, gentle and purely extraordinary read.

Oh, and on a side note, I haven't read Amy and Roger's Epic Detour ( don't worry, I'll DEFINITELY be reading it! ) But I'm curious; for people who've read both, which one do you like better? :) 


  1. Yeah! Welcome back! Hugs! A big five stars from you. I have read some other reviews and this sounds like a worthy read with great characters, focus on family and more! It is hard to believe you are moving into winter while I am still waiting for slivers of sunshine here in the NW! I am adding this to pile.

  2. YESYESYESYESYES you know from my review that I absolutely adored this book. So glad you did too! <3 I loved everything about it :)

    I liked SCS more than A&R, but it's still a wonderful read <3 It's just quite hard to top SCS ;)

  3. Oh man, everyone is going crazy about this book! I have YET to read a single negative review - or at least anything less than 4 or 5 stars. Gah, I NEED MORE HOURS IN THE DAY. Desperate to jump into this! I'm kind of fascinated that you wanted to hate Taylor, but couldn't because her good traits won out and there was an understanding for her actions. That is talented writing by the author. AND YOU CRIED TOO?! Seriously, I'm not going to start this without a box of tissues nearby haha.

    Also: READ AMY & ROGER SOON! Love! <333 Amazng review, Shirley!

  4. This is such a beautiful review Shirley! I actually can't wait until we get some decent weather so that I can just lounge about with it in the garden! I've read Amy and Roger's Epic Detour last year and it was one of my favourites of the year! I think you'll love it especially if you're a fan of books with road trips! I can't wait until you pick it up! :)

  5. I really really want to read this one. I think it'll break my heart a bit, though, but I tend to gravitate toward those stories anyway. Sigh. Why do I do this to myself?! I haven't read Amy & Roger either, but I DO own that one and plan to read it this summer!!

    Lauren from

  6. YOU TOO? Oh my gosh, I feel like everyone is falling head over heels in love with this book! As a daddy's girl even though I haven't seen him in forever, I LOVE how you describe the sweet relationship between Taylor and her dad! And contemporary heroines like Taylor are ones that I usually want to dislike too, but she sounds like a gorgeously flawed main character instead! :)

    Absolutely BEAUTIFUL review, Shirley-birdie! If you're naming it the-perfect-summer-read-even-when-it's-not-really-summer-in-Australia, then I need to read it ASAP! And I can never resist a cute boy named Henry (or the French equivalent of Henri LOL) ;) <3

  7. lalaine@ficbookreviews7 September 2012 at 18:51

    Oh wow. that good? I am going to add this on my list Shirley. thanks for sharing. Im intrigued! Great review girl.x

  8. I'm glad to hear family plays an important part in this book. That's something that gets brushed away too often. Also, I love the way you describe the relationship between Taylor and Henry. I'm looking forward to meeting them myself. Great review! :)

  9. I've heard nothing but amazing things about this book. I admit, at first glance I probably wouldn't have read it . . . but I may reconsider my decision. Great review!


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