As the title suggests, Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson is about 17-year-old Taylor Edwards from Connecticut. Sandwiched between her intellectual older brother and ballet-obsessed younger sister, Taylor has yet to know what her passion is and has a habit of running away from problems in life. However, this changes when her father is diagnosed with cancer with only months to live. Hoping to salvage the time left together, her family heads to their old vacation spot in the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania  for the summerr, a place Taylor hasn’t seen in five years. She soon finds herself confronted with issues she left behind as a 12-year-old and is forced to address them as well as deal with her dad’s declining health. Getting second chances is what her summer is sure to bring.
I enjoyed the element of revisiting an old vacation spot after many years. It reminded me of the vacations my family and I would take up in the Thousand Islands; something we stopped doing after the year 2000 but later revisited eleven years later. The familiarity that Taylor feels while seeing these places after so much time resonated with me. I liked how Matson set the story at a place in the Northeast, as most other books with vacation-oriented plots take place in locations such as South Carolina and Florida.
The character of Taylor was interesting and somewhat relatable. At 17, you’re still trying to figure out what you want to do, figuring out the future. To be confronted with a situation like that would make it ever harder, the uncertainty can be troubling. The feeling of being surrounded by talented siblings can also strike a familiar chord. Taylor is stuck in the middle without concrete plans, with a younger sister who has years to go and an older brother who has definite plans to go to college.
However, the book fell short with its clichéd predictability. Almost everything I expected to happen did in fact happen, and I felt like Matson dragged the story out with a lot of unnecessary writing. The book itself is over 400 pages, which I thought was too long. There were several times when I felt like flipping through the pages just to see what the ending would be. The lack of a real plot climax also contributed to the blandness of the story.
Overall, if you’re willing to go through 400 pages of a predictable story with a multi-layered character and some fun nostalgia vacation stories, then you can try Second Chance Summer.