Second Chance Summer

Second Chance Summer
by Morgan Matson

Publishing Information:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers:  New York, 2012
ISBN:  9781416990673
Pages:  468 p.
Grades:  6-12

"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 the publisher.

Book Talk:
What is one of the worst things that can happen on your birthday?  Well, on Taylor’s seventeenth birthday she finds out.  Her father is diagnosed with cancer and it’s untreatable.  Her family scrambles to make up lost time by having one last summer in their Poconos’ lake house.  Together they try to create the happiness of summers past but her father’s health declines quicker than they thought.  

And while the whole family is dealing with the father’s illness in their own ways, Taylor regrets something that she did to her friends the last time she was at the lake house and tries to fix it.  Will her father survive the summer and will Taylor finally make peace with her friends?

Subject Headings & Major Themes
Realistic Fiction
Interpersonal Relations
Families - Pennsylvania
Terminally Ill
Love Stories
Teenage boy/girl relations
Pocono Mountains (Pa.)

Awards & Reviews:
Booklist, August 1, 2012, p. 67
Publishers Weekly, July 9, 2012, p. 133
School Library Journal, July 1,2012, p. 84
School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, 2012
California Book Awards, 2012

Discussion Questions and Ideas:

  1. What did you enjoy about this book?

  2. What are some of the major themes of it?

  3. Describe the main characters.

  4. How do you think Taylor feels about what happened in the past?

  5. How do her friends feel?

  6. How does the family handle the father’s illness?

  7. Does Taylor change by the end of the book?  How?

  8. Was the ending realistic? Why or why not?

  9. What do you think happens to the characters after the book ends?  

Related Websites:
Author’s website:
Simon & Schuster’s Author Site:


What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Reach for Tomorrow by Lurlene McDaniel

Other Books by the Authors:
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, 2010
Since You’ve Been Gone, 2014

About the Author:
Morgan Matson received her MFA in Writing for Children from the New School. She was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start author for her first book, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. Amy & Roger was also recognized as an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults in 2011. She currently lives in Los Angeles.