Release Date: May 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 480 pages
Pages: 480 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Hardcover
Sum It Up
Taylor Edwards isn't really looking forward to this summer. In fact, she kind of wishes she could just run away. Her family received devastating news about her dad's health, and her parents have decided that the family will spend one last summer together at their lake house in the Pocono Mountains.
It's been years since they last visited. Life just got in the way. Not that Taylor's complaining - avoiding the lake allowed her to forgot about the mess she left the last time she was there.
Returning forces Taylor to face the people she left behind, including her former best friend and childhood boyfriend. It's also the place where she'll have to come terms with the future that she wishes weren't true.
As time runs out, Taylor realizes that sometimes you do get a second chance - with family, friends and love.
By Its Cover: Peachy Summer Delight
I love this cover in person because the title has this cool shimmery look and the peachy colors are just so perfect for the summer. I think I might like it better without the girl - just a view of the lake, to be honest - but that's a minor quibble.
Amen, Sister Friend: Runaway Girl
Taylor wants to be safe. She doesn't want to face her problems - she wants to run away from them. Her fear causes her to pull back from family, friends and relationships. There was something so relatable about this aspect of her personality. Even if that's not how you deal with problems in life, there have likely been moments when you wanted to.
The progression of her relationship with her father was one of my favorite things about Taylor and this novel. I love how she talked/thought about him because he was a specific character... but, at the same time, it was like he could be my father. I don't know how Matson did it, but it's like she created a completely fleshed out character that (even though he really wasn't similar to my dad) made me feel like he could have been. Does that even make sense? I think it was in the way Taylor related to her dad and thought about their relationship. Her fear and grief felt like it could have been my own.
Literary Love: Sweet but Unnecessary
Henry. Hello swoony boy. Let's just say that I'd like a Fourth of July the likes of which you planned for Taylor. And goodness, I'm so glad you two were childhood friends (and sweethearts). I loved reading about a relationship that developed from years of knowing one another.
Now, on one hand, I really enjoyed the love story. At the same time, I felt that the love story was the one thing that could have been taken away from the book. I understand why it was in there, and it was a great part of the story... But this book could have focused solely on Taylor's relationship with her family members and it would have been just as good. What I loved about this book wasn't the love story - it was the family relationships. Those are the parts that stayed in my mind long after I'd finished this book.
Word Nerd: The Silent Cry
I don't cry very often, so it's very rare for me to cry when I'm reading a book. It's not that I don't get attached to the characters - it's just that I'm not usually moved to tears. There is usually a tiny piece of my brain that knows it's fiction. When I told Magan at Rather Be Reading that I bought this book (after reading her incredible review), she asked if I had tissues handy. I told her I was taking my chances because it was highly unlikely that I'd cry. I just don't cry in books.
Oh the error of my ways... I read the last bit of this and was definitely doing the silent cry. I just couldn't help it.
How is this relevant to the writing section of this review? Because in someone else's hands (words?) I probably wouldn't have been in tears. It was the way Matson wrote about the family handling their father's illness that felt so relatable. I wasn't crying because their father was sick... I was crying because I could imagine that it was my dad. During the ending, this book moved beyond a "fictional story about a family." It made me emotional because the character's emotions felt so relatable, so real, that I could imagine they were my own and that it was my father who was sick. And that just tore me up.
I'd also like to note that this book is by no means dark or depressing. Yes, it's sad, but it's more of a tender and loving kind of sad that makes you feel so much more appreciative of your family. The book, for the most part, felt so warm and cozy. It made me want to wrap my arms around my family and never let go.
Extra, Extra: Lake House
My husband's grandparents live on the lake, and it is one of my favorites places to visit. There's just something about a lake house that seems so relaxed and unplugged from the world around you. At the beach, you're usually doing other things (like going out to eat and shopping). But at the lake, you're usually just there. And for a family facing one of the worst things imaginable, it felt so right that they'd steal away to the lake for their final days together.
"You said you didn't want to waste your time on people who aren't going to matter," I said, and he nodded. "But how do you know they're not going to matter? Unless you give it a shot?"
"The thing is that people only get hurt - really hurt - when they're trying to play it safe. That's when people get injured, when they pull back at the last second because they're scared. They hurt themselves and other people."
Bottom Line: You'll Be in My Heart
It's almost 500 pages, and I read it one day. I read it while waiting on my blinds to get cut in Lowe's. I read it while in the car when my husband was driving. I tried to read it while folding laundry. I read it in the bath and didn't get out until the water was freezing cold and there were still tears running down my face. It was lovely, and I was so thankful to have read it. It was one of those books that breaks your heart but finds a home there, too.