My new Sunday Spotlight feature (which actually bears a striking similarity to my old Saturday Spotlight feature) will showcase some of my favourite recent books reviewed for the superb Bookbag site.
This is one of my very favourites so far this year, taking 2nd place in my 'Best YA Contemporary' category in the recent YA Yeah Yeah Mid Years.
Years ago, Taylor Edwards and her family would visit their old lake
house by the beach for the summer. It was an idyllic setting, she had
close friends there, and there was lots of fun to be had. Then she had a
falling-out with best friend Lucy and an awkward moment with the boy
she liked, Henry… and she hasn’t been back there in five years. This
summer, she’s finally going back – because her dad is dying of cancer
and wants to spend his last few months in a place he loves, surrounded
by his family. Will she take the second chance to rebuild her
relationships with the people around her?
In case the plot summary hasn’t given it away, this is a massive
tearjerker – to the point where I was struggling to see for most of the
last few chapters! It wasn’t quite as immediately gripping as Morgan
Matson’s first novel, the wonderful Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, but by the time I was a quarter of the way through or so I was just as hooked as I had been when reading that book.
Matson’s characters are superb, and I love the way they develop
through the course of the novel. Taylor, in particular, is a fabulous
narrator – ever so slowly coming to terms with her tendency to avoid
problems, while Henry, Lucy, and Taylor’s father are three of the best
supporting characters I’ve read about recently.
The subject of cancer is never skirted round and watching the
effect it has on Taylor’s father is absolutely heartbreaking, but the
way in which she grows over the summer and the way in which her family
and friends support each other as they prepare for the inevitable
actually make this one surprisingly easy to read despite the difficult
Absolutely huge recommendation and Matson has become my favourite
contemporary author, having written two of the best teen novels in the
genre of the last few years. I can’t wait for her next book!
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