Taylor Edwards family might not be that close - everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled, but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor's dad gets some devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.
I can always count on Morgan Matson for a good contemporary, with its realistic romance, great family settings and just a sprinkling of heartache. This story tells of Taylor, a teenage girl who tends to run in the opposite direction when things get tough. Or she did, until she couldn't run anymore when her dad gets diagnosed with terminal cancer and they all have this summer together.
Taylor finally has a chance to make up for the mistakes she made five summers ago. Henry and Lucy were part of Taylor's past, a part she was ashamed of. By being forced to confront them, Taylor stopped running away and learned to deal with her issues, as well as getting to know her oldest friends as new people. It might have started off as incredibly awkward but facing them head-on, Taylor grew in confidence and that meant that she was able to restore those connections with the people who know her best.
While it is about reconciling with her old friends and her first love, it's also completely heart breaking seeing her dad deteriorate in front of their family and Matson is incredibly skilled at keeping the balance between the funny and the sad. Taylor was growing up, developing as a young woman, but her family was slowly coming apart and she is dealing with a few complicated feelings of guilt over being so happy with Henry while her dad is dying. But their last summer together meant more than just coming together as a family and its clear that Taylor's dad is proud of all of his kids growing up and coming out of their shells.
I loved this, it was so much more than a fluffy summer romance and the layers of family commitment, new and old friendships, and growing up made it more complicated but so engrossing to read.
Published 7th June 2012 by Simon and Schuster.