Thursday, October 3, 2013

Love Is All There Is

"And I’ve realized that the Beatles got it wrong. 
Love isn’t all we need—love is all there is."
--Morgan Matson, Second Chance Summer

Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, 468 pages
Publication Date: May 8th, 2012
Source: Borrowed

Goodreads Description

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.

My Thoughts

Ok, now that I’ve taken a few days to collect my thoughts—and stop crying—I don’t think I can make this review like all my others. The material of this book is too raw, too emotional, too everything to try and put into words how great it is. The premise? Read the synopsis! I can’t even BEGIN to talk about the emotional horror that our main character Taylor has to go through.

What I loved most about this book though, were the subtle ways that made this book and this story not solely about Taylor. Reading about a young woman going through the death of a parent was horrifying and depressing, to a point. What I found utterly brilliant by our author, Morgan Matson, was that we were able to see the effect of her father’s illness through so many different eyes.

What struck me most were the quiet scenes where not a whole lot happened…but a whole lot was felt. Example? The part when Taylor sees her mom all dressed up to go out to dinner with her dad. Her mom doesn’t usually go to so much trouble so it was a surprise to her. It BROKE my friggin’ heart to read this because her mother probably realized this might be one of her last dates with her husband. The effort she made to look pretty wasn’t more than a sentence but it hit me like a Mack truck. Another? Realizing that as horrible as it is to lose a parent…seeing her grandfather lose his son hurt just as much. The death of a child to a parent is backwards in the way the world is supposed to work. Seeing death from so many angles was so poignant that, friggin’ aye, I’m crying while I write this. What is wrong with me?!

This story isn’t just about Taylor’s family’s loss though. Taylor and her siblings are all going through their own personal struggles outside of their dad’s illness. I loved watching the dynamic change between the siblings and how they grew to depend on each other and respect each other more. Another resonant point? Taylor helping Gelsey get reading and the way Gelsey clearly looks up to Taylor also sent me into a sobbing mess. I am the older sister, I don’t know what that kind of idolism is like…and to think my younger sisters have looked up to me like that absolutely made me a crying mess because it is so beautiful. My sisters are my best friends in the whole world so to think they even looked up to me a little broke my heart in the best way.

The themes of redemption, love, forgiveness, and understanding are a constant in this book. I loved that Taylor recognized her weaknesses and faults and strived to be better and change. She didn’t make excuses for her actions, she knew she was wrong, and she tried to fix it.

I probably made no sense this entire review. I am rambling. I’m not making sense. But I loved this book. ALL THE FEELS. It might break your heart but it is worth the pain of the feels.

Should You Read This Book? Yes. It’s gonna hurt, but beauty is pain. 


  1. Love this book so, so much. Your review is just PERFECT. You're so right that some of the most powerful moments where the ones where not much happened, but the EMOTIONS! Oh my. When I finished reading, I think I cried on my husband's shoulder for a while.
    I'm new to your blog, but I'm liking it a lot so far! Hope you have an amazing trip!!!

  2. I'm always majorly scared of books dealing with illness/loss, because I KNOW they will break my heart and I already experience heartbreaking things in my line of work, so... But I've been eyeing this one for a while and you've convinced me to put it on my to-buy list. You'll just have to endure lots of texting while I read it ;)

  3. I've been seeing this one around but I've been too chicken to pick it up. The emotion in this book is probably going to kill me. But... after reading your review I think I'm going to do it. It just sounds like such a great story of a family coming together. And I also have a younger sister, so your point about sisters looking up to you has really resonated with me.

    Rebecca @ The Library Canary

  4. Wow. Okay I will definitely read this book. I'm 99% sure I will end up loving it like you did. It sounds so emotional and it seems like this book has a lot of life lessons in it. The characters and plot sounds really amazing. Fantastic review!


  5. This book made me cry so, so much! And I rarely cry in books. But just goodness... this book was such an emotional read!


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