YA Book Club: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson…

Picture1This is a copy of a post from July 2012 but since the YA Book Club of the wonderful Tracey  is discussing SECOND CHANCE SUMMER today, I had to repost it 🙂

Did you read this book? Do you participate in “offline” book clubs?

You know when emotions run wild while you´re reading and you´re feeling ALL the feelings?

That was me on Saturday night at 2am. I was supposed to be sleeping. Really, I was supposed to try to beat jetlag but that was impossible to do once I got into that story. I even thought of hiding under the covers with a flashlight or in another room if hubby happened to wake up to tell me I really should sleep because of that jetlag thing. Hubby just doesn´t understand when I cannot put a book down…

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

I really really enjoyed Morgan´s debut (yes she doesn´t know we´re on first name basis :D) AMY AND ROGER´s EPIC DETOUR but I loved this one.

Maybe it was because of the family dynamics which were much more present into this book or because Taylor is trying to deal with the illness of her father without really knowing how to or because I came to love the secondary characters so much I wanted to hug them through the pages.

The book includes flashbacks into past summers. Getting a glimpse into Taylor´s life as she was younger such as how her first kiss unfolded was so adorable, cute and at the same time so sad and so hopeful.

Source: via Emi on Pinterest

The relationship of Taylor and her dad felt real to me, just like the relationship she had with her mother and her siblings. I could hear them and see them. Taylor and her dad made me laugh and made my heart squeeze. So many times in that book, I tried to detach myself but couldn´t because the raw emotions running through me were too real. The gestures Taylor and her dad have for each other, their struggle to find a balance, his reminders to her throughout the book about how much he loves her, the hints she gives him are very powerful.

Taylor and her mom appear to not be as close but she recognizes it is also a result of all the walls she built around herself. I choked up at one thing Taylor says because it just felt so real. Taylor and her siblings pretty much discover each other during the summer and there are parts of this discovery that had me laughing (not too loud because of the sleeping hubby). But at the same time, you wonder just like Taylor if it´s ok to laugh in these moments. And then, there are Henry and Lucy….yes you should dicover yourself about Henry and Lucy. I think we all have a friend like Lucy, the childhood friend who knows you inside and out. And Henry, well…You´ll have to see for yourself.

This book is indeed about family, love, loss, friendship, growing up and about love. After all just like Taylor´s dad explains:

“And I’ve realized that the Beatles got it wrong. Love isn’t all we need—love is all there is.”

Book Review, Books, YA Book Club

YA Book Club: taken by TAKEN…

This month, the YA Book Club (brainchild of the wonderful Tracey) is discussing TAKEN by the lovely and talented Erin Bowman. TAKEN is a book full of mystery, action and heart. (and it so works that I can also use this for my Debut Author Challenge :P)


Summary from There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

TAKEN´s a page turner, it´s the kind of book that makes you wait for sequels impatiently. No kiddin´ when is it coming out?

I pre-ordered TAKEN and when it arrived, I thought “hmm let´s wait.” I was a bit nervous. Reading a book by someone you interact with even if it’s not on a regular basis is somehow scary and exciting at the same time. And then I hit a reading slump. Work was taking its toll on me and I was just simply stressed.

But then a business trip came up. I had a few hours of flying ahead of me so I took out the pretty cover of TAKEN (didn´t want to damage it) and packed it up for the trip.

You. Guys.

I couldn´t stop reading.

I was sucked in the story from page one.

It reminded me of THE VILLAGE by — the twists are different, the story isn´t the same but there was some sort of similar vibe.

And I really connected with the main character, Gray. He wasn´t perfect, he had his flaws but I wanted to know what happened to him, what happened to those boys and what was going to happen with his possible love interest.

I don´t want to spoil anything but basically, Erin, thank you! Thank you for writing a book that distracted me from my stress and helped me get over my slump and helped me escape for a few hours.

l´ll take a trip with your books anytime!

Book Review, Books, YA Book Club

YA Book Club: This is not a test by Courtney Summers

This month, the YA Book Club (brainchild of the wonderful Tracey) is discussing THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers.

Summary provided by It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad.

Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually wantto live.

But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

First Disclaimer: I´ve read my first Courtney Summers´ book last month: CRACKED UP TO BE, and I was amazed by her way of writing, of showing pain and hope.

Second Disclaimer: I love zombies. I love zombie movies, zombie shows (“The Walking Dead” anyone?)…And I love them because they dig into the human emotions, they put them in perspective with the zombies who seem to have lost theirs and they usually show the interactions between a small group of people, their dynamics into dramatic moments.

The Walking Dead Gif – really you should watch it…

So, yep, you can imagine the expectations I had starting to read this novel. They were high! And I wasn´t disappointed. This book not only have an end-of-the-world type of setting, it also has characters with different pasts, different expectations, different desires, different ways of dealing with what hit them. And the zombies are scary. Plus they´re fast!

Sloane is such a tortured character and her pain rages through the pages, gripping and sad. All the characters are very well developed and I got to really know them. So well, I didn´t want their story to end. Even though, you know there are zombies out there.

In the darkness and horror that Courtney Summers shows us, Rhys stole my heart. I don’t want to reveal too much of the story but let me just say that Rhys makes this book, well,  steamy and sexy and he made my heart melt. The entire book is full of emotions, full of raw, hard-to-cope-with, tough emotions. It’s real and Rhys is real with his flaws, with his strength and with his weaknesses.

Both as a reader and a writer, one thing which amazed me is how Courtney Summers is able to inject a little dark humor and hope into the pages, moments which defuse the tension, just a little, but which are much needed.

Here are some quotes to give you a glimpse of what I´m talking about:

  • “Waiting around to be saved is like waiting to die and I have done more of both than anyone else in the room.” 
  • “This must be what Dorothy felt like, I think. Maybe. If Dorothy was six scared teenagers and Oz was hell.” 
  • “I’m aware of my hand sliding down his lap and then nothingness and then the gentle sensation of his index finger pressing into my open palm and then his hand is at my face, running his fingers across my skin and I’m so awake.”
  • “(…) and I haven’t once imagined a death that was out of my control since this started”

So, tell me, have you read this book? What did you think about it?

And if you didn´t, do you enjoy watching zombie movies?