First Lines: The list arrived after Sloane had been gone two weeks. I wasn’t at home to get it because I was at Sloane’s, where I had gone yet again, hoping against hope to find her there.
So um…I feel a bit like a Morgan Matson fangirl. Ok, more than a bit. But ever since Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, I’ve just felt like she’s someone to watch. And she proved that she was awesome with Second Chance Summer. And when I heard about this, I knew I had to read it.
Before Sloane, Emily was just a shy girl who didn’t go to parties and ended up on her own more than she did with friends. But Sloane changed all that. Sloane was outgoing and adventurous, pulling Emily along for the ride. This summer was going to be epic…until Sloane just disappeared without a word. Nothing except a list of things to do. Apple picking at night. Dance until dawn. Kiss a stranger. All things that Emily wouldn’t normally do, except that this list may somehow lead her to Sloane. It’s a lot of firsts for Emily, but she has all summer. With the help of brainiac Frank Porter (an unexpected aide for her summer adventure), Emily sets out to finish the list. Besides, what’s the worst that could happen?
The first thing I want to say is that I thought this book didn’t really read like a book. Here’s what I mean. I felt like I was reading about an account of someone’s life, not the plot of some book. It felt real. I wasn’t reading to get to some crazy ending. I was reading about Emily’s summer of firsts. Does that make sense? Maybe it’s because I’m used to reading dystopias/sci-fi/supernatural stories where the plot is everything. This just felt really chill in that respect.
I loved that the characters were super relatable. Emily, for example, could be my twin. I knew I loved Emily the minute I saw her playlists. (Country with a mix of 80s pop) I mean, did she steal my iPod for this? Because it certainly looked like it. Throw in some show tunes and it’s mine.
Anyway, I thought the characters felt like real people. They weren’t stereotyped or cliched. (Mostly.) Emily stereotypes a lot in the beginning (as we all do when we meet people), but she slowly sees past that. And that was really cool to read because it gave the characters more depth. It felt like I was actually getting to know these characters.
I had a lot of emotions connected to this book. There were moments where I was like, “AH, the FEELS!” There were moments when I legitimately laughed out loud. (Well, more like giggled. There are some terrifically terrible puns in this that I enjoyed.) It’s not a book that will make you cry, but it’s not just fluff either.
The only thing I wish was different was how it ended. The last couple of chapters felt rushed, which is a completely different pace than the rest of the story. It didn’t feel as thought-out as the rest of the book. I’m not sure why. It still ended well, but it didn’t seem to fit the book.
Overall, I thought this was a very sweet summer read about trying new things and what it means to be a friend.