Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thank you, Morgan Matson

Way back when, I read Second Chance Summer and it was my second cancer book and second contemporary book that made me get emotional. It's one of those books that I remember fondly, but think that I won't read again because I already have so much emotion in my life right now, it can't possibly be healthy to have extra.

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour was my second book by Morgan Matson that I read and it was...good. It didn't wow me or make me go all squealing fangirl. It was cute. I had problems with it, but it wasn't bad by any means.

Then there was Since You've Been Gone and IF Morgan Matson needed redeeming, this book did it. I'll always look back and remember SYBG as the book of summer 2014 for me. I've told people multiple times to read it because it's the ultimate summer book. And I'll say it again. Do it. You won't regret it. Because it made me not only enthralled, but also challenged, in a way.

The book is centered on Emily whose best friend Sloane has disappeared. She doesn't know where or if she's ever coming back and since her whole world was wrapped around ONE best friend, she has to cope with that empty slot in her life. Unlike other books where something happens to a friendship between two people, where one is more dependent on the other, this didn't feel obsessive. It probably wasn't the healthiest thing, but Emily definitely saw more improvement quicker than others. She makes new friends. She grows. Most importantly, Sloane even helps her adjust by leaving her with a summer bucket list.

I love bucket lists. I love lists. I love adventure. These three things shape Emily's journey through the book. And this is where I give my biggest thank you to Morgan Matson. It encouraged me to accomplish things in MY summer, the summer where I had to be less dependent on my own surroundings. I wasn't losing a best friend (well, not really), but I was losing 18 years of familiarity since I was leaving for school in August.

I made time to hangout with people more.
This might sound so silly to others, but me actually making plans with people takes a lot. I usually wait for others to say something and a lot of times this summer, that's what happened. But I also initiated. And I bonded with people I cared about, something I won't ever regret. 

I traveled.
As ya'll know, I went to Nicaragua. That place transformed me and I spent a week of my life pouring love out into others. I tried new things on that trip and became more flexible than I ever was before. 

I skydived.
Yesterday I did something that's always been on my bucket list: SKYDIVING. I turned 18 two weeks ago and knew that I wanted to give a birthday gift to myself. The jump was incredible. I did get sick once the parachute opened, but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything else. 

I said goodbye.
Through the whole book, Emily was trying to figure out where Sloane went. But I personally believe that by crossing off each item her best friend gave her, Emily was also saying goodbye. I haven't left yet (I leave tomorrow night and will be saying most of my goodbyes by the time this is posted today), but I have said goodbye to friends already. And those lovely Nicaraguans. I hate goodbyes, but you know what? It's healthy. 

And while the main point of this is to say how much Morgan Matson impacted me with her latest book, a big part of why I loved SYBG was that cliche saying of "being in love with love." I loved loving this book. I loved the summery feel. While I've had past issues with Sarah Dessen books for making me grumble that it was NOT real life and it ruins reality, I didn't feel the same way with SYBG. I wished my summers were like that, sure, but it also pushed me to achieve it too. I won't ever go skinny dipping (I promise, Mom, I have no desire), but I think it's exciting to try other new things. Mostly, it's actually a lot of fun to watch (in this case, read) about others doing new things. Sometimes it's great to live vicariously through others (I'm looking at you BEA attendees). And sometimes you need an author to challenge you to take a hold of your summer. 

So thank you, Morgan Matson. 


  1. Lovely post, Summer. SYBG and Open Road Summer were definitely the summer books for me. And, *sniff*, I feel you on the saying goodbye level. It's been strange being at college and 8 hours away from my family and most of my friends. SYBG was definitely a good book for us both to have this summer.

  2. This is a wonderful post, Summer! I love that Since You've Been Gone was the kind of read that inspired you, encouraged you, challenged you to do things. And you've really accomplished a lot of amazing stuff! (Seriously, my sister will be so jealous when she learns that you've skydived. I know I am.) Thanks for sharing this with us, and good luck with college! :)

  3. Aw, Summer, I'm so glad that this book spoke to you the way it did! I experienced that pivotal summer between high school and college ages ago, but I'm choosing to live vicariously through you now. :) I've never sky-dived and I've never left the country, so already you're way ahead of me on the bucket list. I'd be jealous if I wasn't so happy for you, lol. Good luck in college,'re going to knock 'em dead! =)

  4. Aww... this post is so sweet. I'm really glad the book inspired you like that. I've been looking for some new contemporary authors to try, so maybe I should read SYBG :)

  5. This is just lovely! It's so great when books can have that kind of impact on your life. You've had quite an amazing summer- thanks for sharing your experiences with us :)

  6. Great post, great list and great summer! I know what you mean; it's hard to make plans, especially when it's so much easier not to. And yay for travel!

  7. This is such a sweet post - and I say that just having read your last one about your trip to Nicaragua. I'm so glad this book affected you so much! It's strange how big an impact a piece of fiction can have on your life if you read it at the right time. I hope you feel satisfied that you squeezed everything you could out of summer and are now getting accustomed to college life. :)

  8. This is such a beautiful post, and thank you for sharing your thoughts on how Morgan's book touched you in such a personal way! Books that have this type of impact are truly my favourites, and I just adore how the same story can have such a different impact on each reader.

    You are truly at the beginning of one of the most amazing journeys of your life! Even though I didn't go away to college (I went to university in my hometown and therefore stayed at home) post secondary education is so different from high school in the best possible way. I hope that you embrace each and every new experience and moment and (hopefully!) will have time to post an update now and then =)

    Good luck!