Morgan Matson is one of our favorite authors for YA contemporary books. Her books are perfect beach reads, that’s why we’re posting our thoughts on her books in August. Have you read Matson before? Let us know your favorite book in the comments.
1. The Unexpected Everything
Andie, the daughter of a U.S. Senator Connecticut, had her entire life planned out. She’d score an amazing internship and have a memorable summer with her friends before senior year. Too bad the universe had other plans. Her summer internship falls through and she has to take a job as a dog walker. To make matters worse, a political scandal threatens her relationship with her dad and upends her life. But when she meets Clark, one of her clients, she realizes that not everything needs a plan and that letting go can lead to the unexpected.
The Unexpected Everything is hands down one of our favorite Matson books! It has it all: amazing romance, witty banter, and relatable characters. She really knows how to seamlessly tie in a light-hearted summer romance with difficult family dynamics and complex friendships. Andie’s relationship with Clark was so adorable and we loved seeing them both grow as characters. Her friendships also feel extremely real for high school. She learns the tough lesson that while some friendships last, others end. Most of all, she learns the unexpected maybe be better than the original plan!
2. Save the Date
Charlie Grant can’t wait for all her siblings to be together at their family home in Connecticut. Her older sister Linny is getting married in the backyard, which means Danny, JJ and Mike will also be coming home. Charlie wants everything to be perfect, considering her parents are selling the family home after the wedding.
Only, nothing goes as planned. Mike refuses to talk to his parents after a falling out. The alarm system won’t stop going off. About a million people are expecting to stay in the house, including drunk bridesmaids and divorced relatives. To top it all off, an unexpected beagle named Waffles shows up and loves to howl around the house.
Save the Date is so funny! Seriously, we couldn’t stop laughing at the Grant family antics. Charlie was a relatable MC because she idolized her family and had to come to terms with the fact that they aren’t perfect. She grows up a lot and learns that even if things will never be the same, she’ll always have a support system. Plus, she challenges herself to go after what she wants….and maybe find love with an unexpected guy along the way.
3. Take Me Home Tonight
Kat and Stevie desperately need an adventure. Kat and Stevie head into New York City, lying to their parents that they are staying at their friend Teri’s house and not leaving suburban Connecticut. Since Stevie’s dad never cancelled the reservation at the fancy restaurant for her birthday dinner, the two girls expect to have an epic night. Except, nothing goes as planned as soon as they enter Grand Central Station. Stevie runs into her step sister, who needs a favor. That one action spirals into a crazy night of losing phones, having no money, getting completely lost and meeting some interesting characters along the way.
Like all of Matson’s YA books, we had so much fun reading Take Me Home Tonight. One thing that stood out to us right away was how different Kat and Stevie’s personalities are, even though they are besties. I think it helped their character growth for the two of them to have a disagreement and to get separated in the city. The night that consisted of a crazy amount of comedy of errors made the two friends even stronger in the end and we appreciated how much Matson put into their stories.
4. Since You’ve Been Gone
Emily Hughes doesn’t know what to do after her best friend Sloane disappeared. Then a letter from Sloane arrives in the mail with a summer to-do list for Emily. Emily is challenged to do things like kiss a stranger, go skinny-dipping and sleep under the stars. Emily would normally never do those things, but she’s desperate to feel close to Sloane and have something to this summer. Plus, she meets some interesting characters along the way.
Since You’ve Been Gone is about getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new. Emily gained a lot of confidence, even without Sloane by her side. We adored the adventure side of this book, especially because reading the dares is so much fun. Plus, Emily made some awesome friends, who seemed much more interesting than Sloane. Overall, this book will make you write your own list for the summer.
5. Second Chance Summer
Taylor Edwards never felt interesting and prefers to run away from conflict. Then when something unexpected happens, Taylor and her family spend the summer at a lake house that they haven’t been to in years. Now she has to face everyone she never thought she’d see again, including her former BFF and crush. But summer is for second chances, right?
Second Chance Summer is a real tearjerker. Seriously, if you want something light and fluffy, skip this one all together. It’s a great book, just make sure if you do read it, grab some tissues beforehand. It’s hard to describe without spoiling too much. However, Taylor really does have a great summer, except at the very end.
6. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour
Amy’s having the worst year of her life. Her mother has decided to upend their lives and move from Connecticut to California— and she needs Amy to drive their car across the country. Except Amy hasn’t driven a car since her father died last spring. When Roger, the son of a family friend, is roped into driving her across the country, the two embark on an epic road trip full of unexpected turns and heartfelt moments.
We admit, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour was one of the first Matson books we picked up a while back, so it’s been a while since we read it. We enjoyed it because, like all of Matson’s books, it had heart and compelling characters. Roger and Amy both had major baggage they were working through, but we enjoyed seeing them come into their own. Their romance was cute and sweet, but we remembered not being *too* invested in them as a couple. Overall, it was a solid story but it fell flat compared to Matson’s other phenomenal contemporaries!