Book Review | Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Authour:
Morgan Matson
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
June 5th, 2018
Publisher:
Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Growing up one of my favourite newspaper comic strips was Lynn Johnston’s For Better or Worse. Similar to Grant Central Station it was also a comic strip where the characters who were based on the creator’s real-life family aged in real life. Even today the majority of comics still use “Comic-Book Time” instead of having time actually pass in real time. It’s unfortunate that Grant Central Station isn’t an actual comic strip seeing that based on the few comics included in the book, I would have loved to have seen more.

I mention this since one of the central elements of the plot in Morgan Matson’s Save the Date is the fact that Charlotte aka “Charlie” and the rest of the Grant family are characters in the mother’s comic strip. This is significant as one of the main conflicts within the Grant family concerns the mother drawing a real-life incident into her comic strip despite her promising not to. This leads to real-life consequences and one of the siblings being estranged from the Grant family. I’m glad this was not glossed over as I’ve always wondered how the people who have fictional characters based off of them truly feel about it. The conflict was handled in a way that felt authentic which I appreciated since this is a real issue creators need to consider when using “real life” in their work.

Other than the comic strip aspect of the book, I did enjoy the main storyline, which centers on Charlie coming to terms with the reality of her family and her life-changing. The fact that this occurs over the weekend of her older sister’s wedding adds a great deal of chaos and hijinks to the mix. Those who have been involved in planning a wedding know just how insane the process can become and how it brings out both the best and worst in all those involved. I could definitely relate to Charlie’s attempts to try to fix everything for her family in addition to her struggles to make a final decision when it came to college. That being said, my family is nowhere as large as Charlie’s even though they could probably match hers in terms of wackiness, hijinks, and drama.

Save the Date is probably my favourite Morgan Matson book thus far. I found it refreshing to have a YA contemporary novel where romance was only hinted at. Instead, the focus of Save the Date was on the Grant family dynamics and Charlie coming to terms with a major change. And while it was a hefty looking book, the pacing was splendidly done so that I flew through the pages quickly. An enjoyable read with a lively cast of characters, it feels at times like Save the Date was meant to be a movie or at least a TV show as you can vividly picture the story in your head. Pick this one up if enjoy a light, contemporary and entertaining YA read for the summer!

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

unexpectedAuthour:
Morgan Matson
Format:
ARC, 519 pages
Publication date:
June 2nd 2016
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
To be honest, I feel as if I’m one of the rare few that am not obsessed with SYBG that coupled with the length of The Unexpected Everything made me reluctant to pick it up. However, after reading a gushing review of The Unexpected Everything from Tiff at Mostly YA Lit I started reconsidering my decision to pick up the latest Morgan Matson book.

Andie is a girl who is used to being in control and planning out everything, however as the title hints, things don’t go according to her plans for the summer. Instead, in The Unexpected Everything she is forced to re-evaluate how she’s always lived her life which leads to numerous changes that “unexpectedly” cause her to realize who she truly is and what she’s always wanted.

What I adored in The Unexpected Everything is the portrayal of friendships, especially female friendships in this book. My favourite aspect of this novel were the scenes that featured Andie and her friends either hanging out or texting each other. And while there is some drama in the novel, I appreciated how it was handled in an authentic manner, even if it means no simple happy ending. Another thing I loved with regards to The Unexpected Everything is the father-daughter relationship which we don’t see that often in YA novels. The entire portrayal felt extremely true to life, as both are initially awkward around each other, and unclear as to what their roles are since Andie’s father has been mostly occupied with his work as a congressman. However, slowly they are able to reach a compromise and I appreciated how Andie’s father allowed her to negotiate with him as a way to continue to provide her with some freedom.

All that being said, I wasn’t too fond of the romance in The Unexpected Everything. Although, I will admit that Clark had his adorable moments and I did delight in seeing how he helped Andie slowly get out of her comfort zone. Also I’m always up for a good bromance, and loved that he and Tom (the boyfriend of one of Andie’s best friends) bonded over shared interests and the fact that Clark is one of Tom’s favourite authours.

Overall, The Unexpected Everything is a book that I highly recommend to anyone in need of an excellent summer read. In fact, it has left me wanting more from Morgan Matson. In fact, given how her story concluded, I would love a novel with Toby as the protagonist, as I would love for her to have her’ own happy ending and finally find the “cure” to her “curse”.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Authour:you've gone
Morgan Matson
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 448 pages
Publication date:
May 6th 2014
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
To be honest, I wasn’t going to pick up this book to read, but after hearing so several of my fellow book bloggers enjoy it I just had to check it out. Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone is at its heart a story about female friendship which is what I loved about it. I loved the friendship between Sloane and Emily because Sloane truly helped Emily to come out of her shell. As well their friendship reminded me of the relationship between my best friend in my first year of college and me. Like Sloane, my friend ended up disappearing halfway through the year and in the end I never heard from her again. I should mention that although Sloane has disappeared in the present story she does make a lot of appearances via flashbacks which always make sense when they occurred were always carried out in a smooth and clearly stated manner. It is through these flashbacks that we get a better understanding of their friendship and why it’s so important for Emily to find out where Sloane went.

Another aspect in Since You’ve Been Gone I adored was the significance of lists in the story. Firstly it is the list that Sloane leaves behind for Emily that spurs her to embark on a quest to complete all the items on the list in hopes that by doing so she will find Sloane again. This leads Emily to have numerous adventures, while discovering who she is outside of Sloane. The other thing is the numerous playlists throughout the book that Emily uses for when she goes running in addition to the playlists that her love interest, Frank listens to. I loved all the playlists spread throughout the book and I could not resist looking up some of the songs to compile into my own playlist to listen to as I read this book.

While there is a bit of romance in the book, it is more of a slow burning one as the love interest, Frank has a girlfriend at the start of the novel. This actually leads to the next point I want to make which was the only thing that I hated about this book was how quickly all of Emily’s new “friends” dropped her after she confessed to doing a certain thing. This frustrated me because she was so supportive of all the things they did, but when she made one mistake they just ditched her. Sadly this is left unresolved by the end of the book.

Still in spite of my one issue with the story I did enjoy this book, as the story of Sloane and Emily’s friendship truly resonated with me. Overall Since You’ve Been Gone was an enjoyable book, perfect for light summer reading.

If you like this book, you’ll love: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.