Taylor’s family is always busy so there’s not much time to spend bonding, but they get along even if they aren’t close. Her father’s diagnosis changes all that and Taylor finds herself going to her family’s cottage in the Poconos for one last summer together. Going back means facing the people she left behind, her former best friend, her ex-boyfriend. It also means coming to terms with the realization that this really is her family’s last summer together.
I knew going in that there was no way this book wasn’t going to break my heart. With the subject matter and it being Morgan Matson, how could it not? And I was right. Couldn’t put it down, up until 1am so I could finish it while bawling my eyes out.
Taylor, the main character, grew so much throughout the book. She started the book as someone who always ran away from her problems but this time, she couldn’t. She started off a little selfish and insecure, and she tended to keep her emotions bottled up and push people away, but by the end she learned so much about relying on others and on herself. And the growth wasn’t limited to just Taylor. The whole book was in her POV but we still saw growth in her siblings.
The relationships and the development of them in the book were fantastic. Taylor, her brother Warren, and sister Gelsey barely talked at the beginning, they never spent time together, but slowly they started seeing each other differently. Taylor and her former best friend Lucy had to forgive each other for events that happened five years ago and get to know each other again. Taylor and her ex-boyfriend Henry had a lot of awkward run-ins that added some humour as they tried to decide if being friends was a good idea, even though there were obviously still feelings between them.
The best relationship though, was that between Taylor and her father. It was amazing. It was touching. It was painful. She was learning all these new things about her father, favourite movies, music, childhood stories, that they never had time to share before and were doing before it was too late.
I thought the decline of Taylor’s father’s health was handled sensitively and realistically. There were good days and bad days and slowly the bad days started to outnumber the good ones. The reality was setting in and it was causing tension. A family member would snap at another then almost immediately apologize. It was so hard to read.
I was afraid that with the book being set during one summer and it being over 400 pages, it might feel long. But it didn’t. I flew through it, I didn’t want to put it down, even though I didn’t want it to end because I was sure I knew how it was going to turn out, and I wasn’t ready for it.