Don’t judge, but I’m going to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in this review.
…I rate cancer books (or coma/insert-terminal-or-near-death illness here) according to its weepy factor.
‘What’s the weepy factor?’ You may ask. And that, my fellow book-loving minions, is an excellent question.
See, the thing is that I don’t read Cancer Books for the literary value. I read them because I want a good cry; because I want to read about how awesome my life is, particularly in comparison to a dying teenager’s. They make me feel good about myself–they make me appreciate what I have. They help me put the suck in my life into perspective.
And although Second Chance Summer did that in some parts, I felt as though the author was lightening it too much by adding all the sweet stuff about guys and best friends and Gesley and summer jobs. When readers know exactly what’s going to happen at the end (from the first chapter onwards, it’s obvious and inevitable that Taylor’s father is going to die, so that’s not exactly a spoiler), it’s important that the author replaces what would have been anticipation and climax in a normal novel with powerful, emotional descriptions, because you need to make up for the lost tension as your story reaches its conclusion.
I don’t think Second Chance Summer quite managed that.
In terms of weepy factor, I didn’t come remotely close to crying, unlike in The Fault in our Stars, when I sobbed my heart out, or Before I Die, which ended with me sitting on the bed, hot tears rolling down my cheeks, soaking through the pages of the already-tattered library copy. I gave both of these books five stars.
In contrast, however, My Sister’s Keeper made me continuously headdesk, and Kate was such an emotionally void character that I never felt anything towards her anyway. The ending was such a copout that I actually groaned out loud and shoved the paperback at the back of my bookshelf, where it remained, untouched, until my grandma decided to borrow it. (I might add that my grandma cried after reading it, which was awkward for me to hear. So I might have been missing out on something, but I hated that book.)
Sorry, I have to divide this review into two parts because I don’t want it too big. Keep reading in my next post!