Friday, 4 August 2017

Author Spotlight | Morgan Matson

I thought it might be interesting to do something new today and talk about an author I love in an Author Spotlight post. This has been something I wanted to do for a while but I am so busy trying out new authors that there are very few whose work I have read completely. I'm not entirely sure the best way to do this but I thought I would give a brief synopsis of her published works, give you my thoughts on them, including my favourite to least favourite, and maybe recommend the best order to read them.

Morgan Matson currently has four published works - Amy & Rodger's Epic Detour, Second Chance Summer, Since You've Been Gone and The Unexpected Everything - with another six novels under the pen name Katie Finn, which I won't be discussing this time but maybe in future when I've actually read them. She also has one upcoming book, due for publication in June 2018, called Save The Date. She writes YA contemporary romance novels, all set during Summer and dealing with some more serious topics amongst the summer fun.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicAmy & Rodger's Epic Detour is Morgan Matson's first book under that name and follows two teenagers as they roadtrip across America. Amy has recently lost her father in a car accident and her family is now moving across the country. Due to the circumstances surrounding her father's death, Amy is not comfortable driving and so her mother enlists the help of family friend Rodger to drive Amy to her new home.
This is a very fun summer roadtrip story but also deals with grief and moving on after losing someone so close to you. As has become quite common in Morgan Matson's books, there are playlists, scrapbook entries and various other cool little additions to the story, which I loved. This is the one of her books that I remember the least about, perhaps as it was the first I read or it may just be the least memorable to me. I really enjoyed this book but I didn't love it. For me, the story fell a bit flat and I didn't connect well with the characters. I would recommend if you like...roadtrips, music, cute bookish boys, books dealing with grief.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicSecond Chance Summer is Morgan Matson's second book. This book is definitely her most emotional so far. It follows a girl whose family is returning to their lake house for one final summer together as her father is dying. As well as her family situation, returning to the lake house is further complicated by her former best friend and first boyfriend.
This book completely destroyed me so come prepared to sob your heart out when reading this. It was a beautifully written, heart-warming story about facing the loss of a loved one and making up for wasted time. However, there is also a lot of summer adventures and beach fun so it's not all terribly sad. This book contains some really great characters and one of the most adorable romances. Taylor, the main character, was so easy to relate to and I connected with her straight away. I would recommend if you like...books that will rip your heart out and stomp on it repeatedly, small towns, beach fun, a strong family focus.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicSince You've Been Gone is the book that seems to have brought Morgan Matson the popularity she has today. This follows a girl whose best friend leaves unexpectedly at the beginning of summer and leaves her a list of tasks to complete. With the aim of pushing her out of her comfort zone and becoming her own person, the tasks range from 'apple picking at night' to 'kiss a stranger' and take Emily on a true summer adventure.
This is by far her most fun book. We have no death in this one, at least that I can remember, just a whole lot of fun. I love lists so the to-do list was a great addition to the story and some of the tasks were great. This is the kind of book that makes you want to get out and enjoy your summer, make the most of the time you have and live your life to the fullest. It also features my favourite of Morgan Matson's characters. Emily. the main character, is such a relatable character and I absolutely loved seeing her grow as she ticked off the tasks on her list. There was also, of course, an adorable romance and more of the signature playlists included. I would recommend if you like...bucket lists, summer fun, a focus on friendship, adorable romance.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Unexpected Everything is Morgan Matson's most recent release. This follows a girl whose summer plans have been ruined following a scandal involving her politician father. No longer accepted to her internship, Andie finds herself walking dogs and sharing a house with her father who hasn't been around in years.
This is another very fun book but again has some more serious aspects, as Andie is still dealing with the loss of her mother. It also deals with the difficult relationship she has with her father, which was one of my favourite things in the book. I really loved the dog-walking as well, it was great fun and obviously introduced Andie to the adorable love interest. As Clark is a writer, excerpts of his books are included throughout the book, which I wasn't really a fan of to be honest. The rest of the book definitely made up for those small parts, though, so I would just skim over them. There was also a great emphasis on friendship, as is often the case in her books, which I really enjoyed. I would recommend if you like...dogs, father-daughter relationships, books dealing with grief, epic scavenger hunts, tight friendship groups.

There we have all four of Morgan Matson's published works. You can probably guess from my thoughts on each book how I would rank them but I'll do it anyway. From favourite to least favourite, and with the ratings I gave, we have:
1. Since You've Been Gone - ★★★★
2. Second Chance Summer - ★★★★
3. The Unexpected Everything - ★★★★
4. Amy & Rodger's Epic Detour - ★★★½

In terms of what order to read these books in, there is only one answer. If you want to get the most out of her books, read them in publication order. As all of them are predominantly set in the same town, there are a lot of cameo appearances and crossovers between the books. It's really fun to pick up on those little moments as your read through the books and an added bonus when your favourite character pops up.

I hope this has been helpful for those looking to pick up one of Morgan Matson's books but not sure where to start or what would be for them. Her books are definitely great to read in the summer and often stay with you long after you've reached the final page.

Sophie :)


  1. Great post! I love this idea. I've also read all of Morgan Matson's books. I loved them all except The Unexpected Everything. It was way too long without enough plot for my taste. How interesting, seeing the books listed out this way, I see that they all take place in the summer. Hmm.

    1. The Unexpected Everything was much longer than I would have expected that kind of 'slice of life' story with not a lot of plot to be. I enjoyed the fact that there wasn't much plot but I can see why it wouldn't be for everyone. Yes, Morgan Matson definitely likes to write about summer, I think her next book might also take place in the summer.