Save the Date by Morgan Matson

save the date morgan matson book coverGenres: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 432
Published: June 5, 2018 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover

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Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo. Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractedly cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

Morgan Matson is one of my favorite authors because each of her books so far have resonated with me in extremely personal ways. But Save the Date just… didn’t. That’s not to say that it’s not a great book, because it IS.

Save the Date is extremely well-written, funny, and full of heartfelt moments, but, for me, it lacked the personal connection that I have felt with every single one of her other books.

Save the Date just wasn’t really for me, I guess? I wish I could gush about this book as much as I did for her previous books! I think that maybe, in many ways, her other books, especially Second Chance Summer, had protagonists who were dealing with painful things that I, too, have dealt with. I was expecting to feel that same connection with this book, but Save the Date is extremely light and funny, and while there’s a tinge of sadness at her family’s changing dynamics, it’s not quite sad.

I didn’t realize how many expectations I had projected onto this book until I was near the end and wondering why I was having trouble sticking with the plot and finishing it. I think I read this book at the wrong moment for me to really be able to enjoy it. I can’t say whether this book was just a flop for me or if I was just really in the mood for something heavier. Either way, this book just didn’t work for me.

Part of this was because I couldn’t relate to Charlie’s way of thinking about her family, especially the way she idolized them, and I couldn’t wrap my mind around her stubborn ignorance when it came to seeing things the way they were instead of through rose-colored glasses.

I loved how Charlie develops as the story goes on and begins to make the right choices for herself instead of trying to preserve a fairytale version of reality. Save the Date really captures what it’s like to be sheltered as a teen and to suddenly be forced to acknowledge the less pretty reality that people are flawed, even and especially the adults you look up to. The character growth Charlie experiences and her coming of age journey is the main aspect of this book that really resonated with me.

I will always love Matson’s writing, and of course I’ll still read every new book she releases, even though this one didn’t quite hit the mark for me.

ALL IN ALL? Save the Date is laugh-out-loud hilarious, full of beautiful (and painfully awkward) family scenes, and a perfect book for when you’re looking for a light-hearted, fun read. 

Rating: ★★★

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