From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Love Game and Playing for Keeps is a story of hope and the beauty of getting a second chance at the kind of love that comes once in a lifetime…
“You don’t get a love like ours and get to leave it behind.”
Kia James was never meant to return to her hometown of Harlan Grove, Alabama… But she has.
And Reese Pembleton was definitely not supposed to still be in love with her the way she is him… But he is.
Last summer was the summer to end all summers. It was the summer they both fell in too deep to get out, and try as she might, Kia can’t deny that whatever was there between them a year ago is still there. If she’s honest with herself, there’s so much more there than there ever was, but the way her dad walked out six years ago has shattered her belief of that fairytale love every girl craves.
Reese isn’t giving up so easily. His biggest mistake was not chasing after Kia the way he wanted to when she upped and left him without a word. Despite what she says, he knows her better than anyone, and he knows she still wants him the way he wants her. And this time, nothing will stop him from getting – and keeping – his girl.
But nothing is that easy. When Kia’s dad arrives back in town, family secrets come tumbling out she never realized existed. Everything her mom has ever told her about the reason he left is a lie – but how can she trust the man who, by his own admission, didn’t fight for her as hard as he could have?
Emma Hart never fails to make me swoon with her stories.
In Second Chance Summer, we have Kia, a teenager who wants a normal and quiet life in New York. She was trying to get away from everything, starting from her alcoholic mother up to her absent father. Then one summer, she decided to go back to Harlan Grove, and that’s when everything gets complicated once again, especially with having Reese, her ex-fling, around. Will Kia give her past a second chance? From being the small town girl and then growing up in New York, I’m sure it was hard for Kia to adjust without her parents guiding her. For me, she was a relatable character. She’s a 19-year old girl figuring out what she wants to do in life. I was surprised when she decided to go back to Harlan Grove, but then I realized that there is still no place like home. She missed that familiar feeling of tranquility and safety. She missed being home. Seeing her mother drown herself with alcohol made me feel very sad for Kia, because she was the one taking care of her instead of the other way around.
It was nice to see Kia being vulnerable and loosening up a little. When she first came home, she immediately thought that nothing good will ever happen to her and seeing Reese did not help too. But I loved the undeniable attraction and chemistry between the main protagonists. We can clearly see that Kia was trying her best not to fall for him again, but the thing between them is just so easy and so natural, that I can’t help but root for them from the very beginning. (Plus, Reese was hot too, I promise.)
I also loved the fact that the author also focused on some other characters in some parts of the story, like Luce and Adam. Having an idea of what they are like also made me understand Kia and Reese’s personalities and relationships. They’re all outgoing and fun to be with, so there were no dull moments when these four are together. I am also glad to see them rekindle the friendship that they had the previous summer.
Reese never failed to make me smile and blush while reading this. He knows the right words to say and the right things to do. He knew what he wanted from Kia from the very beginning and he did not stop until he got what he wanted. Kia, on the other hand, knew what she wanted but she never admitted it to herself. She just kept on fighting her feelings and controlling her emotions and it was just so frustrating at times. One moment you think that they’re going to be together, and then the next, she’ll second guess herself again. I understand that she thinks Reese will leave because that’s what her parents did, but seeing all of his effort should be enough proof. Although one thing that I did like about her is that even though there are tons of problems that she has to face, she stayed strong and she stood up for herself.
Also, it was fun reading about the snippets of flashbacks that Hart squeezed in. I loved all of them!!! The moment when Kia realized how strongly she felt about Reese, and her reluctance – all the rawness made me turn every page of this book.
This is a story that makes us realize the importance of giving someone a second chance, even if it is such a risky move. Try it again one more time, and you’ll see that it REALLY IS SWEETER the second time around.