I thought, when I first read the synopsis of this book, that I wasn’t all that interested in it. But then when I went back again, and realised that it covered sibling relationships and weddings, two of my favourite things, I thought maybe there was something here for me.
RivetedLit have an extended excerpt of Save the Date available for free on their website for another four days. I read it about a week and a half ago, and decided I was hooked – I needed to find out what happened next for Charlie, Linny, JJ, Mike, and Danny.
Unfortunately, Save the Date hadn’t yet been published in the UK, so I had to wait until publication day to find out how the rest of the story would go. My impatience was palpable, and I downloaded the full book onto my Kindle at about five past midnight on publication day, having preordered it in preparation.
From the author of Since You’ve Been Gone and The Unexpected Everything comes a dreamy story of summer romance and finding yourself, perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen
Charlie Grant tries to keep her life as normal as possible. Hanging out with her best friend, pining for Jesse Foster – who she’s loved since she was twelve – and generally flying under the radar as much as she can.
But sometimes normal is just another word for stuck, and this weekend that’s all going to change. Not only will everyone be back home for her sister’s wedding, but she’s also juggling:
– a rented dog that just won’t stop howling
– an unexpectedly hot wedding-coordinator’s nephew
– her favourite brother bringing home his HORRIBLE new girlfriend
– fear that her parents’ marriage is falling apart
– and the return to town of the boy she’s loved practically all her life…
Over the course of four days Charlie will learn there’s so much more to each member of her family than she imagined, even herself, and that maybe letting go of the things she’s been holding on tightest to can help her find what really keeps them together.
This book is great. I really loved it. There was so much going on, and a lot of it was slapstick. The wedding for which nothing went right (although there was a pretty good explanation for all the madcap ridiculousness), the cast of family and friends that everyone has experienced at a wedding (aunt and uncle who can’t stand the sight of each other, relative who’s cheap and mooching off anyone who can find, oddly mellow family friend whose room always smells … sweet), with added tensions created by Good Morning America rolling in, and a rented dog who’s both adorable and impossible (and called WAFFLES. OMG).
In classic Morgan Matson style, everything that can go wrong, does go wrong, but it’s really fun to read about. Although the whole book is generally light-hearted, Matson does a great job of helping us (and Charlie) to understand that as much as we may love and hero-worship our family, at the end of the day they’re still people, and have the same foibles and faults as anyone. Charlie’s hero-worship of her perfect family is gently dismantled over this wedding weekend, but she comes out of it with a much greater understanding of her parents and siblings as actual people, rather than caricatures.
For Charlie especially, it’s difficult for her to see that, because her mother, a graphic artist, has been depicting a fictionalised version of their family in national newspapers since before Charlie can remember. Looking back, she finds it hard to distinguish between what actually happened, and what was exaggerated or changed for the comic strip.
I love weddings, I love stories about sibling relationships, and I really like Morgan Matson, too. There were a few cameos from characters from The Unexpected Everything, which I read last year, as well, which were very enjoyable.
Overall, although this book won’t change my view of the world, it did do exactly what it set out to do, which was to give me a madcap, heartwarming, thoroughly enjoyable story of a wedding weekend, and a little growing up for Charlie, as she begins to understand that her parents and siblings are people in their own right, as well as being her family.
Thoroughly enjoyable, and highly recommended.