Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Blog Tour: Save the Date by Morgan Matson - Review and Author Q&A

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Publishing Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 432
Young Adult Contemporary

The Premise from the Publisher: "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. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect. 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" (SS).

My overall thoughts and review: If there's one book that I always recommend without fail in YA.. it is Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson. It was the first book that I read by Matson and the first book that has made me absolutely fall in love with her writing. When I learned another book was coming out by her, I actually squealed. This time, for this book, the setting is a wedding and it also tackles the anxieties of senior year, graduation, and deciding which post-secondary school to choose afterwards. Similar to the other books Matson has written, there is an aspect of romance, but the emphasis lies primarily on friendship and family. I really like this because it feels more authentic, and also makes the character more likable and down-to-earth. I really liked the idea of a big family coming together for a wedding, but also they've had a comic strip loosely based off them that they were celebrating the end of. Charlie, our protagonist, wants this weekend to be absolutely perfect for her sister, Linnie. She is so excited to see her brothers J.J. and Danny again, and to have everyone in the same place. Obviously what you think could go wrong goes wrong for a wedding, and even more side stuff that is out of their control (like two evil neighbors causing grief, a dog that is on loan and barking non-stop, and more). On top of that, her estranged brother, Mike, who distanced himself from the family, shows up and brings Charlie's crush, Jesse, as a plus one. It all seems to be a super stressful moment for the Grant family, but they are able to come together and make the most of certain circumstances. I loved that it focused on strained family relationships and how to work through those, that isn't addressed often and if it is, I find it is used as a plot device, rather than showing how to work through strained family relationships. The book also touched on love relationships and not settling for something just because it's there, but also what happens when we see those we like through rose-tinted glasses only. So many themes were included in the book, and overall, it was just a feel-good sweet and funny contemporary novel. I loved it a lot and I especially loved the little comic strip drawings that were included as well. If you loved Matson's other books, this one will not disappoint!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository

Author Question and Answer
1. What was your favorite scene to write in the book and why?
I feel I can’t share my favorite scene in the book without spoilers, since it takes place toward the end! But there was one scene I absolutely loved to write, and that was the Capture the Flag scene. I loved any scene that was all the Grant siblings together, with all their banter and inside jokes.  And that scene was just that vibe, but turned way up.  It reminded me a little of writing one of my favorite scenes in The Unexpected Everything, the scavenger hunt scene. The Capture the Flag scene was such a blast to write – so much so that the early versions of it were way too long – but I just wanted to keep hanging out with these characters!
2. What was the inspiration for Save the Date?
The original idea came from a number of things.  I was thinking about writing a book that didn’t take place over a whole summer, as the last three of my books have – but over a shorter time period.  I wanted to write a book that didn’t end with a kiss, as a number of my other books have done, but began with one. I wanted to write a book about a big family. And finally, I was inspired by the newspaper comics I’d grown up reading, like FoxTrot and For Better or For Worse.  All these things coming together helped form the initial idea for Save the Date.
3. What message do you hope your readers take away from the book?
I feel like one of the biggest messages is about learning to let go of things – that you can’t move into the future if you’re clinging tightly to the past.  But in addition, letting go of views of people that might not actually be true.  Whether this is an idealized version of your family history, or of a person – or maybe you’ve just judged someone wrong, and too quickly.  I feel like so many of the lessons that Charlie learns in this book are about rethinking and re-examining views of people and things that might not be accurate.
4. What are your working on Post-Save The Date? 
I’m working on something new, and I’m so excited about it…but I’m not quite ready to share details about it just yet.  It’s going to be a bit of a departure for me, which is scary, but also a really great challenge. 
5. I love that you always have a dog in your stories as a dog lover myself. This is a silly question, but can you share a cute and funny tidbit about your dog? 
Not a silly question at all! Ever since I got my dog, Murphy, dogs have been playing a more and more central role in my books – because I have so much inspiration right there in front of me! I put a lot of Murph’s personality into Waffles the dog in Save the Date. Like Waffles, Murph has a total poker face. He never lets you know what he’s thinking – until his tale starts wagging! 
Thank you so much, Morgan, for stopping by and answering these questions! I look forward to seeing your next project with much excitement! <3 

Disclaimer: An advanced e-reader's copy of the book was provided by Simon and Schuster Canada for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own.

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