Do I think this will be one of my favorite contemporaries of the year? I do!
In Morgan Matson’s latest YA contemporary Save the Date, a college-bound teenage girl prepares for her older sister’s wedding. Even though the disaster after disaster is thrown her way, she couldn’t be more excited to reunite with her siblings again, especially since the weekly comic depicting her family’s life is coming to a close.
I definitely had high expectations, but some reservations coming into Save the Date. I love Morgan Matson’s books and really enjoyed her last release, The Unexpected Everything. However, I was hearing mixed reviews for Save the Date which made me unsure of how I would enjoy it. While this book wasn’t quite what I expected, I overall enjoyed the story and its message.
One of the strongest aspects of this book is its focus on family. Charlie and her siblings were extremely close growing up and now with Charlie moving onto college and her parents selling their childhood home, it seems like everyone is on a different page. Additionally, there has been a major fallout with one of the siblings at the beginning of this book which threatens to ruin the wedding. I really liked how Matson explored how families change when children grow older and how Charlie might have projected her ideas of the perfect family onto her own.
Another aspect that I really enjoyed was the character growth in Charlie. Like with her family, Charlie often projects what she wants people to be over who they truly are or idolizes people who maybe shouldn’t be idolized. This book is truly a coming of age story where Charlie sheds those perceptions to look at the world more realistically. I think a lot of people who are graduating high school and moving on from childhood crushes and older sibling will really relate to her story.
On the other hand, there were a few aspects of this book that I think will throw off some readers. Based on Matson’s past two releases and the blurb on this book, I expected the romance to be a little more emphasized in this book than it panned out. However, this book truly focuses on family and any mention of a love interest in the book really only seems included to reinforce the theme. While the lack of romance surprised me in this book, I still really enjoyed other aspects of this book. However, I can understand why some readers may feel misled by the book’s synopsis.
Another part of this book that may irritate some readers is the structure and some plot points in the book. This book only takes place over the weekend, so it includes a lot of minute-by-minute details that may disinterest some readers. Like with The Unexpected Everything, some readers may feel some scenes could have been edited out. While I didn’t necessarily have a problem with this in The Unexpected Everything, I did find myself glossing over a few details and skipping the bonus scenes at the end of the book. Additionally, some aspects of this plot resemble frequently used wedding mishaps from movies which some readers may find unoriginal and overdone.
While there were some downsides to Save the Date and I wouldn’t consider it my favorite Matson book, it was an overall enjoyable read. I think if you go in under the impression that it is more focused on family than friendships or romances like Matson’s two releases before this book that this book will be more enjoyable. I give Save the Date four out of five stars.