Review of Second Chance Summer

Second Chance Summer Second Chance Summer
by Sarah Kapit
Intermediate, Middle School    Holt    240 pp.
5/23    9781250860903    $17.99
e-book ed.  9781250860897    $10.99

Classmates Chloe and Maddie, both twelve, used to be best friends. Now they decidedly aren’t, and they’re dismayed to find themselves in the same bunk at a drama camp. Scenes of the summer (and a production of Wicked) alternate with flashbacks to the previous school year (and The Music Man), gradually revealing the embarrassing secrets each has about the other and the incident that caused the rift. The dynamic between Chloe, a professional child actor (but, lately, not child star), and Maddie, a self-described “chubby Jewish girl with thick glasses and a tendency to fall over at the worst possible moments” (she has dyspraxia), has settled into patterns that leave both feeling frustrated. They’re each figuring things out about themselves, and what seems a simple case of an unbalanced friendship reveals itself to be more complex as the two eventually speak honestly about issues that have long festered between them. The book doesn’t reach for tidy resolutions, but there’s lighthearted fun to be had along the way, including some creativity with golem stories in a screenwriting elective and (spoiler alert) a sweet queer romantic subplot for one of the girls.

Pubissue-From the May/June 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, associate editor of The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in writing for children from Simmons University. She has served on the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and Sydney Taylor Book Award committees, and is serving on the 2025 Walter Dean Myers Award committee.

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