on June 5, 2018
Source: Publisher, Edelweiss
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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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. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.
The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.
There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.
There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.
Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.
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.
I’m still struggling a little bit with how I feel about this book. There’s no doubt that I absolutely love Morgan Matson’s books (I’ve read every single one that she’s published under this name) but I didn’t really connect with this one as much as I have her previous ones. Save the Date is undoubtedly funny and entertaining but because of all the chaos in the book, I couldn’t really relate to the characters, which is a shame considering it is written to be a heartwarming family story.
My main issue with the book was that I found the main character, Charlie, to be mildly annoying. I don’t have anything against annoying or dislikeable characters, but I do find it more difficult to connect with the story when this is the case. I think it’s also a different issue when characters are intentionally annoying, as opposed to unintentionally as is the case with Charlie in this novel. Charlie is a 17 year old high school graduate who finds herself trying to placate everyone as her older sister, Linnea’s, wedding spirals out of control. Being the youngest of 5 children, she’s missed having her older siblings around and is trying to do everything to make sure that Linnea has the best wedding possible, but also that they get to spend quality family time together. By all counts, Charlie is a caring, sweet and sentimental young lady but I found her efforts to be a bit selfish and standoffish and couldn’t connect with her at all. It wasn’t until her family members were slowly introduced that I got into the story a bit more. There was some character development at the end but it felt slightly rushed and pretty ordinary.
The interactions between Charlie and her family was absolute gold. It was entertaining and lighthearted. I particularly enjoyed that they were all very different people and characters but they seemed entirely realistic and relatable. It was also interesting to read about a family where the siblings were mostly in their mid- to late-20s, and I thought it provided a very different family dynamic to other big families that I’ve read about in YA (but if you’re interested in big families with younger siblings, I’d really really recommend My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick). There was also a bit of a romance/love triangle in the novel but it’s kind of not even worth mentioning since romance was not a main theme of the book.
The plot of the book itself was simple but hilarious. It centres on Linnea’s wedding and all the disasters that could come with holding a wedding. In fact, I’m pretty sure that every disaster imaginable was embedded into the book, including many more funny ones that I would have never imagined. I absolutely loved the concept behind the novel but did have some trouble with the pacing. I thought that the book was quite long given what the plot was actually about. The first quarter of the novel dragged on a bit as we were slowly being introduced to each sibling and other side characters. There was a lot of build up, but it wasn’t until just before the wedding that I was hooked. I also found the timeline of the book a bit hard to follow. The entire novel is set over about 2.5 days but it was hard to keep track of the timeline because so much was happening. The Friday in the book, in particular, felt like 2 or 3 days itself.
However, I really enjoyed the writing and I love how fast paced Morgan Matson’s books always are. They always have a summery vibe to them that make it easy to breeze through them, though I have to admit that I was missing the summer in this one a bit compared to her previous books. I particularly enjoyed the comic strips throughout the book, as Charlie’s mother is a prolific comic artist and it’s a storyline that is prominently featured in the book. I would’ve liked a bit more focus on this storyline, compared to all the chaos of the wedding, but I still really enjoyed the novel overall.
Save the Date wasn’t my favourite Morgan Matson book (Second Chance Summer still has that title) but I still enjoyed it and thought it was a quick and funny read. I liked nearly all of the characters and what they brought to the story, but the main character got on my nerves a little bit. If you’re looking for a fast paced and entertaining contemporary read, I’d definitely recommend it.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thank you to Simon and Schuster for providing a review copy of the book.