Pub. Date: June 5, 2018
Source: Finished hardback via publisher (Thank you, Simon Teen!)
Summary: 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.
Genre: Contemporary, YA
As far as bloggers go, I’m fairly new to YA. I really only started getting back into the genre once I began this blog 7 years ago, and even then my YA picks were sporadic and limited to those authors I had already known. So I missed out on a ton of authors and books the rest of the community adores. One of those authors? Morgan Matson. I can’t begin to count to number of tweets, reviews, posts I’ve seen praising her and her work – but it wasn’t until last week that I finally sat down with one of her novels to discover for myself just how fantastic she is. Coincidentally, I included Save the Date in my list of the June releases I can’t wait to read. I don’t think I have ever received a book in the mail and read it the same week. That alone should tell you all you need to know about my feelings for this one!
Charlie’s big, boisterous family is her rock, her grounding place. The youngest of five children, she’s now the last one left in the nest so to speak, her other siblings have all grown up, some of them moving on the other side of the country. But this weekend? This weekend will be magical. Charlie’s sister Linnie is getting married and the Grants will be together again for one last time in their childhood home before it’s official sold.
Despite Charlie’s utter delight as the siblings begin to make their way back through the door, the wedding is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. The wedding planner has been charged with embezzlement, a dry cleaning mix-up leaves the groom with a purple (and too small) tux, there’s the house alarm on the fritz that won’t stop going off, the wedding band can’t play anything other than Journey covers.. This was supposed to be the perfect weekend, one last chance to make memories before moving out of the house for good. What else could possibly go wrong? (As it turn out, everything).
I wish someone would have forced me to read one of Morgan’s books earlier! Where has she been all my life?? Although the Grants (and the wedding drama) were totally over the top, Save the Date was so much fun! The sibling dynamic and the banter between them (even estranged Mike) was great. They loved each other fiercely, but they also knew exactly where to strike for maximum pain. They have years of inside jokes and made-up games that, unfortunately, an outsider could never hope to keep up with – specifically Brooke, Danny’s surprise plus date for the wedding. My heart went out to her: no one knew Danny was bringing a girlfriend and they instantly decided they didn’t like her. She quickly caught on to the fact that her presence was neither known nor wanted, and she was basically a third wheel the entire time (when she wasn’t outright ignored or left to fend for herself). It wasn’t until Charlie was desperate that she had her big moment where her feelings changed, but by then, it was too late.
There is a touch of romance here, but it takes more of a backseat to the Grant family, and I was completely okay with that! Charlie had a massive crush on Jesse, Mike’s best friend, for years. And finally, during Christmas break, Jesse sees her as more than Mike’s little sister. Then there’s the new wedding planner’s assistant, Bill. Though it seems to set up a love triangle, this story line seems added on as an after thought (or possibly setting up a future book??).
By far my favorite part was the comics. Charlie’s mother is the creator of Grant Central Station, a newspaper comic that is finally ending after a 25-year run. The wedding will coincide with the final comic in the Sunday paper. While the comic Grants were fictional, their antics were very much based in fact – for better or worse. Also, on the inside of the dust jacket there’s a large illustration of the fictional Grants that I love and I wish it was a real comic strip!
While I felt the story began to drag a bit toward the end – this book is nearly 400 pages – I loved every moment spent with the Grants. The banter is great, the characters are fantastic, and the added bonus of the comic strip was perfect. Save the Date is my very first Morgan Matson novel…but it definitely won’t be the last!