on June 5, 2018
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.
Morgan Matson and I have a strange, rather tumultuous relationship. I loved and adored Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, and Second Chance Summer. But I DNFd Since You’ve Been Gone because it just wasn’t sticking to my ribs like I needed in that moment. I preordered Save the Date because Morgan Matson is, along with Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick, one of those authors you just buy automatically when they drop a new single, though in this case “single” means “Summer romantic comedy book thing.”
Unfortunately, it fell a little flat for me this year, much to my dismay.
How I’d Describe This Book to a Friend
We have all read or watched a variation on this plot, over and over. Whether it was Father of the Bride, My Best Friend’s Wedding or Something Borrowed, we all know this trope because we’ve run it into the ground. Big family comes together to celebrate a child’s wedding, shenanigans happen, hilarity ensues. Hell, it’s in the pilot for The Brady Bunch – this isn’t new.
If I had to guess, I’d say part of the reason this book just didn’t do it for me is because I don’t have a big, close-knit family. I have a dad who worked a ton to provide for his wife and kids so I hardly saw him, a mom who was just perpetually tired from dealing with life in general, and one sister who is nearly 10 years my junior. So while I could clearly see that certain parts of this book were touching and all that jazz, it just didn’t hit me with any sort of “Frozen Anna and Elsa sisters 4eva omg” vibe.
Add that to the fact that this is generally a fairly formulaic book – the family comes together in the Ancestral Home™ to celebrate Linnie’s wedding day. Something goes wrong. Charlie fixes it with the help of someone (her brother’s girlfriend, the cute wedding planner assistant boy, her own sheer force of will). Everyone breathes a collected sigh of relief. And then, uh oh, more shenanigans! I know there is a comic strip based on this family’s fictional circumstances, but it’s like The Family Circus came to life and started barfing up rainbows in the living room.
There are a couple of fairly strong B-storylines, mostly including relationships gone awry, but they are overshadowed by the Hilarity Of The Wedding™ – this book could have been titled Murphy’s Law: Wedding Edition and nothing would have changed. Charlie is fairly one-dimensional, focused solely on her family and them not changing ever ever ever – but it’s OK, because most of her family is equally static. JJ exists just to be the comic relief, her newly-minted brother in law Rodney exists just to be the voice of reason – they’re all pretty pigeonholed into their rolls. Don’t get me wrong – it works, but that doesn’t lead to many surprises.
The Bottom Line
If you have a big ol’ honkin’ family and your blunder years have a fair bit of nostalgic hold over you, I’d pick this one up. But if you are like me, fairly “eh” about weddings in general and don’t have a giant close-knit, hilarious family, maybe give this one a skip and pick up a Jenn Bennett book instead, or any of Matson’s other books. It’s not that this is a bad book, per se – more like it’s over 400 pages of wacky shenanigans and we could cut out 100 pages and the plot would not be affected in the slightest. Normally not a big deal, but by page 300 I was pretty over it.
You know what? Just go pay $2.99 to rent Father of the Bride on Amazon. It’s faster, cheaper and better overall. Sorry, Morgan. It’s not you, it’s me and weddings.