Save the Date by Morgan MatsonSave the Date by Morgan Matson

Save the Date

byMorgan Matson

Hardcover | June 5, 2018

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“The cinema-worthy rom-com of your summer reading dreams.” —Bustle

Father of the Bride meets Sixteen Candles in the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Morgan Matson.

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 was born in 1981 and grew up in New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles and obtained Theater/English degree. Following college graduation she moved back East to attend the New School, where she received her M.F.A in Writing for Children. Morgan's first book, Amy & Roger's E...
Title:Save the DateFormat:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.4 inPublished:June 5, 2018Publisher:Simon & Schuster Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1481404571

ISBN - 13:9781481404570


Rated 1 out of 5 by from Big no I never thought I wouldn't like a Morgan Matson book. Wow. So many issues with it. I don't really want to give this book much time on my brain anymore, it already overstayed its welcome, so I'm going to this fast. Characters: spoiled, rich, mega privileged white brats. I have zero patience for these characters now. I'm done with y'all. Plot: predictable, way too much. By the day of the wedding (two days after the book start) I could not care less about anything at all. I'm done with y'all. Pacing and Page Count: what's the point of a 400 page book that could've been 300, 350 tops? What's the point of characters from other books make a long ass cameo here? I'm done with y'all. Comic strip: wtf? Also did the mother white wash Rodney or whatever his name was or did I miss something? I wouldn't be surprised considering what she did to her own son and family. I'm very disappointed in this book, especially after having loved everything else I've read by this author. I got for review way before it came out and left it sitting for a year and, honestly, I should have left it longer.
Date published: 2019-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Contemporary I enjoyed reading this contemporary about family and growing up.
Date published: 2018-11-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Cute Story! This was a really cute story! I enjoyed the characters, some of them provided some real laugh out loud moments. The story could have benefitted from a little more editing as there were a few spots that dragged a little and likely could have been shortened.
Date published: 2018-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So adorable and sweet! This is another one of Morgan Matson's fantastic books that is perfect for this time of the year (summer/fall). It's very family orientated with a side of romance. I really enjoyed the family dynamic as the main character, Charlie, has quite a big family that are all coming home for her big sister's wedding. I find Morgan Matson's books easy to read, and get you captivated in the story from page 1. She also has a tendency to put her past character's in her books, but in a really subtle way so if you haven't read her books before this one than it's not confusing, but if you have than it's a nice nod to the fans of her books. I would definitely recommend her books if you're looking for a nice fun read based around family and weddings, and all the shenanigans that come with that.
Date published: 2018-09-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fluffy, Cute, and Fun to Read Save the Date was what I expected from Morgan Matson. I found it cute and adorable, especially the whole wedding aspect and the situation with "Waffles". Honestly this felt more like a rom-com than a young adult book. Save the Date focuses on family relationships and the complexity of it as each member goes through different phases of their life, letting go of the past and things they can't control, and growing up. There was so much happening to this family that it was a bit difficult to believe that all of it would end up coming to such a predictable ending. From the very beginning you can easily see where the story is heading so there was no real element of surprise. It was at times unrealistic and a bit farfetched. However, what redeemed some of the unrealistic scenarios were the characters. The characters in this story felt real and the drama between them was entertaining to say the least. They made the book interesting, amusing, and captivating. The character development in this book was so well done that I was astonished by Morgan Matson's capabilities. The plot was too predictable but the characters were cute and ended up making up for the mediocre plot. I also really liked the concept of the comic strips as well as the story behind it What sort-of surprised me was that this was not really a romance book. There were hints of it but it never really cemented. It was only about 10 pages of the whole book, and though I wish there was a bit more, I was content with how it was played out. In a way, by not making the romance take centre stage, I was able to learn more about Charlie's character and understand her behaviour in a better light. If the romance was more present I believe it would have ended up taking away Charlie's character development and the overall feel of the story. In the end, Save the Date is young adult contemporary novel that was an overall interesting book to read. I would recommend this book to those who feel like reading something that would make them feel a bit nostalgic or those who are heading to college or university. eARC was kindly provided by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Date published: 2018-08-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable "You don't get to freeze the picture when you want it." Save the Date follows Charlie, a teenage girl whose entire family is coming back home to celebrate her older sister's wedding. In this novel, everything seems to go wrong with the wedding, and Charlie's trying to deal with all of it whilst also dealing with the fact that her parents are selling her childhood home and that she has to decide which college to go to the following year. I had loved Since You've Been Gone, by Morgan Matson, and therefore had pretty high hopes for Save the Date. And honestly, for a little bit there, I was scared that they wouldn't be met. Thing is, the main character isn't likeable. She's quite selfish, and though she grows up within the story, the beginning was often frustrating to read because of her attitude. She was especially rude to one character in particular, who had done absolutely nothing wrong, and I just wanted Charlie to put herself in said character's shoes for even half a second. Still, I love reading about family dynamics, and this book sure delivered on that aspect. Family is at the centre of this novel, which I found refreshing, as most contemporaries I've read tended to focus more on the romance side of things. I'm an only child, so I can't tell you how realistic the sibling dynamics were, but I personally thought that they were quite fun to read about. All the siblings seemed wholly human, all with their flaws and qualities, and I enjoyed seeing how they acted towards each other. The romance in this book was also quite cute, even though it wasn't the main focus of the story. It was clear from the beginning who Charlie was going to end up with, and it was honestly for the best. Plus, the romance between Charlie's older sister and her fiancé/husband? Literally the cutest thing ever. Okay, so. I've heard that it's highly unrealistic for things to go as wrong as they did during the wedding, but it's fiction, so no matter how over-the-top it might have been, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought that the problems that happened didn't seem that unrealistic, and that the thing that linked them together actually made sense. Also, it was fun to see whether or not, and how, said problems would be dealt with. All in all, I quite enjoyed this book, though the second-hand embarrassment was a bit strong at times. I'm always looking for contemporaries about family dynamics, and this was a good one. Sure, it's not a five-star read, but it's still a book I enjoyed reading.
Date published: 2018-08-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Super entertaining! Not the best book from Morgan Matson in my opinion but still really good with some great family relantionships
Date published: 2018-08-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great I love this authour but prefer her other books over this one. Still such a good book that I enjoyed.
Date published: 2018-08-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Funny I love how cinematic the book was and the random funny moments Charlie had with her siblings. This is probably my favorite cover of Morgan Matson's books. However, unlike her other books, the main character doesn't spend as much time with the love interest and instead it's just hinted that they get together at the end. As well, there's so many characters to keep track of that it gets confusing at times. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from love love love Matson's books are always such a pleasure to read. Typical and perfect YA with a touch of the Sunday comic. My favourite part was the name "Swift Tailors". I love how Matson incorporates parts of herself into her books and I especially enjoy reading her final products because she's so active on social media making it possible for readers to follow her journey.
Date published: 2018-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Everything At Once Family events are pretty mad at the best of times, but put two together and what a weekend! That’s what you get in Save The Date. Focused on Charlie, the youngest of a large family, you see the weekend from her perspective. It is not only her sisters’ wedding, but the one that marks the end of her mothers celebrated career as a cartoonist. The family is an interesting one. It is a very close and loving family, with the exception of one estrangement. Early on you get the impression that there are undercurrents between the parents as well, undercurrents of which the kids may not be aware. The wedding itself is a bit of mayhem. The wedding consultant turned out to be either incompetent or embezzling and is missing in action. Half of what she did do has to be undone by the new wedding consultant. And he has a nice nephew too. The neighbors are joyous, constantly complaining about the noise, which is, of course, uncontrollable given the nature of the weekend. Everything that can go wrong seems to go wrong. Grant Central Station has been a favorite with comic readers for many years. Chronicling a barely fictionalized version of the family, it is the cause of the original estrangement with one of the children. When she mentions in the strip an embarrassing but funny episode in her sons’ life, even after his express request that she not, it sparks a two-year feud between them. Everything All At Once Now that the mothers’ cartoon career is coming to an end, of course, there must be much pomp and circumstance surrounding it. The papers are all wanting an interview as are the national TV shows and it just seems like a really bad idea to schedule it all on the same weekend as the wedding. Add into the mix Charlie’s personal life, school life transition into college, and it makes for a rather chaotic but thoroughly enjoyable novel. Reviewed for LnkToMi iRead in response to a complimentary copy of the book provided by the publisher in hopes of an honest review.
Date published: 2018-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful, hilarious, and full of emotion! Save the Date will have you laughing, smiling...and possibly, crying! Highly recommend! I've been a huge fan of Morgan Matson ever since I stumbled upon a copy of Amy & Roger's Epic Detour in the library during my first year of University. Amy & Roger hooked me on Morgan's writing, and I've eagerly picked up every book that she's written ever since! Needless to say, as soon as I heard about Save the Date, I was super excited! It immediately reminded me of Father of the Bride, a favourite movie of mine growing up, and it was from Morgan Matson, so double yay! Unsurprisingly, as soon as I started Save the Date, I didn't want to put it down! I was pulled in right from the first chapter. All of the characters were so vibrant and well defined, especially Charlie's siblings and parents! I absolutely adored Charlie, and I loved every single moment with her family. I loved how we clearly got to see her relationship with each of her siblings, too...and I really loved how different they were! I grew up with one brother, so big families with a bunch of siblings have always sort of fascinated me...and I loved getting to see Charlie's! I loved how each of the siblings had different ways that they connected with each other...and I loved how they had so many shared jokes, games, and memories. It actually made it feel like you were a Grant right alongside Charlie! I loved all of the siblings, but I definitely had a soft spot for JJ and Danny! JJ constantly had me laughing, and I think I loved Danny and Charlie's relationship the best! In Morgan's previous books the romance has always been one of my favourite elements, and I did love the little romantic elements that were in Save the Date, but I definitely loved the family parts even more. Partly because the romance isn't really as big in this book as her previous ones, but for the most part it was because this book was so centred around Charlie and her family. It really did remind me of Father of the Bride that way. There were so many unexpected roadblocks, and I loved seeing the family come together and tackle them all. I always love that Morgan's books have so many layers, and Save the Date is no exception. Even though it mostly only takes part over the span of three days, so much happens for Charlie, and I loved seeing how all of the elements that were changing in her life helped her evolve over such a small span of time. I ended up reading the book over the span of a few days and it made the story flow in a really organic way, and I loved that! I also cannot finish this review without mentioning Waffles, the aforementioned unexpected dog from the description. I'm a sucker for a dog in a story, and Waffles was adorable! The entire book was adorable. It had me laughing, smiling, and it even had me crying. Overall, I absolutely loved Save the Date! It was a wonderful story that was extremely funny and gave me all the feels! I think anyone who already loves Morgan Matson will be a fan, and I think it'd be perfect for any readers looking for a family-centric young adult novel! If you're like me and you absolutely loved movies like Father of the Bride growing up, I'm also pretty sure that you're going to absolutely love Save the Date, too!
Date published: 2018-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved every page Just like all of Matson's books, this one did not disappoint! Once I statred, I couldn't stop.
Date published: 2018-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wonderful summer read This was a wonderful and unique story - Matson never fails to keep her avid readers happy! If you're looking for a story about a dysfunctional, typical American family, this is the book for you. Well written, interesting plot line, funny and sweet. Can't wait for the next Matson book to come out :)
Date published: 2018-07-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The perfect breezy summer read The Nitty-Gritty: Last year I read my first Morgan Matson book and I was completely delighted. After just one book, she became one of my auto-buy authors. And I was not disappointed by Save the Date. While this book was filled with mayhem and mishaps, at its core, this book is about the Grant family. Charlie is the youngest of five siblings, and she’s getting ready to head off to college in the fall. So not only was this a story about a large family, but it was a story about the growing pains of a large family that is changing, and is struggling to adapt to their new dynamics. The book was influenced by a few 80’s and 90’s movies, Charlie’s mother writes a “For Better or For Worse”-ish comic strip called “Grant Central Station”, and Charlie herself is an extremely nostalgic character, so the entire book felt like a throwback in the best possible way. There was a romance element to this story, but it was not a main focus of the story. It was really refreshing to read a YA contemporary novel where the protagonist’s journey was not initiated by or centred around some sort of romance. The Verdict: I absolutely loved Save the Date by Morgan Matson. It was the perfect breezy summer read, and I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a fun, delightful romp down Memory Lane.
Date published: 2018-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just like a movie! First off, I absolutely love that the title has two meanings. Not only is there a big wedding, but Charlie must literally save the wedding day on this crazy adventure. I loved the hundreds of storyline that seemed to flow seamlessly into one another. I don't believe I have ever read a book that was so well thought out and planned. It truly feels as though I am reading the storyline to a movie, which is very uncommon to find in a book in my opinion. After reading the book, you bet I'll be finding more Matson books to read! *Received an Advanced Readers Copy from NetGalley for an honest review as an Indigo employee*
Date published: 2018-07-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from summer fun i love books that are summer and love stories they make for the best read in hot weather
Date published: 2018-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Super Fun I love when books take place over a weekend or week because it really feels like I am in all of the chaos! I enjoyed the rollercoaster of a ride this book takes you on with everything that goes wrong with the wedding! I also love the cameos that Morgan Matson writes in from previous books! I always look forward to reading one of her books and I cannot wait for the next one!!
Date published: 2018-07-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing I feel bad dnf-ing this because I won it courtesy of the Goodreads First Reads program. But the story just isn't grabbing me, and I'm over a hundred pages in. Normally I LOVE stories about weddings and big families, but the family in this novel is an upper-middle-class white family who (at least from what I've gleaned so far) have lead pretty sheltered, humdrum lives. It serves to make them less sympathetic and more of a New England cliché. And they all have really bland personalities, which is the real killer here. They also seem kind of... rude? To add another pancake to the stack of boredom and irritation, everything that has happened at this point in the novel has been too true-to-life; I've just been reading about the various mundane activities of a bunch of characters I don't care about. It's my fault for having such high expectations, but this isn't the madcap, yet heartwarming wedding plot I'd hoped it would be.
Date published: 2018-06-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great for summer Morgan Matson does it again! The perfect summer-y read!
Date published: 2018-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun! Morgan Matson is one of those authors who I’ve heard a lot of reviewers rave about. So naturally I became curious and eager to find out for myself if her novels lived up to all the hype. In the case of her latest release, Save the Date, it definitely lived up to my expectations. Save the Date is much longer than most books in this genre. However I think that I would much rather 1 longer novel than unnecessarily stretching it out into a series. I would describe this novel as a humorous family drama, with a little bit of romance thrown in. Morgan Matson included some mixed media formatting, with the inclusion of text messages and in the form of a comic strip, illustrated by Charlie’s mother; Grant Central Station. The syndicated comic was based on the hijinks of the Grant family as they grew up. Often times this caused problems within and outside of their home. This was essentially a comedy of errors that surrounded the nuptials of Charlie’s sister Linney. Anything that could go wrong did and just when the reader begins to think that it is smooth sailing ahead, something else happens. I found it refreshing to read about a family that felt so real. Charlie’s admiration for her older siblings was very endearing, even if she saw them through rose tinted glasses, so to speak. Save the Date would make for a fun and entertaining spring/summer read. I would recommend it to those who enjoy light contemporaries in the young adult genre. I look forward to reading more from Morgan Matson in the future.
Date published: 2018-06-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Cute Summer Read I was super excited to pick up this book as I love all of Morgan Matsons books. I really loved some of the characters like j.j. I also really liked that you never really knew what was going to happen next and it had me guessing pretty much the entire time. This book was also filled with some really great quotes such as “It didn’t say anything about that on the STD.” We all just stared at him for a moment, and I noticed that Bill was looking fixedly at his shoes. “What?” Linnie finally asked “When you and Rodney gave me the STD, J.J. said, shaking his head, clearly impatient that we weren’t keeping up. “There wasn’t any disclaimer that-“ “You mean the save the date?” Rodney asked, and J.J. nodded. “Dude acronyms aren’t always a good idea.” I think I died from laughing at that point ahaha I did find the book to be a little bit longer than necessary and could definitely have been shortened. I was also disappointed that there wasn’t very much romance in this book compared to her other books. I really wasn’t a huge fan of the little amount of romance that was in this book either. Overall I did enjoy this book but it’s definitely not my favourite book of hers.
Date published: 2018-06-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good read This book would make a good beach read but not a great one. The plot is a bit predictable and the main character Charlie comes across as immature or naive for her age, however, the story is simple and light and if you're not looking for something too in depth here then you shouldn't be disappointed.
Date published: 2018-06-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Perfect Summer Read! Morgan Matson can do no wrong. Her books are the perfect summer reads and Save the Date is no exception. I struggled to get into the book at first but I think that had more to do with the fact that I had a lot going on in life at the end of May because once I settled into the book, the story FLEW by. I read the last half of the book in two sittings, tearing through the pages to see how it would all unfold. Save the Date chronicles one of the wackiest, funnest families I've seen featured in fiction since the family next door in My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. The Grant family's mom has penned a cartoon version of her family for many, many years and the comic strip is ending its publication the same weekend that the eldest daughter is getting married. The story is filled with hijinks from wedding plans gone awry and features a host of colourful and genunine characters. There are moments of laughter (lots of moments of laughter actually) and some emotional moments to balance out the story. My only critcism of this book is that although our main character, Charlie, is at the end her senior year of high school, her character acts and behaves in a much more juvenile fashion. Granted, she is the youngest in the family and maybe I just don't identify with that younger sibling mentality, but there were a few occasions where I felt like she should have acted in a more mature fashion. There were also a couple of plot twists that I had figured out wayyyyy before the characters did, which left me just waiting for them to realize what was going on. In some ways, Morgan's writing in this book reminded me a lot of Katie Finn's writing -- the story is mostly silly and angsty and doesn't have quite as much emotional heart as some of her other books. Regardless of my minor qualms with Save the Date, I've still preordered a copy and will be adding this one to my Morgan Matson collection. Although this one isn't at the top of my favourites list, Morgan is still a favourite author. Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2018-06-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Big Family +Big House + Big Wedding = Big Drama What a great summer read! This was my first introduction to Morgan Matson, and now I get all the hype. I absolutely blew through this book over the long weekend and it gave me all the cozy happy feels. Charlie Grant is the youngest of 5 children. From the sounds of it, there is about 10-11 year gap between her and her oldest sibling. All of her siblings have moved out and Charlie, high school senior, is excited to have the whole family in one house again for her sister Linnie’s Wedding. She is desperate to make sure this weekend is perfect for her sister and more importantly her family, that of course drama soon follows. Let’s just anything possible that could go wrong – goes very very wrong! And Charlie is always there to the rescue. As the weekend progresses, you’re introduced to Charlie’s family and discover that the perfect Grant family isn’t so perfect. If you’re looking for a high octane romance, then this book will disappoint, the majority of the focus is on the family. For me personally, I preferred this. I related to a lot of what Charlie goes through, having a biggish family too. As I get older, I value my time with my parents and siblings as our schedules get more and more hectic. So I really liked the family antics and interactions in this book. Some of the “twists” are very predictable as you can see a mile away where it’s heading. I went through the same thing what Charlie went through (I don’t want to spoil it), and I know it can sting like a mutha-effer. But in no way does it come off corny or eye-rolly (yes, a new descriptive word). You still feel the emotion of the situation. That being said, I wish there was a deeper attachment to the characters – there were just too many to really feel attached to any of them. I think I got the most feels for Brooke (a surprise girlfriend of her favourite brother) and Waffles (a rescue beagle), because they were so badly ignored by the Grants. Also, if you are married, this will give you all the wedding flashbacks and for a moment you are grateful that fiasco was done. (Don’t get me wrong – I loved my wedding, just never want to plan another one…) Overall this book read like a sweet teen movie and I ate up every moment of it. If you need a book to get lost in and decompress, I highly recommend picking this book up. I’m actually going to check out other Morgan Matson books now since I enjoyed this book so much! Thank you again to Simon & Schuster Canada and NetGalley for this electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Date published: 2018-05-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Fun, Summer Read I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was a bit on the fence with how I felt going into this one, because I loved Since You've Been Gone, but I'm not a big fan of weddings or stories about them. But there was a gorgeous dog on the cover, and it looked like it would be funny, so I went ahead and gave it a shot.  It's not a bad book, all in all. It's not quite to the calibre that Since You've Been Gone was, and part of my problem with it might be related to that. But it's a fun, whirlwind of a story, and though it leans pretty far to the unrealistic side, it keeps you waiting excitedly to see what could possibly go wrong next.  I do think that I would have enjoyed this book more if it were a film rather than a book. If it ever gets picked up for film, I would definitely go see this movie. The Good Points of Save The Date: I liked all the family dynamics that play in this story. It did seem ridiculous at a few points, but as a general, it was a fun depiction of how a big family might be, and how being in the limelight might affect the individual members of the family.  Plus, any time we get family involved in a YA book is good. I loved the comic and how that played into the whole story. It was such a cool plot line, and made the wedding drama so much more interesting. Plus, being able to actually see some of the drawings was brilliant. There were details that would come back around - such as the alarm constantly going off - that really added to this book. They were little things, but they were fun to read about and felt purposeful, rather than something that just happened to get to something else. It helped the book feel a little more real. I really enjoyed how the romance played out in this one. It's a fairly minor plot throughout the book, but it was done incredibly well, and I enjoyed how things ended up. It wasn't the clichéd thing where our MC gets the perfect, happily ever after relationship timing, which also helped with making the book feel more realistic.  The Downsides of Save The Date: The chaos in this book felt ridiculous. And I get that this was kind of the point of the whole thing, that it was supposed to be insane. But the changes of this many things going wrong, and then being so easily fixed just didn't work for me.  I found this book slow and longer than it needed to be. There was a lot of chaos, but it didn't really move the story forward quickly. Maybe this is just me and my dislike of wedding stuff, but I found the whole wedding thing so dull. I kind of wanted to see it implode before the end of the book or something, just to change things up. Why is there no creativity with weddings in books? All in all, it's a cute, summer-y read and I can see it being a hit within the YA community. It's not quite at the same level as Since You've Been Gone, but it's fun. If you enjoy family drama, weddings, and alarms that never stop going off, you should definitely check out Save The Date!
Date published: 2018-05-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent! This book was incredible. Unlike other Morgan Matson stories, where the romance plot is given the spotlight, Save the Date puts the Grant family front and center. That's not to say there isn't some romance, but it comes secondary to everything that is happening with this big family and it really gives room for a YA story that is about family, growing up, and dealing with change. As usual the writing is on point, sweeping you along so that you immediately feel like you've been transplanted directly in the Grant's house. Despite only taking place across three days and with a large cast no less the story does not feel shallow or overwhelming in any way, managing to weave every plot together intricately and with care. I fell hard for this entire family and their hilarious wild attempt to hold a wedding. The events in the story were a little over the top and perhaps unlikely to happen, but the characters were all viscerally real and human, by the end of the story I felt like I actually knew them. Each character is given space to breathe, to be revealed as fully developed and well fleshed out. More than that their entangled relationships with each other, the complexities of sibling relationships, were also showcased and explored in depth. If you already love Morgan Matson's books then you'll love this one too. For those new to Matson's world you'll adore it too if you're looking for a story with some emotional depth, a story about families, especially a story about siblings and all their differences and intricacies.
Date published: 2018-05-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good! This book was really well written and I enjoyed reading it, however it was not my favorite genera #plumreview
Date published: 2018-05-05

Read from the Book

Save the Date CHAPTER 1 Or, Never Trust Anyone Named After a Fruit THE DAY BEFORE MY SISTER’S wedding, I woke up with a start, like an alarm had just gone off. I looked around my room, heart hammering, trying to figure out what had woken me. I was still half in the dream I’d just had—Jesse Foster was there, my brother Danny, and there was something about Schoolhouse Rock!, that old cartoon my sister had shown me when I was in elementary school . . . But the harder I tried to hold on to it, the faster the dream seemed to slip away, and I shrugged and lay back down in bed, yawning and pulling my covers over my shoulders, closing my eyes and halfway to falling asleep again before I realized that an alarm was going off. There was a persistent beeping coming from downstairs, and it sounded like the alarm that monitored the front and kitchen doors of the house, the one we only ever turned on when we were going on vacation and sometimes not even then. It was loud up on the third floor, so I had a feeling it was probably deafening down on the first. I reached for my glasses from my bedside table and then stretched over to get my phone from the floor, where I’d plugged it in to charge last night. I pulled up my group texts, all of which were for different combinations of my family members. There was even one that had all of us and my brother Mike, though I could see that hadn’t been used in a year and a half now. I pulled up the one I’d been using the last few days, which was all the people that were currently in the house—my mom, dad, my sister, Linnie, and her fiancé, Rodney. Me Why is there an alarm going off? I waited a moment, then got a series of responses, one right after the other. Mom There’s something wrong with the panel, we think—should be off in a minute. Dad Why did you text? Why not come down and investigate? What if there had been a burglar? Linnie IS there a burglar? Dad No Dad But there COULD have been Dad And if the house were being ransacked, I’m not sure the best course of action would be to text about it. Rodney Morning, Charlie! I was about to text back when the alarm stopped suddenly, and my room seemed extra quiet now. Mom It’s off. Me I hear. I mean, I don’t hear. Mom Coming down? Your dad made coffee and Rodney’s picking up donuts Linnie Wait, Charlie why are you even still here? Did Stanwich High change their start time? Mom I called her out Me Mom called me out Linnie Why? Me So I can help with wedding stuff Linnie If that’s the case, why didn’t you get the donuts? Rodney I don’t mind! Me I’ll be right down. I dropped my phone onto my comforter and stretched my arms overhead as I did the time math. My sister was right—on a normal Friday, I would be between classes right now, heading to AP History, but not in any real hurry. Once our college acceptances had started to roll in, all the second-semester seniors—myself included—were a lot less concerned about getting to class on time. I’d given my mom the hard sell last night, telling her that I could be useful, helping with any last-minute things that might crop up before the rehearsal dinner tonight and assuring her that I didn’t have anything big going on at school today. This wasn’t entirely true—I was the editor of the student newspaper, the Pilgrim, and we had our weekly editorial meeting this afternoon. We were also supposed to discuss the final issue of the year. But I knew that my news editor, Ali Rosen, could handle things for me. Normally, I never would have missed a staff meeting—but all my siblings were going to be here this afternoon, and I didn’t want to waste time that I could be spending with them arguing with Zach Ellison about how long his movie reviews were. I pushed myself off the bed and made it quickly, smoothing back the covers and fluffing up the pillows, then looked around my room, trying to see if it would be considered neat enough in case relatives or bridesmaids wandered by later. We’d moved to this house before I was born, so though my two oldest siblings could remember living somewhere else (or so they claimed), this house, for me, had always been home, and this had always been my room. It was the smallest of the bedrooms up on the third floor, where all four of the kids’ rooms were. It was probably just what happens when you’re the youngest, but I’d never minded. There was a slope to the ceiling that perfectly formed a nook for my bed, and it wasn’t drafty like Danny and J.J.’s room always was. And best of all, my room was connected to Linnie’s room via a long shared closet, which had been perfect both for stealing my sister’s clothes and for hanging out with her, the two of us getting ready at the same time or sitting on the floor of the closet, our legs stretched out, talking and laughing, the clothes hanging above us. Figuring that my room was probably as clean as it was going to be, I headed over to my dresser, bent slightly to see myself in the mirror, and ran a brush though my hair. Like all my siblings, I was tall—five nine, with long light-brown hair and a slightly crooked nose due to a trampoline mishap when I was six. I also had hazel eyes, the only one of my siblings to have them—like for the last kid, the genetic lottery had been split down the middle. I tugged the brush through the ends, wincing—my hair had reached the length where it would get tangled in a second. But I’d also gotten used to having it long, and even as I knew I should cut it, I also knew I probably wouldn’t. I pulled a sweatshirt on over my pajamas and was halfway to the door when I heard my phone buzz, the sound muffled. I looked around and, after a moment, realized that I’d accidentally made the bed over it. I retrieved it from under the covers and smiled when I saw it was my favorite brother calling. “Hi, Danny.” I pulled the phone away for just a second to check the time. “It’s early out there.” “Well,” he said, a laugh somewhere in his voice, “some of us have to fly all the way from California.” “You could have come in last night.” This was what I’d been pressing for for the last few months, since having just a weekend with my siblings didn’t seem like nearly enough. I’d been trying to get everyone to come on Tuesday or Wednesday, so that we’d get some Grant time before relatives and guests descended. But only Linnie and Rodney had come home early—both Danny and J.J. had to work and could only take Friday off. “Not this again.” I could hear a smile somewhere in my brother’s voice. “Wait,” I said, my eyes going wide. “Why aren’t you on the plane?” “I’m calling you from the plane,” he said, and I could suddenly picture him, on the tarmac in San Francisco, kicked back in his first-class seat, a cup of to-go coffee by his side. “You’re allowed to make calls from planes, you know. We haven’t taken off yet and I wanted to check in. How’s it all going?” “Great,” I said immediately. “It’s been awesome to have Linnie and Rodney here again.” “I mean is everything going okay with the wedding? No last-minute disasters?” “It’s all good. Clementine’s taking care of everything.” “Glad I’m getting my money’s worth.” “You should be sure to mention that in your speech.” Danny laughed. “Maybe I just will.” Clementine Lucas was Linnie and Rodney’s wedding coordinator—Danny had offered to pay for a planner for them, calling it his engagement present, when they’d moved up the wedding date. They had gotten engaged two years ago but seemed in no real hurry to set a date or plan their wedding, and we’d had a running joke that they’d get married sometime in the next decade. The only thing they knew was that they wanted to get married at our house—it had been Linnie’s dream since she was little. Since Rodney was in his third year of law school and studying for the bar and Linnie was finishing up her master’s in historic preservation, this spring was probably not the best time for them to be attending a wedding, much less planning their own. But when my parents told us they were putting the house up for sale, things on the wedding front suddenly went into hyperdrive. I looked over at the stack of cardboard boxes that I’d pushed up against my closet door, like that might make me forget about why they were there in the first place. I was supposed to begin the process of cleaning out my room, because our house had been bought by Lily and Greg Pearson, who would be moving in, along with their three extremely loud kids, as soon as the escrow process was complete. I had secretly hoped there would be no buyers, that our house would languish on the market for months, but when it sold, and fast, I wasn’t surprised. After all, who doesn’t want a house that had been featured in one of America’s most beloved comic strips? So, in the midst of all this, Clementine had been incredibly helpful—Danny had found her through Pland, a start-up his venture capital firm had invested in. It had contacts with wedding planners all over the country, and matched couples with the best ones. And apparently, aside from a serious disagreement about the napkin colors, everything with Clementine had gone great. “Well, I can’t wait to see it all myself this afternoon.” “You’re still getting in at two?” “That’s the plan.” Danny cleared his throat. “And I’ll have a surprise when I see you.” I grinned; I had a feeling I knew what this was. “Is it a Double-Double?” Danny sighed. “I never should have taken you to In-N-Out when you came to visit.” “So that’s a no?” “That’s a ‘hamburgers shouldn’t go for six hours without being refrigerated.’?” There was a small pause, and he added, “You could have access to In-N-Out constantly if you moved out here next year.” I smiled and glanced, automatically, at the stack in the corner of my desk—the bright, shiny folders that were my college acceptances. I’d applied to eight schools and gotten into three—Northwestern, outside Chicago; College of the West, in a small town in Los Angeles; and Stanwich, the local university in town where my dad taught. I’d decided last week to go to Stanwich, and had told Danny my decision even before I’d told my parents. He’d been trying to talk me into joining him on the West Coast ever since. “Well, I really think all major life decisions should be based on fast food chains, so . . .” “I knew you’d come around.” I could hear, in the background, an announcement about buckling seat belts and making sure all overhead bins were secure. “I should go. See you soon, Chuck,” he said, using the nickname for me that only he was allowed to use. “Wait,” I said, realizing he’d never told me what his surprise was. “Danny—” But he’d disconnected the call. I left my phone on the dresser and walked over to my desk, set aside the orange College of the West folder, and picked up the bright purple one from Northwestern. I’d gotten into Medill, Northwestern’s journalism school, which was the whole reason I’d applied there in the first place. My guidance counselor hadn’t believed me, thinking that I wanted to be at the same school where Mike was, not understanding that this was actually a bug, not a feature. I flipped through the brochure from Medill that had been sent to me, looking at the glossy pictures of students in the newsroom, the possible internships with major media companies, the journalism study-abroad program. . . . Before I got too far, I closed the folder and picked up the Stanwich College one, running my fingers over the lamp that was part of the school’s crest. Northwestern had stopped appealing to me right around the time my parents told me they were selling the house. The idea of going away had sounded a lot better when I had a house to come home to. Suddenly, the thought of losing both my house and my town was too much, and I’d started to think more and more about Stanwich. I’d practically grown up on the campus, and I loved it—the tree-lined quad, the stained-glass windows in some of the classrooms, the truly epic frozen-yogurt topping bar. And it just began to seem like the best choice—I’d get to start something new while still holding on to the familiar. And it was a great school, and I knew it was going to be really, really great. I hadn’t officially accepted or told the other schools I wasn’t coming, but I’d made my decision, and even though my parents had seemed a little surprised by my choice, I knew they were just getting used to it—and that they’d be happy when my first tuition bill came due and I got the discount for being the child of a professor. And as soon as the wedding craziness was over, I’d figure out what the next steps were—telling Northwestern and College of the West that they hadn’t made the cut, finding out about Stanwich deposits and paperwork. But I didn’t want to think about any of that—not this weekend. After all, right now my sister and future brother-in-law—and possibly donuts—were downstairs waiting for me. I was halfway to the door when my phone rang again, and I picked it up immediately, hoping it was Danny calling back—only to see the contact picture of my best friend, Siobhan Ann Hogan-Russo. “Hey, Shove-on,” I said, picking up, turning my phone onto speaker. This was the way Siobhan told people how to pronounce her name, which was most people who weren’t expecting a name with a silent b in it. “Oh,” she said, sounding surprised. “I didn’t think you’d pick up. Why aren’t you in history?” “I got my mom to call me out. I’m taking the day off so I can help with wedding stuff.” “I thought all of that was taken care of by Tangerine.” I shook my head, even though I knew she couldn’t see me. “You know her name is Clementine. You just have a weird prejudice against her.” “You know my policy,” Siobhan said. “Never trust anyone named after a fruit.” I sighed; I’d heard this more times than I’d wanted to, and could practically feel Siobhan teeing up her punch line. “After all . . . they might be rotten.” “I know you think that’s funny,” I said, and sure enough, on the other end, I could hear Siobhan laughing. “But it’s really not.” “My dad thought it was funny.” “Which one?” “Ted. Steve is still trying to get us into some alumni dinner thing tonight.” Siobhan had been, with her dads, up at the University of Michigan since Wednesday. It was where she was going next year—unlike me, she’d never had any question about where she’d go. Both her fathers had gone there and had met years later at an alumni networking event. In the Hogan-Russo household, there was a prominently displayed picture of newborn Siobhan in a Michigan onesie, posed with a mini maize-and-blue football. Apparently, there had been a serious discussion about naming her Siobhan Ann Arbor Hogan-Russo to help her chances of getting in. But fortunately, she hadn’t needed it—she’d found out back in December that she’d been accepted early decision. “How’s the campus?” “It’s amazing.” There was a happy sigh in Siobhan’s voice. “Wait,” she said, sounding suddenly sharper, like she was coming out of her Michigan happiness daze. “Why are you skipping today? Don’t you have your editorial meeting?” “Yeah,” I said, “but it’s fine. Ali can handle things.” There was silence on the other end, and I added quickly, “She wants to be editor in chief next year anyway, so she should get used to running these.” Siobhan still wasn’t saying anything, but I could picture her expression all too well—arms folded, one eyebrow raised. “I swear it’s fine.” “You’re doing the thing you always do.” “No I’m not. What thing?” “The thing where your siblings come to town and you forget all about everything else.” I took a breath to deny this, but then decided not to—it was a fight Siobhan and I had had many times over the years, and she usually won it because, frankly, she wasn’t wrong. “This is different. Linnie’s getting married.” “She is?” Siobhan said, her voice sounding overly shocked. “But why didn’t you mention something about it?” “Sio.” “Oh no, wait—you did. Like every three minutes.” “It’s going to be amazing,” I said with certainty, feeling myself smile. “Linnie’s dress is so beautiful, and I’ve seen the pictures from her hair and makeup tests—she’s going to look gorgeous. You’ll see.” Siobhan was coming to the wedding—she’d known Linnie her whole life, after all. She was flying back from Michigan tomorrow morning, with more than enough time to get ready before the ceremony. “Is everyone there?” she asked. “The whole circus in town?” “Not quite. Linnie and Rodney came in Wednesday night. Danny gets in this afternoon, and J.J. . . .” I stopped and took a breath. “And we’re all going to be together.” As I said it, it was like I started to feel warmed up from the inside, like I’d just taken a long drink of hot chocolate. “Not exactly.” I blinked at the phone. “What do you mean?” “Mike,” Siobhan said simply. “Mike’s not going to be there.” “Who wants him here?” I muttered. “Well—Linnie did, right?” Siobhan asked, and I crossed over to my desk again and started straightening the piles of papers, mostly just to have something to do with my hands. “Didn’t she invite him?” “Of course,” I said quickly, ready to talk about something else. “But he’s not coming, and it’s better this way.” “Okay,” Siobhan said, and even through the phone, I could tell that this was her letting the subject go, even though she still disagreed with me. “Now.” There was a getting-down-to-business tone in Siobhan’s voice, the same as she’d had when we were five and trying to decide who got to be Belle when we were playing Beauty and the Beast and who was going to be stuck being the teapot. “What are you wearing on GMA?” I winced. Good Morning America was going to be coming to our house in two days to interview all of us, because my mom’s comic strip—Grant Central Station—was, after twenty-five years, coming to an end. And despite the fact that this was rapidly approaching, I hadn’t yet gotten as far as deciding what I would be wearing. Grant Central Station depicted the lives of the five kids, two parents, and a dog that made up the Grant family—the fictional version, since those of us who lived in the real world were also the Grant family. It was syndicated in newspapers across the country and around the world. It was about a large family dealing with everyday things—work and crushes and bad teachers and siblings’ fights. As the years had gone on, it had transitioned away from broad gags and more cartoonish illustrations and had slowly gotten more serious. The humor had become more poignant, and my mother would sometimes trace one story line for weeks. And unlike most strips, in which characters lived in a kind of stasis—Garfield perpetually hating Mondays and loving lasagna; Charlie Brown forever missing the football; Jason, Paige, and Peter Fox stuck in fifth, ninth, and eleventh grade, respectively—Grant Central Station followed real time. My siblings and I each had a strip equivalent that was a version of us, and for the last twenty-five years, the strip had charted the progress of the fictional family, moving in step with us in the real world. The fact that it was ending had come with an onslaught of requests for publicity—my mom had been doing phone and e-mail interviews for weeks, and taking the train into New York for photo shoots and taped interviews—but it seemed the really big ones were happening closest to when the strip was actually ending, probably so she could give her take on how she was feeling, now that the moment had arrived. There had been comic retrospectives in newspapers around the country, and the Pearce, our local museum, was doing a whole show on her artwork. We were squeezing in an appearance tonight at the opening, before we’d all rush to the rehearsal dinner. But the biggest of all these promotional appearances was Good Morning America on Sunday morning, a live interview with all of us that they were calling “The Family Behind Grant Central Station.” When Linnie and Rodney had decided on their wedding date, my mother had set the strip’s end date for the same weekend, so we’d all be together. And apparently, GMA had gotten a lot more interested in doing the piece on us when they’d found out we would all be available. Linnie and Rodney weren’t thrilled about this, and J.J. had commented that if we were expected to appear on national TV the day after a wedding, they might want to change the name of the segment to “Grant Central Hangover.” But I was just happy we’d all be together, that when this thing that had defined all our lives came to an end, we’d see it through as a group. “Um,” I said to Siobhan now, stalling for time. “Clothes?” “Charlie.” The disapproval in my best friend’s voice was palpable. “Jackson Goodman is coming to your house on Sunday.” “I’m aware of this.” “Jackson Goodman. And you don’t know what you’re wearing?” Siobhan’s voice rose sharply at the end of this. She and her dads watched Good Morning America together every morning until she had to leave for school, and Jackson Goodman—the laid-back anchor with the wide grin—was by far her favorite. When she’d found out that he was going to be at our house, she’d pretty much lost her mind, then promptly invited herself over for the taping. “You can help me pick an outfit, how about that?” “Deal. And you’ll introduce me to Jackson, right?” “Sure,” I said, even though I had no idea how things were going to run on Sunday. I could hear muffled voices on Siobhan’s end. “I should probably go. This accepted students thing is starting soon.” “Have fun. Hail to the victorious.” “Hail to the victors,” Siobhan corrected, sounding scandalized. “Have I taught you nothing?” “Clearly not. Um, go Wolverine.” “Wolverines,” Siobhan said, her voice rising. “It’s not like Hugh Jackman is our mascot.” “See, but if he was, maybe I would have applied.” “Steve and Ted are still mad you didn’t, you know.” “Just tell them to be glad I didn’t apply to Ohio State.” I heard the sharp intake of breath that followed whenever I mentioned Michigan’s rival school, which I found ways to bring up as often as possible. “I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.” “That’s probably wise.” “I gotta go. Tell Linnie congrats for me?” “Of course. See you tomorrow.” I hung up, then after a moment opened my photos and started looking through them. I scrolled past my photos, stopping at the ones with my siblings, trying to find one of us all together. There I was with Linnie and Rodney last night, picking up pies at Captain Pizza. And then me and Danny and J.J. in front of the Christmas tree, both Danny and me giving J.J. bunny ears—Linnie and Rodney had spent the holiday with Rodney’s parents in Hawaii. And then me and J.J. and Linnie at Thanksgiving—Danny had had to work, jetting last-minute to Shanghai, trying to save a deal that had started falling apart. There I was with Danny in September, sitting outside at a Coffee Bean—he’d sent me a surprise “Come and visit me for the weekend!” plane ticket, and I’d flown out to California and back again in less than forty-eight hours. And then there was one from last summer, me and J.J. trying—and failing—to play Cards Against Humanity with only two people. But there were none of all of us together, and looking at the pictures was evidence that we hadn’t all been together in a while. But at long last, this weekend, we would be. For three days, my siblings were going to be home and it was going to be us again—playing games and standing around the kitchen laughing and making bagel runs and just being together. I’d spent so much time thinking about it, and now it was so close. I was so near to the way it felt when we were all together, like finally things had been put right again. Not to mention that this weekend was the last time that we’d all be together in this house, so it was going to be perfect. It had to be perfect. I would make sure of it. I headed for the door and was halfway down the stairs to the kitchen when the alarm went off again.

Editorial Reviews

*** "A quick, sweet read with humor and heart, a fantastic summer choice for fans of Jenny Han and Susan Colasanti." - VOYAstarred review