Whereas Chance of a Lifetime was perhaps more action-oriented, especially at the beginning and end, Second Chance is more drama-oriented. It takes place a year after the first one. Stacey is still a young woman and finding it difficult to make a real life for herself. This is emphasized when she goes on a date with a guy and just about everything goes wrong. She speaks with Dr. Palmer, the doctor who's trying to find a way to make Stacey back into Steve, who recommends Stacey go see a therapist she knows named Dr. Robert MacIntosh.
But during the gig Stacey starts to develop stage fright and flees in the middle of it. Madison eventually tracks her down. But then Stacey and Madison are both abducted! They're drugged and taken to an old warehouse.
There Stacey finds out the one who kidnapped her is named Dr. Ling. A year ago Ling's father died while trying to buy the formula for the drug that was used on Stacey. His son has been trying to make his own version of it and so has captured Stacey to analyze the drug still in her system. Maddy is just a nice bonus for him.
Eventually Ling gets his version ready to test, first on Maddy and then on Stacey. The end result is that they both become little Chinese kids--Maddy becomes 5 and Stacey becomes 10. Ling plans to take Stacey and Maddy back to China so he can show them off and then eventually dissect them for science. But a kindly nurse helps Stacey and Maddy escape.
Stacey and Maddy find Jake Madigan--Steve's old partner, in whose house Stacey had been living. Jake convinces his wife to take the little kids in and then they begin to look for a way to change Stacey and Maddy back to normal.
Since this promises to take a long time, Stacey and Maddy try to live like normal kids. With some help from Dr. MacIntosh they get enrolled at a snooty boarding school, where Stacey makes a new friend and develops a crush on a boy in her class.
The gist is that Stacey gets to have a childhood of her own. This helps her to sort out some of the issues she'd been dealing with as an adult. Plus it brings her closer than ever to Madison.
But all good things must come to an end...
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Here are a couple of Fun Facts. When I was thinking up the story I knew I wanted Stacey to discover some gift from her sex change. It seemed pretty obvious that going from a man to a woman couldn't make you a better painter or sculptor or writer (I assume). But music seemed like a viable option, especially singing since Stacey would have a different voice than Steve, not only because Steve is a guy but also because Steve smoked like a chimney for 35 years so his voice would be like a bucket of gravel falling down a flight of stairs. As far as what Stacey sings, she ends up singing a lot of old Cole Porter songs. Why? Why not? Really, I have no idea. I hadn't hardly listened to any of them ahead of time; it was just one of those things I picked almost randomly and then created a bunch of stuff to make it fit. Stacey's singing career takes center stage (punny!) in the third book. Both this one and the third book feature a verse from an original song, which was just enough to make me realize I shouldn't try to write songs. Josh Joplin I am not.