Title: Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Loves Stories
Editor: Stephanie Perkins
Authors: Leigh Bardugo, Nina LaCour, Libba Bray, Francesca Lia Block, Stephanie Perkins, Tim Federle, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, Brandy Colbert, Cassandra Clare, Jennifer E. Smith, and Lev Grossman
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Check this book out on Goodreads.
Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love. (Source: Goodreads)
This book is an anthology of summer romances that acts as a sort of follow-up to My True Love Gave to Me. This book largely focused on positive aspects of love with only a few lower moments in terms of tone. It was also largely good quality stories, I don’t think there were any I rated too low, mostly they were good. I just sort of felt like the whole book felt kind of clunky and a little dull? All together it was a little hard to get through because nothing left me too enthusiastic.
I enjoyed this anthology a lot, I think it was just sort of missing that extra umph that made the previous one to enjoyable. The best stories in this anthology were closer to the middle which really made the whole second half feel a little like it was in decline. Nothing really built up and overall I felt a little tired of the whole effort by the end of reading it.
I assume that once again the cover is the characters from the story but for the most part I didn’t have the book with me while I was reading so I couldn’t check. I think one big problem for me too was that I wasn’t huge on any of the couples so I didn’t really feel too inclined to spot them on the cover.
I’m going to break this down by story, in the order that they appear in the book.
“Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail” by Leigh Bardugo
This was a pretty good opening for the book. Gracie and Eli fall in love slowly over the course of several summers, starting with an investigation of a river monster. This story was full of beautiful magic. I thought Gracie and Eli were a cute pair with decent chemistry. It probably wasn’t that “enchanting” of a story as I would have wanted it to be, but I think it was still cute and very unique. Eli was probably the best part. The whole story runs a little long, close to 30 pages, which isn’t unusual for this book but feels kind of dragged out anyway. There’s some trickiness with timeline that I didn’t like, but otherwise a strong story.
“The End of Love” by Nina LaCour
Flora’s parents are getting a divorce so she wants an excuse to be anywhere but home, she signs up for a geometry class at the summer school and finds a group of old friends, and maybe something more. I really enjoyed this story. It was sweet and well written. The emotions in this were really powerful and I was a little tearful at times. The pace was wonderful as well, an improvement over the previous story. I liked the frequent mentioning of the title in this, it really worked as this kind of emotional mantra throughout the story.
“Last Stand at the Cinegore” by Libba Bray
Kevin’s last chance to get the girl is also the last night that the local theatre he works in will be open. Their final screening will be of a cursed movie that is rumored to open a portal to hell – and when it does getting the girl becomes a whole lot more complicated. This story was kind of boring and predictable. Kevin and Dani has zero chemistry, the plot reads like a very stereotypical B-horror movie. And maybe that’s the feel Bray was going for? But for me it was just bland. This wasn’t a good romance or a good horror.
“Sick Pleasure” by Francesca Lia Block
The story of one important night and how it changes I’s life forever, Block’s story is told in a straightforward almost emotionless tone but it is still gut wrenching and moving. I liked and didn’t like this story all at once. I wasn’t fond of the use of single letters for names, but I can deal with it. I thought the tone was very cold and emotionless, but by the end of the story it really complements the whole thing better that flowery, emotional language would have. This was the first sort of depressing story I encountered in this anthology and that difference made it stand out for me.
“In Ninety Minutes, Turn North” by Stephanie Perkins
This is a follow-up to Perkins’ story in the last twelve stories anthology about Marigold and North who met at Christmas and fell in love. In this story they are not broken up but Marigold is trying to help North get what he wants in life, it seems she might be wrong about what that is though because when she comes to rescue him he’s run off and gotten a new job. I really enjoyed this story, seeing these familiar characters from the last book was really nice and made me grin like crazy. If Perkins does more of these books I want more Marigold and North. Overall this story was cute, it had that Perkins charm that really permeates all of her other work too.
“Souvenirs” by Tim Federle
Today is Matty and Kieth’s break-up day. Matty is breaking up inside because he thinks he loves Kieth, even though Keith never remembers anything and doesn’t love him back. Matty just has to survive the day. I thought this story was…okay? It was a little sad, but maybe not quite so sad because Kieth was awful and I hated him a bit. I think it was an interesting look at those sort of high school relationships that feel like forever but are really not that big of a deal in the end. I didn’t really think the writing was amazing or anything, but it was a good enough story.
“Inertia” by Veronica Roth
Clair’s about to lose her best friend forever because of a car accident. She goes in for Last Visitation, a chance to create a neural link with Matt before he dies and say anything that needs to be said. Unfortunately when it ends Clair doesn’t feel like she’s said everything and she needs to change that. I really enjoyed this, there was a cool sci-fi element to the story with that Last Visitation stuff. I think the romance was a little weak, but it was a slow build not a huge crashing romance like many of the others. This was a little on the sad side, like the previous one, but it was a better story for me.
“Love is the Last Resort” by Jon Skovron
Lena and Arlo are absolutely not in love, they do not intend to fall in love. What they intend to do is matchmake everyone else, and not be in love. Except love is infectious, and Lena and Arlo are far from immune. I loved this story, there was something so enchanting about it. The style of writing was sort of Austen-esque which was funny and enchanting at the same time. I liked all of the characters, many caricatures but still lovable. The ending especially was amazing. If you are going to read any story from this book I would recommend this one!
“Good Luck and Farewell” by Brandy Colbert
Rashida’s cousin is moving away, and she’s Rashida’s angry about. Angry because with her mom gone, Audrey is supposed to always be there for her. She’s angry at her cousin’s girlfriend because it’s her fault that Audrey is leaving. But when she meets her cousin’s girlfriend’s brother she realizes maybe sometimes you have to say goodbye to one person so you can meet another. Okay…I honestly thought the previous story was my favourite in the anthology and then I read this one. This story made me cry, it was so much more than a love story, it was a tiny little heartbreaking capsule of love and pain and family. If Colbert wanted to write more about Rashida and Pierre I would be down for it.
“Brand New Attraction” by Cassandra Clare
Lulu and her dad run a dark carnival, until one day her dad leaves and it’s just her. Her uncle comes to help run the carnival but brings evil magic with him. She becomes suspicious of him and together with boyfriend, Lucas, she fights off the evil in the carnival. I don’t know what it was about this that I didn’t like. It felt kind of cheesy and predictable I guess? There weren’t any good characters and the whole thing was just kind of boring to me,
“A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong” by Jennifer E. Smith
Annie’s had a crush on Griffin since the first day she met him in Spanish class but it’s not until the summer that she finally works up the courage to do something about it. The pair get stuck taking care of a kid from her camp, and they bond over the experience – leading Griffin to tell her something he never tells anyone. I really enjoyed this, it was great to see diversity in this book but even better to see something like autistic characters finding love. I really enjoy Smith’s style so it was great to read something else by her.
“The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” by Lev Grossman
His days on stuck on repeat, literally the same day is happening over and over all around Mark. When he finds someone else who can see that the world is stuck he latches on to her. Margaret, who is a mystery to him, fills his days with happiness but some sadness lingers within her and Mark wants to figure it out. Together they try to figure out how to get the world moving again. I really enjoyed the plot of this, it was very Groundhog Day obviously but I liked that Mark and Margaret started looking for all these small moments to make them happy everyday. For me the problem was that Mark and Margaret’s romance felt too small scale for it to start the world moving again. I think it was perhaps the nature of the short story that kind of limited it? Or maybe Grossman just couldn’t convey a romance so huge in such a small story. It was good though.
I’d say the book is worth reading, because there are a lot of really good stories in the book, but I really prefered the previous book to this one.
Have you read Summer Days and Summer Nights? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Check out Leigh Bardugo at her Goodreads, website, and Twitter.
Check out Francesca Lia Block at her Goodreads and website.
Check out Libba Bray at her Goodreads, website, and Twitter.
Check out Cassandra Clare at her Goodreads and website.
Check out Brandy Colbert at her Goodreads, website, and Twitter.
Check out Tim Federle at her Goodreads, website, and Twitter.
Check out Lev Grossman at his Goodreads, website, and Twitter.
Check out Nina LaCour at her Goodreads, website, and Twitter.
Check out Stephanie Perkins at her Goodreads, website, and Twitter.
Check out Veronica Roth at her Goodreads and website.
Check out Jon Skovron at his Goodreads, website, and Twitter.
Check out Jennifer E. Smith at her Goodreads, website, and Twitter.
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