My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: May 17th 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, LGBT
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.
Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.
Slightly better than My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories.
‘‘Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail’’ by Leigh Bardugo – 2 stars
I liked the atmosphere in this short story: it’s creepy and the constant detailed referral to water makes us almost feel uncomfortably wet. But it’s unnecessarily long, slow and the slight touch of fantasy incredibly predictable.
‘‘The End of Love’’ by Nina LaCour – 5 stars
Now this was lovely. It’s a contemporary story about a girl whose parents are divorcing, who attends summer school and hopes to get closer to a girl in her class. It’s fast-paced and Nina LaCour’s writing is extremely beautiful. And I missed reading something with lesbian romance in it, even though I did—not so long ago.
‘‘Last Stand at the Cinegore’’ by Libba Bray – 1 star
Oh, boy. Weird. The story was all over the place. And I didn’t ‘‘dig’’ the humour. Some teens are watching a movie and then there are zombies or demons or both and then they’re close to selling their souls. I managed to finish it, but I really didn’t like it.
‘‘Sick Pleasure for A and U’’ by Francesca Lia Block – 3 stars.
Ha. Okay. It didn’t end the way I expected it to exactly. In fact, it’s pretty depressing when we think about it. I’m blaming the narrator. She refused to live in the moment and instead only focused on the future. Well, it was interesting nonetheless and, since it’s my first time reading something by this author, I’m looking forward to discovering more of her works.
‘‘In Ninety Minutes Turn North’’ by Stephanie Perkins – 4 stars.
Sweet sweet sweet. It’s close to impossible to not be charmed by Stephanie Perkins’ romance stories. This is about a girl who wants to rescue her ex-boyfriend, so she goes to his work place. It found it original and immensely entertaining. Not that I expected anything less from this author.
‘‘Souvenirs’’ by Tim Federle – 3 stars
It’s breakup day for Matt and Kieth! It’s time for them to go their own separate ways. I never heard of this author before and I was surprised to read another LGBT story in this anthology. Reading this made me melancholic. It’s sweet and realistic enough but also a little bit sad. Well, it’s life.
‘‘Inertia’’ by Veronica Roth – 1 star
This is so Veronica Roth to play with memories—the mind. It also explores other themes, such as family and friendship At one point, it was possible to switch the main characters’ names for Tris and Four. I couldn’t finish it—it was too boring and, mind you, I actually adored Divergent. I guess my expectations were too high.
‘‘Love is the Last Resort’’ by Jon Skovron – 3 stars
The narration in this short story reminded me of the one in the Jane the Virgin telenovela. Everyone is enamoured with someone or playing matchmaking. I thought there were too many characters – it was hard to keep track of their roles – but I quite liked how summerish it felt.
‘‘Good Luck and Farewell’’ by Brandy Colbert – no rating
I couldn’t finish this one, either. I didn’t care for the characters and the story, overall, seemed overdone. I’ll just go to the next one.
‘‘Brand New Attraction’’ by Cassandra Clare – 4 stars
Cassandra Clare and Leigh Bardugo and Veronica Roth are the three reasons why I wanted to read this anthology. (I never read anthologies.) I’m so glad at least one of those three authors didn’t disappoint me. I liked the world Clare created with the carnival and the demon. It was a bit childish and the love-interest didn’t make me swoon, but everything else didn’t disappoint.
‘‘A Thousand Ways this Could All Go Wrong’’ by Jennifer E. Smith – 3 1/2 stars
A girl who plays sports! Finally. Adorable romance. The way the characters got closer to one another felt natural. And there’s this quote I love: ‘‘… if I can spend so much time saying nice things when I don’t really mean them, why shouldn’t I be able to say them when I actually do?’’ Agreed!
‘‘The Map of Tiny Perfect Things’’ by Lev Grossman – 2 stars
I didn’t quite buy this one, because the author seemed to have picked various elements from various books and put them together, giving it a fairytaleish, alternate-universe kind of feeling. And I didn’t like the characters. But it wasn’t bad per se.
Stephanie Perkins has always worked with books—first as a bookseller, then as a librarian, and now as a novelist. She’s the author of the international bestsellers Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, as well as Isla and the Happily Ever After. My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories is her first anthology. Stephanie and her husband live in the mountains of North Carolina.