Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Summary: 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.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Short Story, Anthology
Review (by story): Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo – 3/5: I’ve never been the biggest fan of Bardugo’s writing, but I think this set the tone for how dynamic this anthology was going to be. While I enjoyed the majority of the story, I didn’t like the ending. Unfortunately, I think that ruined most of it for me. I just couldn’t get into the concept when I was expecting something entirely different.
The End of Love by Nina LaCour – 5/5: I really loved this story, and it was wonderful to see a wlw couple so early into the book, which I wasn’t surprised by since this came from Nina LaCour! Overall, I felt it was solid and heartfelt. I look forward to reading more of LaCour’s work in the future.
Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray – 4/5: I’m the absolute biggest fan of Libba Bray. I’m so totally biased towards anything she writes. That being said, while I loved this story personally, I don’t think it fit in very well with the tone of the book overall. But it was the perfect mix of scary, funny, and romantic, which is just what I love from Bray.
Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block – 4.5/5: This story came as a big surprise to me. I liked the tone and the writing style immensely, especially how it took on a much larger issue. It was unexpected but incredibly well executed. I’d never read anything by this author before, but I would definitely consider doing so now. I loved it, but there were moments where I felt like I got lost along the way, which impacted my rating just the smallest bit.
In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins – 3.5/5: I had such high expectations for Perkins’ story, so I felt let down when I saw that this story returned to Marigold and North from My True Love Gave to Me. It was a good story, but it didn’t have the romantic feel all the other stories had at their core. I really would’ve liked to see something new.
Souvenirs by Tim Federle – 4.5/5: This was a really wonderful story. Once again, I loved the LGBT couple, this time focusing on two men. It was a very interesting concept, and I thought it was written well. I wasn’t into it entirely for most of the story because I didn’t like the characters all that much, but it was sad in a very uplifting way, if that makes any sense. It had a really good ending and overall message to take from, which made me love this so much.
Inertia by Veronica Roth – 5/5: This was by far my favorite story of the bunch. It was a really great concept that turned into something so much deeper and more meaningful. It had just enough of a sci-fi feel to give the concept some roots, but it still felt contemporary. This one resonated with me in a way the others didn’t, and even had just a bit of a twist at the end. It was romantic, but it gave you a vibe the other couples didn’t, as it was rooted in friendship. I’d recommend this anthology on this story alone.
Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron – 3/5: While I liked this story, the writing style totally affected my feelings towards it. It felt so haughty and pretentious that it felt absolutely nothing like a YA contemporary short story. It was very melodramatic and felt out of place more than any other story in this book. I wanted to like it, and I liked parts of it, but it let me down.
Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert – 3.5/5: I really liked this story, but I wanted to feel more from it. I felt unconnected to the characters, and I understand why. They were dealing with issues I never have to deal with and would never want to. Ultimately, I felt more interested in Audrey and Gillian’s story than Rashida and Pierre’s. I think it’s hard to go from a love-hate relationship to a love relationship so quickly, and the relationship moved just too fast for me to like.
Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare – [SKIPPED]: I was definitely not reading a story by Cassandra Clare. And after hearing what this story was about, I sure am glad I didn’t.
A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith – 5/5: Next to Inertia, this was my favorite story. I didn’t expect it to go in the direction it went, nor did I expect it to take on such a heavy issue. But it was handled with grace and written well and properly, without doing a disservice to the issue at hand. It was very sweet and romantic, and even with the complication in the story, nothing changed for the characters, which I loved.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman – 5/5: This was the perfect way to end the anthology, and another of my favorite stories. It had a fantasy/sci-fi concept and vibe, but the development of the characters and the writing style was engrossing. It was sad, but it was ultimately a story about growing strength, which I loved. It was a perfect conclusion.
In my opinion, this anthology was less than stellar. I definitely liked the second half of the stories than the first half. It was very dynamic, which I thought was important, and it was good enough, but it has nothing on My True Love Gave to Me. That being said, some of these stories were so wonderful that I’d recommend the whole anthology in a heartbeat.