Cristina & Lauren Read:Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins, Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, Jennifer E. Smith
Also by this author: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3), There's Someone Inside Your House, Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2), Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1), Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3), The Bane Chronicles (The Bane Chronicles), Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1), Chain of Iron (The Last Hours, #2), Finding Yvonne, The Voting Booth, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between, Windfall
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on May 17th 2016
Pages: 400 •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.
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.
Book Buddies is a discussion style review I participate in every other month with my friend Lauren who runs the blog Bookmarklit. We choose a themed book for the month, read it, and the have a discussion where we both discuss themes and aspects that really stood out to us. Book Buddy Reviews are posted during the last week of the month.You can see our review in a Q&A format with half posted here, and half on Lauren’s blog!
Since there were twelve stories, Lauren and I will be alternating the reviews between both of our blogs, with reviews of six on mine and six on hers. You can find the odd stories here, and the even stories over at Bookmarklit!
#1- Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo
Cristina’s Rating: 4 stars Lauren’s Rating: 4 stars
C: I was super excited going into this one because I haven’t read anything by Leigh Bardugo that’s set outside of the Grisha universe, or really anything that’s remotely contemporary by her. She definitely didn’t disappoint, as this story has a definite summer vibe while still bringing in her trademark flair for eerie folklore, element-based magic, and mysterious, wise, witchy women. I also loved the element of sea monsters in this, as the sort of quintessential summer mythological creature.
L: I totally agree! The words I used initially were “weird but fun and magical.” I was definitely not disappointed by her foray out of the Grisha universe. I predicted what was going on with him fairly early on, but that didn’t take away from it at all. Unlike most of the other stories, the paranormal elements didn’t take away from the summery feelings. There was a pretty seamless combination of both.
#3- Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray
Cristina’s Rating: 2 stars Lauren’s Rating: 3 Stars
C: This story was just absurd and not in a good way. I’m not a fan of horror as a genre, even in a satirical way, to begin with, and everyone in this story just really felt like they were forced quirky characters who were conveniently competent special snowflakes when it came time to save the world. It was also sort of all over the place, and my suspension of disbelief was pretty weak considering one minute there were demons eating people and the next the characters were talking about how cool it was to fight them and then making out.
L: I didn’t mind this one too much as I was reading, but it is definitely a story that has gotten worse in my head the more I think of it. I love Libba Bray’s writing in general because it’s always quirky and unique, but this story was pretty nonsensical. You’re right though – it was all over the place. I could honestly see this working better as a full-length novel because the short story made it choppy. More development with the characters and the ability to stretch it over a long period of time would have made more sense. The ending was also a bit too cheesy for me.
#5- In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins
Cristina’s Rating: 4 stars Lauren’s Rating: 4.5 Stars
C: I had a sneaking suspicion Ms. Perkins was going to bring back North and Marigold in this anthology, and I was thrilled to be right! I LOVED them in My True Love Gave to Me and I want a full length book about them SO badly. This story was really sweet and sad, but what bothered me was it felt like there was not enough background explination about the time that had lapsed between the winter they met and their summer story View Spoiler »It made no sense to me really WHY they had broken up, other than it being used as a plot device. « Hide Spoiler However if they continue to put out anthologies like this I REALLY hope Stephanie Perkins keeps her running Marigold and North stories a THING.
L: I KNOW! I was so happy to see these characters again. I wish there was more explanation too; the beginning was sad! If there are more anthologies, they better be in everything. I would absolutely read a novel about the two of them. After reading some of the weirder stories, it made me more and more grateful that this story was included. For a summer-based anthology, there were definitely not a lot of summer contemporaries like I’d hoped. This had an adorable setting and obviously great characters. It left me wanting more but also completely satisfied with the ending!
#7- Inertia by Veronica Roth
Cristina’s Rating: 3.5 stars Lauren’s Rating: 2.5 Stars
C: I thought the concept of this story was really cool, with the Last Visitation as sort of a type of lucid dreaming. It’s not exactly unique, as this sort of technology is rampant throughout her Divergent trilogy, but it was put to creative use in this story. I liked the couple and I liked how they were able to revisit past memories together, sort of like a Pensieve in Harry Potter. However this story really didn’t give me a summer vibe, it honestly could’ve been set at any time of the year. By this point in the collection I was really disappointed with the lack of summery feeling stories.
L: I haven’t read the Divergent trilogy (I know!) so I didn’t know this technology was included. That’s kind of… lame? I feel like she shouldn’t have borrowed from the same ideas unless it was the same character OR explicitly still in that world. The technology was cool, I thought, but the story just felt really out of place for me. I feel like even the other non-contemporary stories at least had some kind of summertime elements. This one was super depressing for me but I liked the ending. I started writing this answer before seeing what you said and apparently we’re in agreement on the whole vibe of this one and the anthology 😉
Good Luck and Farewell by Brandi Colbert
Cristina’s Rating: 3.5 stars Lauren’s Rating: 3.5 Stars
C: Until reading this short story I hadn’t read anything by Colbert, but I’ve heard great things. I really, really like how the focus of this story isn’t centered on romantic love, but on familial love. Rashida’s complex emotions about her cousin’s move evoked a lot of empathy with me, and it was refreshing to remember that non-romantic bonds can still run deep, and often times do run deeper than romantic love. I actually wish this story hadn’t introduced a love interest for the protagonist halfway in, because it felt tacked on and I wish that hadn’t been a crutch to help resolve the protagonist and her cousin’s separation anxiety.
L: I hadn’t heard much about Colbert at all actually but I really enjoyed this story too! I thought it was slightly heavy for such a short story because the characters had a lot of complex issues/feelings to work out. I ended up kind of liking the romance element just because it reminded me of being young and staying up late with a boy. But, you’re right – it wasn’t connected as well to the rest of the story and made it seem like she couldn’t handle being alone at all. I liked another little instance of LGBT love, plus the diversity!
A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith
Cristina’s Rating: 4 stars Lauren’s Rating: 4 Stars
C: I always love Jennifer’s novels because she writes the perfect romantic contemporaries that are fluffy and sweet and you pretty much get exactly what you hope for. This short story is no exception, and I love that she decided to focus on some characters’ with certain mental conditions without making the story revolve around the issue. I loved how she incorporated a unique element into the romantic pairing, and showed that the couple had to work to define how it would impact their relationship, while still keeping the feel of the story light-hearted and summery in nature with the day camp setting. I can’t really talk specifics about this one without spoilers, but I was very content with this addition to the anthology.
L: Yeah, I like her books too. None of them have blown me away because sometimes they’re a little more predictable than other contemporaries I read, but I know I can count on her for the fluff! I want to be spoiler-free as well but I think this story handled its “issues” really well. I could tell right off the bat what was going on with him. I’ve definitely never read a love story quite like this one, with that particular thing involved. (Sounds so weird without spoilers! haha) The summer camp setting was one of my favorite settings from the anthology because it just screams summer to me.
Be sure to read the rest of our reviews and discussions at Lauren’s Blog!
After reading and loving My True Love Gave to Me, I have to say that I was really disappointed overall by this collection. Many of the stories had a depressing or melancholy feel, and many of them didn’t really come across as feeling “summery.” While I like many of the authors featured, this is definitely a book that I regret purchasing because I don’t see myself rereading it unlike the previous anthology.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Goodreads Challenge 2016