Thursday, August 4, 2016

SUMMER DAYS & SUMMER NIGHTS: A REVIEW

Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories
Edited by: Stephanie Perkins
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Language: English
May 2016
Genre: Young Adult/Anthology

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.


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For some reason I like themed things. Whether it is my favorite Halloween anthology movie Trick R Treat or a collection of short stories centered around Carniepunk or Ghosts. I am a fan. I like curated lists and boxes of loot goodies that revolve around a theme. I also like Summer though perhaps not in the same ways I did when I was sixteen.

Ah summer romances. I, like many, have had my fair share. Even Mabel from Gravity Falls wanted some of her own. They are also the perfect thing to read when sitting in an air conditioned tea shop or under the umbrella at the beach.

I picked up Stephanie Perkins last anthology which centered around the Winter Holiday season. I liked it. Likely I will bring it out during the holiday season the way I do the Buffy episode ‘Pangs’ at Thanksgiving .

Anthologies are like Movie Soundtracks for me. I get a little bit of everything. I usually like more songs than I dislike, and there always seems to be something for every mood. This anthology was like that for me. Fairly solid.

The Stories:
Head, Scales, Tongue Tale // Leigh Bardugo It’s a summer romance that begins with a lake monster fairy tale and then turns into something more. It was a romance that took more than one summer to bloom and I love that Gracie and Eli would spend their summers trying to prove the existence or non-existence of the monster. Especially since many of that also took place at the local ice cream stand/shop. I can recall many a summer day of my youth spent at the local DQ or Milky Way. It is slightly dark, but incredibly atmospheric. Some of her descriptions are sublime. I thought it was a fun way to begin the anthology because, to be honest, I was sort of expecting a lot of bubblegum romances. Fluffy, not like this. Good way to start.

The End of Love // Nina Lacour Flora just needs to get out of the house for the summer and away from the utter disaster that is her parents’ divorce. Well disaster for Flora, her parents seem to fine about it. Which is why she decides to retake a geometry class she already aced. There she sees her crush Mimi and two other old friends Hope and Travis. The story is a little melodramatic at times and not all of the scenes and dialogue seem natural. Also summer school is not this relaxing. But I still liked it. Some of Flora’s reactions made me feel for her. I got it. Not the best story, but a nice addition to the trilogy.

Last Night at the Cinegore // Libba Bray Oh to work at an old theater that showed horror films. Granted I spent most of my senior year weekends doing Rocky Horror at the local cinema. Since I love horror flicks and the Cinegore sounds like an awesome place to spend summer nights this tale was right up my alley. In this story the Cinegore is closing forever so Kevin has one last shot to ask out Dany. Creepy things begin to happen when they show an infamous and potentially cursed film on the last night. This was ridiculous and silly, and yet fun like most old school schlock is for me.

Sick Pleasures: For A and U // Francesca Lia Block I meets a boy called A and the story reflects her thoughts and feelings about their brief relationship. I liked that not all relationships are rainbows and puppies. There are some that are brief and painful, white hot and addicting. There are some that linger. The writing style was a bit jarring and confusing for me which brought me out of the story a lot. Not my favorite.

In Ninety Minutes, Turn North // Stephanie Perkins I don’t want to give too much away but I recognized our lead couple immediately. Marigold and North first appeared in My True Love Gave To Me and it was one of my favorite stories of the Holiday collection. We meet them again, but things have changed slightly. It was so sweet and adorable. Gave me the feels.

Souvenirs // Tim Federle Matt and Keith are breaking up today. Summer is over after all and they agreed on this when they started their little summer affair. Except what happens when one of them doesn’t want it to end? I liked the Amusement park setting, another summer staple. Great ending and completely sweet and adorable.

Inertia // Veronica Roth Claire gets woken up in the middle of the night to go to the hospital where her ex-best friend is fighting for his life after an accident. Since he is not conscious and expected to survive, Claire is the first to share his memories and get a chance to say goodbye…his last visitation. This was amazing. I loved everything about it. It felt real and personal and damn it, it also made me cry. Actual tears. It made this entire collection worthwhile for me. I loved the memories they had for each other, the pain of grief and depression…Whoa, talk about the feels. This makes up for Allegiant in so many ways. Write more things like this Veronica. Please. Sigh. So good. ‘Don’t go.’

Love is the Last Resort // Jon Skovron At a summer resort the couples begin to form or break apart. This was ridiculous and not in a good way. Each character is a stereotype. I think he was trying for a modern Oscar Wilde like romantic comedy where couples form and hijinks ensue. This was not for me though. It fell flat unfortunately.

Good Luck and Farewell // Brandy Colbert Rashida’s closest friend and cousin, Audrey, is moving away to live with her girlfriend Gillian leaving a big gaping hole in Rashida’s life. When the family throws Audrey a farewell shindig Rashida meets Gillian’s brother Pierre. The sparks fly. A little uneven in places, but nice.

Brand New Attraction // Cassandra Clare Lulu Darke runs the Carnival of Mystery, Magic, and that Which is Better Unseen after her dad mysteriously took off and disappeared. She needs help, but the help she gets is not exactly what she asked for. Ah the summer carnival except City of Bones style. I have not read any of Cassandra Clare’s books before, but I do hope they are a little better in long form. I loved the description of the slightly strange and macabre carnival. It is one I would totally go to. But trying to cram a believable romance in 30 pages did not work. At all. Also why do so many of Clare’s romances have to be all weird and forbidden in nature? I can’t really fully root for two characters who are cousins, but not blood related. It’s weird. Didn’t quite work for me.

A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong // Jennifer E Emith A romance begins to form between Annie, a camp counselor, and Griffin, a shy and withdrawn young man. There was more to this story than just the cute and sweet romance. Really good and I would read something else by Smith in an instant.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things // Lev Grossman Time stands still for mark and Margaret in the suburbs of Boston. It was cute and a great way to end the anthology. I have not read anything by Grossman, though the Magicians is in my TBR pile. It was a little like a Groundhog Day romance. One that just made me smile.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. Great Beach read.

Part of: Stand Alone Anthology

Also Recommended: Try Stephanie’s other themed anthology My True Love Gave to Me. Other great anthologies include Press Play To Start, Zombies versus Unicorns, CarniePunk, and the Poison Eaters.

3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

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