Book Buddies is a discussion-style review that takes place with one of my two buddies. (Learn more and see past reviews here) We both read the book and then have a private discussion about it. We post our discussion as a review on the last Wednesday of each month. You’ll be able to see our similar/different opinions on the overall book, characters, writing style, etc. – just like a regular review. The first half our discussion will take place right here, and the second half will be on Cristina’s blog! (Link at the bottom)
Summer Days & Summer Nights 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
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Macmillan on May 17th 2016
Also by this author: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After, My True Love Gave To Me, There's Someone Inside Your House, Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising, Six of Crows, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic, Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Crooked Kingdom , King of Scars, A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, The Sweet Far Thing, Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft, The Disenchantments, Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet, This Is What Happy Looks Like, Happy Again, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Windfall, Field Notes on Love
Format: Hardcover (400 pages) • Source: Purchased
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
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.
View Cristina’s part of the discussion here.
As we did in our previous anthology discussion, we split up and alternated the stories. Here you’ll find the even-numbered stories; on Cristina’s blog you’ll find the odd-numbered stories! We’ll discuss each one at a really high level here and share ratings (individually and overall). Even though the average for all of the stories ends up being around 3.7 stars for me, I have to round all the way down to 3 stars. Not a lot of them left a great impression on me and I was overall more disappointed than happy. The anthology was less season-based and more… weird… than I wanted it to be. I was hoping for a book full of summery contemporaries, with a few other unique ones mixed in, but I got too many meh stories that didn’t meet what I wanted. Womp womp.
The End of Love by Nina LaCour
Lauren: I liked this one! I was a little nervous about the title because it implied some kind of unhappy ending maybe, but that wasn’t the case. I think there was a decent amount of development for a short story too. There was some family “drama” happening, an old crush coming back, and getting close to new friends. I would definitely have read more of this story, or a full length version! That’s a good sign for me usually 😉 And of course I’ll mention that it was nice to see an LGBT story (one of a couple in here!).
Cristina: I really liked the inclusion of an LGBT story early on in the anthology. It really didn’t feel forced, and I liked that it focused on strong friendships too. I also loved how the characters were so into camping. My family used to camp a lot (we haven’t now in years) but it totally captured that feeling and brought back those memories for me. The issue I had with this story was that I wanted more background on what the MC was going though with her family issues. For example, it very briefly had a flashback of her mother trying to blame the MC’s coming out on adding stress to her parents’ marriage and I think that was a really important, formative moment for the protagonist but it was sort of glazed over.
Sick Pleasures by Francesca Lia Block
Lauren: I had come to the conclusion, from seeing other reviews, that there are a few not-as-fluffy summer stories in here. This definitely qualifies. I used words like “depressing” and “sad” in my quick Goodreads reaction so that kind of implies what type of story it is. I don’t know – I didn’t like the characters, didn’t understand why there were letters instead of names, and didn’t like how the story ended. I thought the setting of the dance club was kind of cool but not really enough to do anything for me.
Cristina: I am so glad I am not the only one who felt this way about this story. I really didn’t like how vague it was about such important elements (such as what you mentioned, with everyone having a letter as a name). It struck me as trying really hard to be literary, but it didn’t quite get there, perhaps because there wasn’t enough context? I was also sort of shocked at what a downward spiral the protagonist went down toward the end. Depressing is definitely the right word for this one.
Souvenirs by Tim Federle
Lauren: I really enjoyed this one. This was another nice LGBT story except with a M/M romance. The main character had a super distinct voice and felt like a real person, despite the short length. I wasn’t sure what to expect because it seemed like it would end in a depressing way… but I ended up being really happy with how it turned out! Without giving anything away, I think the ending made sense. I was interested in Federle’s other book that just came out already, but this story piqued my interest a little more.
Cristina: I thought this one was both cute and poignant! I think we all had that relationship where we were dating someone who was a jerk but were blinded by our inexperience and how much we were attracted to them. I agree, I loved the protagonist’s voice and I like how though he was a male protagonist I felt like I could really crawl into his head and empathize with his emotions.
Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron
Lauren: I kind of loved this one even though it was a bit weird! I loved the hotel/resort setting because I was CRAVING another summery story in this collection. The writing felt kind of formal, but I know that a lot of it was due to the super rich people staying at the resort and the way the author had them speak. I thought the style was kind of fun and the ending, while cheesy, was pretty cute. For a short summer story, this was definitely refreshing and entertaining.
Cristina: Agreed, I loved the resort setting and the eccentric cast of absurd rich people (it sort of reminded me of a game of CLUE come to life, with all of the stereotypes). At first I though the writing style was kind of fun, but later it started to seem presumptuous to me and by the end I was pretty annoyed by it. It definitely helped to give that SUMMER vibe since a lot of the stories in this collection really didn’t feel like they definitively took place in the summer.
Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare
Lauren: I can’t stop thinking about how this collection should have more light summery stories. However, I ended up really enjoying this one! I’ve never read a Cassandra Clare book so this was my first foray into her writing. I thought it had a cool setting (dark carnival), fun characters (Lulu and Lucas – kind of lame to have matching names though LOL), and some interesting twists. I think for a short story it was pretty well-developed and definitely unique. I would totally read a larger version of this.
Cristina: So I’ve actually read a LOT of Cassie Clare’s books, so it was almost shocking to read something that wasn’t about Shadowhunters by her. I REALLY loved the dark carnival setting, and she really got the carny-culture across. However I found the plot elements to be super predictable and I couldn’t really get into the romance, so toward the end I became bored. I think this was a story that really could have flourished as a full length novel, where the setting could have been explored more and the characters more developed.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman
Lauren: I’m a huge fan of time-related books and talk about this concept ALL THE TIME. I always think about what I would do if I had the ability to stop time. This story has a lot of fun with that concept and I really enjoyed it. I felt like obviously the concept could have been explained a little more, but it just has that small magical realism/paranormal kind of element to it. I liked the characters and thought their map of tiny perfect things was WAY too cute.
Cristina: This story was really cute! I really enjoyed the writing style, and it actually made me warm up to the topic. I feel like I’ve seen waaaay too many made for tv movies about someone having to repeat the same day over and over again, and they usually drive me crazy. However, instead of focusing on the repetitive elements, this story really showed the magic in focusing on the amazing, small, everyday things that occur that are wonders in and of themselves, and I love that the characters’ situations forced them to change their perspective. I would definitely read more by this author!