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.
Title: Summer Days & Summer Nights
Editor: Stephanie Perkins
Number of Pages: 384
Publishing Date: May 17th, 2016
Summer Days and Summer Nights is a collection of short young adult romance stories set during the summertime, written by twelve different authors, and edited together by one of my favorite contemporary authors, Stephanie Perkins. This is the second book in an anthology series that began with the short story collection My True Love Gave to Me, which was set during the winter. I really, really loved My True Love Gave to Me because each story was distinctly different and, while there were a couple of stories that I didn’t enjoy as much as I would’ve liked to, most of the stories were really adorable and well-written. I had my hopes set fairly high for this short story collection and, while I did enjoy some of the stories, the overall impact that this anthology had on me disappointed me quite a bit. There were some stories that were adorable and cute, and then there were others that either left me confused or uninterested. In other words, this collection was really hit-and-miss for me.
The rest of this review is spoiler-free.
“Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail”
by Leigh Bardugo
I’m going to be honest, this story was the reason that it took me so long to finally dive into this collection. I tried to read this all the way back in June and this story had me really confused, so I gave up on this anthology altogether. However, when I picked this book back up a couple of days ago, I was determined to read every story because it always takes at least a few pages to really dive into a story. I’m really glad I gave this story another chance because I ended up really enjoying it! I really liked Leigh Bardugo’s writing style and I appreciated the quick supply of background information and story development. While I didn’t grow super attached to the characters in this story and I kind of predicted what was going to be revealed in the end, I did like seeing where the author took the plot and, in the end, I found myself quite fond of this story.
“Some of us wear our hearts. Some of us carry them.”
“The End of Love”
by Nina LaCour
While this story wasn’t my favorite out of the collection, I did love the diversity of this story. This was an LGBTQ+ story and, while I’ve never read any of Nina LaCour’s writing before, I’m really considering picking up one of her books after reading this one. This story was cute and adorable, but I didn’t really grow attached to the characters that much.
“We were not always happy, but we were always us.”
“Last Stand at the Cinegore”
by Libba Bray
This story was eccentric and strange and confusing, but I still think that I kind of enjoyed it…? I had high hopes for this story, especially considering how much I love stories with horror and mystery, but it fell kind of flat for me. There was a lot of crazy stuff that happened within just a few pages and I have really mixed feelings about it all, but I enjoyed the author’s writing style a lot and I thought that her story was definitely unique and original.
“I get it,” Dani said, surprising me. “When you watch one of these old movies in a place like this, you’re connected to everybody else who’s ever watched it. You can practically feel them around you.”
by Francesca Lia Block
This was probably my least favorite story from this anthology. I almost DNFed it a few times for numerous reasons; the characters were referred to by their first initial instead of their first name and it confused me a lot, the pace was fairly slow, and the romance felt more like a plot device than an actual blossoming theme throughout the story.
“Words will be the answer. They always were.”
“In Ninety Minutes, Turn North”
by Stephanie Perkins
This story was my favorite from this collection, which isn’t surprising at all because it was written by Stephanie Perkins. This was a continuation of Stephanie’s short story from My True Love Gave to Me, “It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown”, and it follows the story of Marigold and North six months after the events of the first short story and GAH, I absolutely adored this so much. I don’t know how Stephanie Perkins does it, but within these two short stories, I’ve grown really attached to these two characters and I’m left wanting more of their story. This story was funny, sweet, and it showed the obvious character development within both characters.
“And when, at last, they pulled apart—minutes, hours, days, years, a lifetime later—it was clear. They were finally traveling in the same direction.”
by Tim Federle
I liked this story more than a few others, but it wasn’t really one of my favorites. The writing style was enjoyable but the overall plot fell kind of flat for me. I wasn’t a big fan of Keith’s character and, funny enough, my favorite character from this story was Matt’s mom. With all of that being said, I really enjoyed the ending and it lifted my rating of the story from three stars to three and a half stars.
“Love is my family’s currency. We spend love like it’s money, like we’re the richest people in the world.”
by Veronica Roth
I’ve read many mixed reviews regarding this story, but I absolutely loved it. Leave it to Veronica Roth to come up with an intricate science-fiction premise that was unique enough to interest me immensely but simple enough for it to be explained so thoroughly in such a short amount of pages. I loved how much emotion was shown throughout this story and the context behind why one of the main characters acted a certain way or said certain things was brilliantly explained as the story went on and, in the end, I really grew to love both of the main characters. This was definitely one of my favorite stories within this collection.
“Some people might leave you,” he said, for once ignoring a joke in favor of something real. “But it doesn’t mean you’re worth leaving. It doesn’t mean that at all.”
“Love is the Last Resort”
by Jon Skovron
After reading “Inertia” and loving it so much, this story definitely fell flat for me. I know that when it comes to an anthology full of short stories with romance, there is bound to be some insta-love. But this story contained a lot of it. I didn’t feel a connection to any of the characters, nor did I really care for the story itself. There was a lot of dramatics within the dialogue and instead of adding a certain flair to the characters, it just made the story seem even more unrealistic than it already was.
“Because if we are all fools, then perhaps there is some wisdom in falling in love.”
“Good Luck and Farewell”
by Brandy Colbert
This story fell somewhere in the middle of being enjoyable and being a bit boring for me. I liked the plot itself, but the characters are what I didn’t really enjoy from this story. Again, the insta-love in this story was a bit too quick. However, I did appreciate where the author took the story with this overall theme that displayed that you shouldn’t judge someone, especially without knowing their story first.
“As my lips meet his for a second kiss, I think maybe saying good-bye isn’t all bad. Maybe it means I’m making room for someone new.”
“Brand New Attraction”
by Cassandra Clare
As soon as I learned that Cassandra Clare was going to have a short story in this novel, I was ecstatic. I’ve never read something written by her that wasn’t set in the Shadowhunter world, so this gave me the opportunity to see what other types of stories she could come up with. While this story had it’s moments that confused me, I ended up really enjoying it overall. I loved the creepy carnival setting and the plot was really unique. However, I found myself wishing that the story (and the ending in particular) was a bit darker and creepier.
“People come to shows like ours to be scared, yeah. But they also come to live. To feel magic. No regular hick circus will give you that. They come to feel brave, like they’d faced the dark forces.”
“A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong”
by Jennifer E. Smith
This story was another favorite from this anthology. I absolutely loved the romantic development between the two main characters and there were a few plot revelations that took me by surprise and made me appreciate this story even more because of the diversity of it. I don’t want to say what happens because not knowing anything about this story before reading it really made me love it even more, but I will say that I loved the characters and the plot of this story a lot!
“There are still about a thousand ways this could all go wrong. But there are a thousand different ways this could go right, too. And for the moment, none of the rest of it matters. It’s just him and me. Me and him. The two of us.”
“The Map of Tiny Perfect Things”
by Lev Grossman
I think that this story was really well-written and developed nicely, but I just couldn’t fully immerse myself in the plot. I liked the characters and the whole premise behind this story was really intriguing, but I don’t know, I just ended up having mixed feelings regarding the story as a whole.
“I thought about what time is, how we’re being broken every second, we’re losing moments all the time, leaking them away like a stuffed animal losing its stuffing, until one day they’re all gone and we lose everything. Forever. And then, at the same time, we’re gaining seconds, moment after moment. Every one is a gift, until at the end of our lives we’re sitting on a rich hoard of moments.”
Overall, while this was a really good anthology, I still think that I enjoyed My True Love Gave to Me a lot more. Nonetheless, there were a few stand-out stories within this collection that I really loved, with my favorites being “In Ninety Minutes, Turn North” by Stephanie Perkins, “Inertia” by Veronica Roth, “Brand New Attraction” by Cassandra Clare, and “A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong” by Jennifer E. Smith! I think it’d be really awesome if another anthology was released next year and I’m keeping my hopes set on an Autumn/Halloween-esque anthology because young adult contemporary-ish stories mixed with a bit of mystery, horror, and thrill would definitely be right up my alley!
So, have any of you read this anthology? What did you think of it? Which stories were your favorites and which were your least favorites? Comment below!