REVIEW: Summer Days and Summer Nights by Stephanie Perkins

by - 2:29 PM

“You can spend your life waiting and watching for perfect moments, but sometimes you have to make one happen.”

Back of the book blurb:

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.

A message from the cosmos:

Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781250079121

Available for Purchase:

Overall rating:

So, I did an overall rating of the book as a whole and I’ll do individual ratings as well. I first want to talk about the book as a whole and then, like I said, I’ll go into brief individual reviews!

Summer Days and Summer Nights is Stephanie Perkins’ second anthology and companion to My True Love Gave to Me, which is comprised of 12 winter romances. Summer Days and Summer Nights consists of 12 summer romances. As soon as I found out this novel was going to be a thing I was honestly so excited. We have some amazing authors contributing to this anthology, including Tim Federle, author of The Great American Whatever, which I absolutely loved; Veronica Roth, who everyone knows so I don’t really need to introduce her; Jennifer E. Smith, who writes some of my favorite YA romances. All of the other authors, I hadn’t read before… whoopsie. But I definitely plan on picking up their books after reading their short stories!

Anyway, I think I had way too high of expectations for this novel and that’s why it kind of fell short for me. I honestly just don’t think the book was as cohesive as its winter counterpart. With My True Love Gave to Me, all of the stories surrounded the madness of the holidays, of winter in general, and I think because winter is known for its holidays, the stories all seemed cohesive in that sense. With Summer Days and Summer Nights, there’s so much going on in summer that the stories just kind of seemed all over the place. Kind of like they were just plucked out of thin air.

            Also, I wanted to see more of what summer is known for: fairs, carnivals (which we do get), The Fourth of July, cookouts, camping, parties, etc. And granted, we do get quite a bit of these things, but summer and the themes of summer seem to get put in the background, unlike My True Love Gave to Me where most of the things are happening because it’s winter and the holidays.

            I really did enjoy the fact that a lot of important issues are touched on in these stories—especially LGBTQIA+ issues, which are extremely important to me.

            Overall, Summer Days and Summer Nights is a fun read with some incredible stories, but falls in the shadow of its predecessor My True Love Gave to Me.

Individual Reviews:

Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo – 4/5 stars

“The summer took on a different shape - a desperate, jagged shape, the rise and fall of a dragon’s back. The world felt full of hazards. Every song on every album bristled with portent.”

            I think this was an exceptional opening to the novel. It had a fairy-tale atmosphere and a twist at the end that will leave you reeling. It was very summery and romantic. The characters were fun and interesting and complex. I definitely enjoyed Bardugo’s writing.

The End of Love by Nina Lacour – 4/5 stars

“I thought you were supposed to want to hold on to the pieces of your life. I thought the years that came before were still supposed to matter.”

            An incredible lesbian romance that highlights the effects divorce has on teenagers as well as coming to terms with your sexuality. I loved how fun this story was despite the seriousness of its content. There were some important lessons in this story, yet the reader isn’t bogged down with the seriousness. The story is so sweet and filled with that summer possibility that is evident when it seems like there’s nothing stopping you from conquering the world.

Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray – 5/5 stars

“For several decades, Mr. Scratsche had been Deadwood, Texas’s, favorite urban legend.”

            While more silly and satirical than the previous stories, and even less romantic, I still found this story one of my favorites. I think, mainly, because it just captures summer and the lightheartedness of summer so perfectly. Also, I’m a huge fan of Phantom of the Megaplex if anyone remembers that Disney Channel movie?! And this story reminded me of it so much in a way that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it.

Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block – 4/5 stars

“It can be hard to understand why we run toward certain people and away from others at different times in our lives. Why we search so hard for that thing we are looking for, and then run so fast when we find it.”

            That ending, though! So incredible. And it definitely saved the story for me. This story is about a drug-fuelled summer and the one that got away. And how sometimes, even decades later, you can’t stop thinking about the one that got away. It was weird and fun and very much interesting. (Using only initials for names kind of threw me off.)

In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins – 5/5 stars

“You’ve always been my favorite character.”

            I’ve been waiting for more North and Marigold since 2014 when My True Love Gave to Me first came out. And this story lived up and even exceeded my expectations. I just adore Stephanie’s writing and I really just loved this story. It was so cute and I was glad I got the closure I didn’t get from when we first met North and Marigold. It was so amazing to see North be so damn funny. This story is just incredible. I want an entire novel about North and Marigold, to be honest.

Souvenirs by Tim Federle – 4/5 stars

“Usually I suck at yielding, but tonight I nail it, winding the bend toward the underpass, licking my lips into a guilty pizza grin, and holding my breath when I go through the mountain tunnel that always takes me back home.”

            I really enjoy Tim Federle’s voice, but our protagonist, Matt, sounds a little too much like his main character in The Great American Whatever. That’s the only complaint I have, though. Other than that, this story is filled with glorious dialogue, a “break-up day,” and two boys who haven’t really had a chance to really start their story. It left me wanting and in the best way possible.

Inertia by Veronica Roth – 5/5 stars

“’It was a good story, right?' he said. ‘Our story, I mean.’
‘The best.’”

            If you were hoping for a tearjerker in this anthology, Roth’s short is where you’ll find it. I absolutely loved this story, which is surprising considering it’s the one that’s most sci-fi out of the bunch. I just loved the whole Last Visitation idea where you go through all your memories together. It fits that nostalgic feel that summer always has and the emotions will have you crying in your bed at 2am… or maybe that was just me.

Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron – 3/5 stars

Dear reader, I want to assure you that this is not a story about love or romance, regardless of what you may have read on the cover.”

            I liked this one, I did. But it felt a little too cramped for a short story with how many characters there were. I really enjoyed the hedge maze and kind of wish it played a bigger part than it already did. Also, the ending was very cute! But, again, I think there were too many characters for me to really care about them. And the voices were just too over the top for me to really enjoy any of the dialogue.

Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert – 4/5 stars

“She loves me, but that’s a different kind of love, and it’s not enough to make her stay.”

            Definitely a darker tale than the majority of the anthology, but it is such an important addition. Rashida and her cousin, Audrey, are extremely close, but things change when Audrey announces she’s moving across the country with her girlfriend. This story touches on issues such as grief, race, depression, and ties them all together in a poignant and touching tale.

Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare – 3/5 stars

“It was a perfect summer night, with fireflies blinking in the fields surrounding the carnival.”

            I really liked the concept of this story. I wanted to like it more than I did. It was just way too rushed. I think the concept was too bold for such a short story. I just needed more. And the step-cousin romance isn’t even bothersome to me considering some of the New Adult novels I’ve read… it’s the fact that everything happens so fast and it feels cheesy and just… too much.

A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith – 5/5 stars

“I stand there, watching him: the way he stoops to give Noah a high five, the way he waits so patiently for the others to catch up, the way he looks back at me and smiles, sending a jolt of electricity right through me. And I think, that’s why.

            I love Jennifer E. Smith’s writing so damn much! Her stories are always packed with some of the best romance I have ever read. And the way she executes her stories so flawlessly… I just can’t. And this was no exception. I love Griffin and I love Noah and I love the whole camp atmosphere (even though I wish there was more of it) and it was just a great addition to this anthology.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman – 5/5 stars

“You can spend your life waiting and watching for perfect moments, but sometimes you have to make one happen.”

            Ah! I absolutely loved this retelling (sort of) of Groundhog Day and the fact that the narrator references Groundhog Day is what makes the story acceptable, to be honest. I think this was an exceptional end to Summer Days and Summer Nights. I absolutely loved it. I honestly like how it does seem like sometimes summer days just seem to blur together and while that’s not exactly what’s happening in this story, it kind of alludes to it. The romance was precious and I loved the ending so much.

Happy Reading!

The Cosmic Reader

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