Published by St. Martin's Griffin on May 17, 2016
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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.
Despite loving some of the authors, I struggled with My True Love Gave to Me when that first came out – I have a bizarre and strong aversion to all things christmassy, it’s a whole thing that I’m not going to get into. But because of my meh experience with the holiday anthology, I never picked up its warmer counterpart. Boy oh boy, I was missing out! There is a lot to like about Summer Days and Summer Nights. There is a really diverse group of characters across stories, and none of them feel like forced inclusions (which happens all too often in popular YA for my taste). The romances are sweet and heartwarming, fluffy and yet full of substance. And the range of stories, gosh – from folklore to horror and everything in between. The premise reminds me very much of my creative writing classes in college. These authors were all told to write a summer love story, and what they came up with is quite special.
“Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail” by Leigh Bardugo 5/5
“The End of Love” by Nina LaCour 3/5
“Last Stand at the Cinegore” by Libba Bray 4/5
“Sick Pleasures” by Francesca Lia Block 2/5
“In Ninety Minutes, Turn North” by Stephanie Perkins 4/5
“Souvenirs” by Tim Federle 2/5
“Inertia” by Veronica Roth 5/5
“Love Is the Last Resort” by Jon Skovron 2/5
“Good Luck and Farewell” by Brandy Colbert 3/5
“Brand New Attraction” by Cassandra Clare 3/5
“A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong” by Jennifer E. Smith 3/5
“The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” by Lev Grossman 4/5
“Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail” by Leigh Bardugo was my favorite story of the bunch, and I say this as one of the rare YA readers who is not into all things Grishaverse. I would suggest picking up this anthology just to read this story alone, it is that excellent. There is something so familiar about this story, like a retelling of all the water folk tales, but it’s also wholly new with the most magical ending. All. The. Stars.
“Last Stand at the Cinegore” by Libba Bray was a complete surprise. It was like Marisha Pessl’s Night Film meets “Kindred Spirits” by Rainbow Rowell – which I know is like saying ketchup and mac n’ cheese…BRB. Yeah that was a brilliant example confirmed by science. This story just really worked for me when it probably shouldn’t have. My first Libba Bray and I’m not disappointed.
“Inertia” by Veronica Roth is straight out of Black Mirror with a very strong 13 Reasons Why vibe. I *almost* skipped to the next story at the very beginning, but by the end was quietly crying at my desk. I definitely did not expect to be moved to quite this degree. Ooph, so many freaking feels and a really powerful message about depression.
“The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” by Lev Grossman…modern Groundhog Day anyone? Ok, something weird about me – being stuck in an endless time loop is among my worst nightmares. Yeah, I know the probability of this happening is like zilch, but still the thought seriously freaks me out. Unlike the movie, this story was sweet. I kind of love the idea of being able to read everything on your bonus days and going hunting for perfect moments in the endlessness.
If you’re treating yourself to the Romance Package on Audible (which you really should be!) opt for this one on audio. Each story is read by a different narrator adding a cherry on top to the collection.