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.
Head, Scales, Tongue Tail by Leigh Bardugo (5/5): Definitely my favorite among everything. This was the second story I read and I knew that nothing would top it. I read it again immediately after finishing it and my feelings for it never abated. If asked who I’d elope with in fantasy/paranormal YA amidst all odds, I’d definitely answer Eli from this story. SERIOUSLY, YOU GUYS, THIS STORY IS HANDS DOWN SO GOOD AND FEELSSSS. This story gave me similar feelings to what Laini Taylor’s story in the previous anthology elicited in me. It’s so hard to explain why I just love this one but the characters just got me. And I have a weakness for mermaids and anything and everything water. After I read this story, I knew that I wouldn’t ever let go of my copy of this book and that even if every story sucked, I wouldn’t care because this anthology gave me this.
The End of Love by Nina LaCour (3/5): This is the lone F/F romance in here (oh, although there’s a supporting F/F romance in Good Luck and Farewell) and I’m a bit sad (sad face) that I didn’t love it. It is also the first work of Nina LaCour I have read although I have all of her books. #bookhoarder I still found the story compelling as our main character was also dealing with the divorce of her parents, hence, the title of the story. Divorce is usually nasty but in here, we see her parents to be somewhat happier and not fighting, choosing to let go of everything they own. Which understandably upsets her because she’s losing her home too. The characters were diverse although aside from our protagonist, the other characters (and even the love interest) were not as dimensional as I’d like although I guess that’s not surprising because this is only a short story.
Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray (4/5): Give me a pining guy as a main character who can’t tell his dream girl that she’s the love of his life and I will surely love him. And the story. This has one and I just enjoyed it all throughout, especially the plot and the main character. I mean, a haunted movie which turn its watchers into the undead? Set in a theater that only shows horror films endearingly called the Cinegore? Our brand of misfits working at the Cinegore battling the undead with vats and vats of popcorn butter? GOLD GOLD GOLD. Can this be an actual film? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block (2/5): So obviously, I found this meh. It isn’t exactly a romance so there’s that. Calling the characters by initials also distanced them from me and the general voice and tone of the narrating main character distanced me as well. Overall, I just felt no connection with any of the characters or cared enough for the plot. This is my first from Francesca Lia Block and although I have heard great things about her books, I don’t think I’ll be checking out her other works.
In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins (4/5): This is the sequel to Stephanie’s short story in her previous anthology. HELLO AGAIN MARIGOLD MOON LING AND NORTH DRUMMOND! While It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown was made up of so much fluff and kissy-kiss scenes, this story dealt with fallout of a relationship as Marigold and North broke up. In this short, Marigold meets North again after their break-up as ~friends~ and they end up talking out whatever happened that led to their break-up and OF COURSE, they get together in the end. HIHIHI. This short didn’t give me ultra-shippy feels like the previous one but I loved how it delved on realistic issues couples in a long-distance relationship face.
Souvenirs by Tim Federle (4/5): Oh, this was different in that our protagonist and his love interest (M/M romance ftw!) were already together at the start of the story and are actually planning to break up on this date they have initially decided on. While we already know that they’re breaking up in the end, this story ended up in a hopeful and light note. I love how this one featured a break-up and that break-ups are part of getting into relationships. Of romance. Still, the romance was so cute (LIKE IT IS SUPER CUTE, YOU GUYS) and it’s set in an amusement park!
Inertia by Veronica Roth (2/5): The world-building and the science in this story were clunky and I couldn’t get into it because of that. Moreover, I also didn’t care for the protagonist because I couldn’t connect with her. I really slugged through this one. While reading it, I just wanted it to end. For once, I also didn’t appreciate the happy ending HAHAHA
Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron (4/5): LOVELY LOVELY LOVELY. DELIGHTFUL DELIGHTFUL DELIGHTFUL. I just had so much fun and glee in reading this one. It was a tad bit over-the-top but that was the point as it was written like Shakespearean comedy and I just adored it so much!
Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert (3/5): Diverse! Although I didn’t have as much feelings while reading this but the ship was cuuuuuuuuuuute, you guys. It was a bit hate-to-love so YAS YAS YAS. I liked the characters and the growth of the protagonist and the overall story but it wasn’t just that memorable for me, hence the 3 stars.
Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare (4/5): This is the first work of Cassandra Clare so I was pretty nervous. On one hand, I still want to read her The Infernal Devices trilogy so I want to like this one but on the other hand, a small part of me wanted to not like this one so I won’t have to ever try her books ever. But look what happened! I love how the story had dark elements to it (I mean, they are just casually talking about demons and whatnot) but it was actually light and shippy too. More than the characters, it was actually the plot that hooked me with this one. I mean, I enjoyed the characters so much but I just found the taking-over-the-circus plot so much interesting because of the demons HIHIHI
A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith (4/5): This is the first story I read and Jen can never write anything wrong for me. It features a love interest with Asperger’s syndrome and a kid who’s on the spectrum as well. My brother has mild autism and I think I am predisposed to loving anything featuring a character on the spectrum. I love how there’s no pity involved in here, just understanding. That everyone deserves love and will be loved, no matter if you find it difficult to look someone in the eye or interrupt almost always. I love the Annie’s emotional arc as well, about having always putting on a strong front and knowing that she doesn’t have to do that. I just love Jennifer E. Smith and her works. She never goes wrong. 🙂
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman (5/5): What a tiny perfect thing this story was. I loved Mark’s voice and the plot was A+ too. I love all the science dropped just so casually in there, with references to Flatland and Littlewood’s law and I ended up being obsessed with hypercubes for two days after reading this one. But honestly? It was just magical. And the perfect story to end this anthology. I had a big smile on my face while and after reading this one. It’s the kind of story that will make you believe in all the small things and how cheesy is this, that love is there for you. HAHAHA
And I have verged into the land of cheesiness so let‘s end this review right about now. I recommend this anthology but I’d just like to tell you that do not expect a lot! I think you’d enjoy reading one story a day or something and not binge it all at once.