Review: Summer Days, Summer Nights by Stephanie Perkins

Summer Days, Summer Nights Stephanie Perkins
Summer Days, Summer Nights Stephanie Perkins cover

Title: Summer Days, Summer Nights 
Author: Various authors 
Edited by: Stephanie Perkins 
Series: Stand-alone 
Genre: Romance, Contemporary & Fantasy/Paranormal 
Publication date: May 17, 2016 
Rating: ★★★½ 

This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. Includes: Leigh Bardugo, Nina LaCour, Libba Bray, Francesca Lia Block, Stephanie Perkins, Tim Federle, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, Brandy Colbert, Cassandra Clare, Jennifer E Smith, Lev Grossman.

Love can be so strange and sad. 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.

I gave this book the same rating as My True Love Gave To Me, but I think I may have liked this one better. Like the winter edition, I loved certain stories to bits and really hated others. But overall this book had a certain melancholic vibe to it that I deeply appreciated. Not everything was ‘happy’, a lot definitely wasn’t ‘fluffy’. It was less obviously feel-good than I expected. There was also less morality. This time around not every story was meant to teach you a ‘lesson’. But I did feel like some stories really didn’t belong in this book. When you publish a book with a baby blue cover, a bright yellow sun and tiny pink hearts - it basically SCREAMS fluffy summer romance. Some of these entries really didn’t fit in that category and so I think either there should have been a different cover/title, or the stories should have been published elsewhere. There were too many supernatural components when really this should have been (mostly) contemporary. In my opinion.


★ ★ ★

This one was weird. I’m not sure if I even liked it. It started out with a kind of lonely girl, Gracie, spotting a sort of sea monster in her lake. She doesn’t really believe that’s what it is, but she starts researching it anyway and gets the help from a guy called Eli. He is a little odd, but she likes his company and together they spend the rest of that summer searching for answers. The next summer, the search for the monster long since forgotten, they meet up again. And the next one. Until slowly they fall in love with each other… Up until here I thought it was cute. But then people started turning into to sea creatures and getting scales and growing tails and everything just got really weird. I usually love Leigh Bardugo and her writing, but I’m afraid this time I’ll have to pass.

★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 

This was a really good story. The perfect example that a story really doesn’t need to be ‘spectacular’ to be great. In terms of action, not all that much happens. But even over these short thirty pages the author managed to create a surprising amount of depth. The main character was interesting and relatable. The romance sweet and honest. Flora’s home situation was painful and I felt sorry for her. She seemed lonely and hurt. A new group of friends (and especially Mimi) help her find her place again. Yes, this was definitely surprising in a good way. I might just check out what Nina Lacour has more to offer.

★ 

Okay I’m calling it. Enough with the supernatural already. This is just not the kind of book. You know what, this story started out great. Contemporary, but a bit different with the main characters working at a vintage horror theatre. They were interesting and anything but mainstream. I liked them instantly.. But god THIS STORY. I hate when a short part like this starts out %100 contemporary and then all of is sudden is not. It just doesn’t work in a book called ‘Summer Days, Summer Nights’ with a bright yellow sun and tiny pink hearts on the cover. There was a freaking ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE in this one. And not a good one. More like a Scary Movie-level zombie story. In other circumstances I may have been down for this kind of tale, but this is so not what I signed up for when I picked up this book. On to the next and hopefully a better one.

★ ★ ★ 

I strangely liked this one. There is a very old-school and melancholic vibe running through it although not a happy one. I appreciated the atmosphere surrounding it. The main character is insecure and impulsive and she goes with whatever the moment brings her, even if it that’s obviously not the right path to follow. When she meets A he shows her something of what life could be if she let it. Which she doesn’t. There’s too much going on in her life and she hasn’t learned to love herself enough to commit. Even when she realises that she misses A, that she would be so much happier with him – she lets him slip away. Sick pleasure.

★ ★ ★  ½

The long-awaited return of North and Marigold. I was really curious to find out what had become of them after their lovely romance in My True Love Gave To Me. Imagine my disappointment when I found out they had broken up. WHAT? But this wouldn’t be Summer Days, Summer Nights if the stories weren’t going to have any romance so I didn’t fear too much. This was actually a really lovely sequel. Very honest and vulnerable - not pretentious at all. Marigold and North are extremely likable characters and Stephanie Perkins knows how to write compelling romance.

★ ★ ★ 

I should probably start by saying that I didn’t like the main characters very much. Not Kieth, not Matty. But - there was just something about this story that drew me in from the very first sentence. And that was the writing. This story has such an easy flow and is laced with so much sarcasm and irony that I ended up having a lot of fun. Plus, the characters were creative. I may not have liked them all that much but they were different and I can always appreciate that. Also, bonus points for the ending.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Oh, I was skeptical at first - but... I have no words. I’m… speechless. Completely overwhelmed. This is the best writing I’ve encountered in a really long time. I… Just read it for yourself.

★ ★ ★ ★ ½

I adored this. It was so much fun. Imagine a high-class summer resort full of rich, obnoxious people. Then add a couple of staff people looking at everything going on with their sceptic eyes. When that staff tries to mingle in the lives of the residents, it makes for a lot of interesting events. This story was hilarious. It’s satiric, sarcastic and written in such a humorous way that I couldn’t help but love it. The characters and the plot are stereotypical but that’s exactly what this story needed.

★ ★ 

This one was just okay. The characters are nice enough, the plot is decent and I guess it’s one of the more plausible stories in this book. But it didn’t make my heart beat faster and so I didn’t end up loving it. Pity. It’s about a girl whose best friend/cousin decides to move away with her girlfriend. That makes her completely miserable, she just can’t be happy for her friend. When she meets the girlfriend’s brother she dislikes him at first. But then she realizes they might have more in common than she thinks and one thing leads to another… See? Completely realistic and solid. Just not a life changing story.

★ 

This was just plain terrible. I have this overall feeling of ‘trying too hard’. The story is set at a freakshow carnival and while this definitely could have been interesting, it just feel like too much here. I couldn’t appreciate it. Maybe it was because the occurring events were completely ridiculous. The story was clearly intended to be ‘tense’, ‘mysterious’ and obviously ‘romantic’ but in my opinion it wasn’t either of those things. It felt like a bad children’s story. The demons were anything but scary, I figured out the entire plot really early on and there was no chemistry between the characters at all. Cassandra Clare sells millions of books - she should just be glad her success doesn’t depend on this short story.

★ ★ ★  ½

I’m a bit conflicted when it comes to this story. Annie, the main character, works at a children’s summer camp during the days and falls in love with Griffin every other moment of the day. But getting him to fall for her is not as easy as she would have liked. His behavior isn’t always what you’d expect a guy’s behavior to be. Still, he is really sweet and she likes his honesty. Later, she finds out Griffin has autism and having that secret out in the open almost scares Griffin away. It’s up to her to let him know that she loves him now matter what and that even though there are a thousand ways it could all go wrong, there are also a thousand ways it could go right. I loved a lot of things about this story. I just.. didn’t really feel the magic. And I’m still not sure whether I liked or hated the stereotypes presented.

★  ★ ★  ½

This one definitely gets points for creativity! One day, Mark wakes up only to find that it is the exact same day as the one before. Literally. Somehow time has stopped moving forward and he finds himself in a loop. Yet no one else seems to notice anything. They just keep living the same day over and over in the exact same way. Only after over a month of reliving the same day, does he meet Margaret - the only other person who seems aware of the loop. Together they set out to find the reason behind the malfunction in time and a way to fix it. But to do that, they have to look inside themselves and come to terms with things in they’re life they might not yet be ready to face. Doesn’t this sound awesome? I wish there had been an entire book on it. I liked both Mark and Margaret and I really, really liked the premise. It’s surprisingly deep for such a short story and I totally loved it.

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