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Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories

Review

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories

From bestselling author Stephanie Perkins comes the heartwarming collection SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS: 12 LOVE STORIES, a breakthrough in modern short story telling. Ms. Perkins is certainly not new to the anthology scene, as she has also edited MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: 12 Holiday Love Stories. Perkins and the other amazing authors of this anthology definitely know what they’re doing as this book is quite possibly one of the greatest collections I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

In this anthology, each story is in its own little world, and there is definitely something for everyone. This anthology truly puts the reality of romance at its forefront. There are LGBT couples, stories without a happy ending and discussions of mental illness in relationships and so much more. Because each story in this collection is so unique, each one deserves its own mini-review.

"This anthology truly puts the reality of romance at its forefront. There are LGBT couples, stories without a happy ending and discussions of mental illness in relationships and so much more."

“Head, Scales, Tongue, and Tail” by Leigh Bardugo. This story was one of my favorites. It has a touch of fantasy to it, as two teenagers bond over trying to prove the existence of a mysterious lake monster. It was wonderful to see such a romance blossom and to see the main character grow and develop so smoothly.

“End of Love” by Nina Lacour. This was a very fun story with a clever premise. The main character decides to re-take a geometry class over the summer. Coincidentally, her love interest is also in the class. I loved the diversity of the characters, but this story goes by in a flash and doesn’t have enough buildup.

“Last Night at the Cinegore” by Libba Bray. This story was a bit odd, but in a good way. In this segment, readers are introduced to a boy named Kevin, who can’t work up the nerve to talk to his crush, Dani, as they work the last shift at The Cinegore, a theater that only shows horror movies. The story is a beautifully blended cocktail of horror, romance and magical realism.

“Sick Pleasures: For A and U” by Francesca Lia Block. This story starts with a girl named U who meets a boy named A, then follows their brief relationship. Although it felt a bit rushed, this story shows that even the shortest relationships can be full of meaning. There is a mention of drug usage and sex in this story, but it is still very tasteful.

“In Ninety Minutes, Turn North” by Stephanie Perkins. This was a great story. It is a continuation of a story from Perkins’ other anthology. It was nice to see what the characters were up to in July, and their love will melt anyone’s heart.

“Souvenirs” by Tim Federle. This story follows two boys on the day of their breakup. Although the story doesn’t have a happy ending, it was nice to see how even the last moments of a relationship can be beautiful. I loved the inclusion of diverse characters in this story as well.

“Inertia” by Veronica Roth. Here, bestselling Roth converts the romance genre into one she’s more familiar with, creating a lovely blend of styles. The story features a couple in a hospital room exploring each other’s memories and realizing how much they mean to each other. It was a beautiful and heartwarming take on the theme.

“Love Is the Last Resort” by Jon Skovron. This story is set in a country club, where each character embodies a particular high school stereotype --- and they are all secretly in love with each other. The story has a strange writing style, but an incredible ending.

“Good Luck and Farewell” by Brandy Colbert. Overall a very family-oriented story. It blends into the rest of the stories into this anthology, and wasn’t too memorable. However, it was racially diverse and that was very nice to see.

“Brand New Attraction” by Cassandra Clare. Although the story felt a bit rushed, the author really stands out. Clare successfully brings in aspects of both magic realism and romance in just under 30 pages. Although I sensed some too-good-to-be-true insta-love, it was no matter as the overall story was amazing and well-written.

“A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong” by Jennifer E. Smith. This short take on romance was absolutely adorable. It is about two people who fall in love at a summer camp and is dripping with warm and fuzzy feelings --- the perfect addition for this sort of anthology. I just loved this story.

“The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” by Lev Grossman. Perkins definitely saved the best for last with this one. It is about a boy and a girl who are stuck in a time loop together. As they come to terms with their situation, they find that life’s little moments are just as beautiful and special as the huge, celebratory events.

All in all this was a lovely collection and the perfect book to help any teen kick off their summer reading. I so hope that Perkins returns with another anthology soon!

Reviewed by Vaishnavi S., Teen Board Member on May 9, 2016

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories
by Stephanie Perkins