Thursday, June 16, 2016

SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS EDITED BY STEPHANIE PERKINS - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am here today with another review, today it is for the summer short story anthology edited by Stephanie Perkins, Summer Days and Summer Nights. Thanks so much to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book. This review is based on a physical copy I bought myself, prior to reading the eARC. As always, all opinions are my own.


I will start by breaking down my thoughts on each individual story, and then overall, my thoughts on this anthology.

First up is Leigh Bardugo's story. This was a great start to the collection of short stories, and it was such a cute story! This was a story about a river monster and a really cute couple that takes place over three summers, three years. In typical Bardugo fashion, this book had some darker elements, but it was a very sweet story. I will say that at the end I was a teeny bit confused, but overall a cute story! I gave this one 4/5 stars.

Next we have Nina LaCour's story. This was one of the two LGBT stories in this anthology and it was really sweet. LaCour manages to touch on serious topics, such as divorce, and write an adorable f/f story at the same time at the same time! This one had a great summer feel with a group of friends camping together. Another 4/5 stars.

Libba Bray's story is up next, and while I've never read anything by Bray before, I can tell why people enjoy her books. This story was very different, the writing was almost enchanting! It was hilarious story about a small group of friends who worked together at a run down movie theatre, and when they play the final movie, the audience becomes possessed by demons (or something like that, I'm still unsure). Anyways, I loved the feel of this one and the paranormal aspects were crazy! I also gave this one 4/5 stars.

Next is Francesca Lia Block's story, and I'm not sure what to think of this one... It was strange to say the least. None of the characters had names, just A and M. And I'm not really sure what happened in the story, overall. I wasn't sure if it was set in an earlier time, or a weird, present day where people dance to 50s music regularly. The ending is also so weird, I don't know if you could really even call it a love story the way it ended. I would say this is probably the most realistic of the love stories, in terms of the ending, but I'm still only giving it 3/5 stars.

Written by the editor herself, we get a story from Stephanie Perkins. I knew from the beginning that these characters sounded familiar, and I actually had to hop out of bed to check, but they were from the first anthology!! It was such a cute story, but I was kind of sad, you see from pretty much the first paragraph that the characters are broken up, which is not how I wanted the previous 'instalment' of this story to end. However, I fell in love with these characters again, so I give it 4/5 stars!

Tim Federle's story is the other LGBT story in this anthology, but I didn't really like it that much. I think I just didn't like the characters. The love interest, Kieth (yes I spelt that right), really annoyed me and I didn't really enjoy the main character's voice. It was their 'break-up day,' I know, and it just felt like a weird fit for this collection. It was nice to see a m/m story in here though. Unfortunately, I can only give it 2/5 stars because of the characters.

Next is Veronica Roth's story and it was very interesting. Set in an almost futuristic world, I mean, would you expect anything less from Roth, this book deals with two friends who have feelings for each other, but never have the courage to admit them. Overall, this story was so cute, but it also dealt with some serious issues, like depression and death. I liked the concept of the Last Visitation, where you share memories with a dying friend or family member, it was definitely an original idea; I give this one 4/5 stars.

Up next is Jon Skovron's story, which was a very unique story that I quite enjoyed! It might be my favourite of the collection! It had an almost Jesse Andrews feel to it, where the author, although in this case it was a character in the story, was talking directly to the reader, telling us it won't be a love story. This one had a lot of characters, and I really enjoyed each one of them. In the end, there are three couples, one of which is a gay couple, but I wouldn't categorize this as a LGBT story, because the main couple is m/f, but it definitely has lots of LGBT elements. For some reason, I got like an Alice in Wonderland meets Roach Motel vibe, for some weird reason. I'm giving this story a 5/5 stars, because it has so much potential, and I think if it was a full sized novel, I would definitely pick it up and devour it!

Next, Brandy Colbert's story deals with a lot of serious issues, such as death, mental illness and race and discrimination. This one was real and also really sweet. You could really feel for the characters in the story. This one also has some LGBT elements as well. This book also talks about different kinds of love, not just romantic. The main character's mother committed suicide and she talks about how her mother loved her, but still left her. A very moving story that helps diversify this collection, 4/5 stars.

Getting to the end of the anthology is Cassandra Clare's story. This one was interesting, very different than the others. Not sure I loved it though, I didn't really find it to be a love story. There's a run down 'dark' carnival (whatever the heck THAT is...) and some demons and evil things, and then two step-cousins fall in love. It was okay, but I just don't think it was that great, 2/5 stars.

Jennifer E. Smith's story is next up. I always love Smith's romances, they are the perfect cute, fluffy pick me up. This one did not disappoint, it was another super sweet story! This story also dealt with the something that doesn't really get talked about, at least not regularly in any of the books I've been reading, the Autistic spectrum. Not only is one of the minor characters in the story on the spectrum, but one of the love interests has Asperger's. I kind of suspected something along those lines in the story, but it is confirmed closer to the end. It was interesting to read about this topic, and see characters who's struggles go beyond the stereotypes of teens these days. I'm giving this one 4/5 stars.

And finally, Lev Grossman's story. This story was funny and heartfelt at the same time! I really liked the premise behind this one, everyday was August 4th, like Groundhog Day. I really liked the characters and once you find out the reason behind the days not progressing, it may just well crush you. I'm also giving this one 4/5 stars.

So, overall, I really enjoyed this anthology. There was a great mix of premises and storylines. I really liked how there was diversification in both race and sexuality, incorporating a couple LGBT stories as well as elements into the stories. This anthology also deals with serious issues, mental illness, death, race, developmental disorders, etc.

I also think that this collection may even be better that the holiday one, just because there was more freedom here. The authors weren't constricted to a holiday, it was pretty much just a summer romance, they could do whatever they wanted. I do feel like these stories are a better quality as well, I think some of the holiday ones were just meh, and most of these I gave 4/5 stars.

My least favourite story is probably Cassandra Clare's, it just wasn't my thing, maybe other people will like it, if you like her writing, but I didn't find it appealing. My favourite story is definitely Jon Skrovon's. I really wish this was a full length novel, because I would love to read more about these character's backstories, as well as futures. There was a lot of great characters in this story, and I would love to see them again.


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