Review: Summer Days & Summer Nights

Title: Summer Days & Summer Nights
Editor: Stephanie Perkins
Contributing authors: 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.
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Pages: 384 pages
Format and Source: Hardcover (UK Edition), Purchased from Book Depository
Buy it here: Book Depository

Most people don’t see the appeal of short stories because there’s no room for characters to grow. I think the best part about living through a novel is getting to see the development the characters undergo from start to finish and we just don’t get that from a 20 page story. But at the same time, I love short stories because we can really experience an author’s maximum talent in being able to weave intricate lives in such a constrained amount of pages and words. Because I don’t want to spoil any of the stories (which is quite easy to do considering the brevity of each), I’ll instead be including some tags or key words from each story so you can more or less get an idea of what individual story is about.

 Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo – 4/5

Might seem like a slow start for most but I really enjoyed the pace from start to finish and boy, are you in for a twist!

  • Favorite quote: “Some of us wear our hearts. Some of us carry them”
  • Tags: cherry dip cones, old paperbacks, vinyl records and a secret cove
The End of Love by Nina LaCour – 2/5
I liked this story at the beginning and it held a lot of promise but I just feel like these were one of those stories that would have been better as a full length novel. I would have appreciated seeing more growth from the characters because they all seemed very likeable.
  • LGBTQ themes
  • Tags: summer class, geometry, camping, Turkish textiles and tattoos
Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray – 4.5/5
Definitely one of my favorites from the collection as I am a horror junkie myself! I felt like the romance in this complemented the gore in the horror aspect.
  • Favorite quote: “True horror is based on in all that deeply human stuff – sorrow, fear, doubt, anxiety, desire”
  • Tags: vintage theaters, horror movies, demons
Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block – 2.5/5
It was somehow confusing at first and I felt very disconnected from the characters.
  • Favorite quote: “Love can be so strange and sad. Why we search so hard for that thing we are looking for, and then run so fast when we find it. ”
  • Tags: white shirts, mohawks, dance floors and mini skirts
In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins – 3.5/5
I always love Stephanie Perkins’ works but this is again, another story that I wish was in a full length novel instead
  • Favorite quote: “They blinked in the dusk of the setting sun, a reminder that light was a recurring state.”
  • Tags: Marigold, parking lots, funiculars and a mountain
Souvenirs by Tim Federle – 5/5
Really loved this and even the way it ended was symbolic and impacted me in a strong way. It doesn’t hurt that I was able to relate to the narrator, even if I was only able to get to know him in such a short amount of time.
  • Favorite quote: “The thing about scars is that, as much as they knot you up, they can make you stronger too. Collect enough scars and you get a whole extra layer of skin, for free.”
  • LGTBQ themes
  • Tags: jean jackets, pizza, carnivals, and Charles Dickens
Inertia by Veronica Roth 3/5
This was admittedly the first of Veronica Roth’s works I’ve read and I enjoyed it enough. The science fiction aspect of it was very refreshing but just didn’t pack enough punch for me to give the story a 5.
  • Favorite quote: “Inertia – like everything in life had buoyed him there. Like even his mistakes, even his darkness had been taking him toward her.”
  • Futuristic in true Veronica Roth fashion
  • Tags: Inertia, hospital rooms, conversations in the rain, and cliffs
Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron – 2/5
Too much insta-love to the point that I didn’t really feel the authenticity of the characters feelings. Loved Zeke though! He really saved the story for me.
  • Favorite quote: “People who fall in love lose all ability to think logically”
  • started out great but fell flat at the end
  • Zeke, fave character hands down!
  • Tags: hedge maze, match making, and hotel staff
Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert – 3/5
I enjoyed this enough but I just felt like there was too much information dumped all at the same time and it became emotionally draining to read in just one sitting.
  • Favorite quote: “Someone who understands what it means to lose the person you always expected to be there and how to love the ones who do their best to make that absence less painful”
  • Tags: chilly Chicago, pastries, pizza, goodbye parties
Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare 3.5/5
Enjoyed this because it was very similar to the Cinegore story by Libba Bray. You can see a lot of Cassandra Clare’s touches and effects in the story and so I don’t think you would mind that this is more on the heavier, darker side.
  • Favorite quote: “If people want darkness, give the shadows cut with sunlight”
  • summer in a traveling carnival
  • Tags: hot nights, the smell of popcorn, funnel cake, and bug spray
A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith – 3/5
Very cute and I always appreciate attempts to bring the issue of mental health and special needs into the young adult discussion.
  • autism and mental health
  • Tags: arcade basketball, button down shirts and camp
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman – 3.5/5
I think this was the perfect way to end the collection and in a lot of ways, this targets a lot of issues we have about paying more attention to everyday miracles.
  • Favorite quote “Perfect moments, what did they even mean? They were blind luck, that was all. Coincidences. Statistical anomalies.”
  • tags: Littlewood’s law, cosmic nanny, groundhog day and a sunrise

After reading through some reviews of this book, I will agree that some of these stories are too dark for the contemporary genre of “Summer Days and Summer Nights” but I honestly enjoyed them nonetheless.After a few encounters of insta-love or where the attraction felt too rushed and forced, the grim, somber and sometimes even scary themes of the other stories were a nice break from their cheesier and fluffier counterparts. Really enjoyed this!



PS: I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I last updated this blog. College has been crazy but I’ve finally graduated and so I hope this can be the start of me actively posting more.


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