Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories

Summer Days and Summer Nights


Title: Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories

Author: Stephanie Perkins (Editor)

Series: N/A

Publisher: Macmillan

Release Date: May 17th 2016

Rating:

Three Stars

A collection of twelve romantic tales of young summer love. Edited by Stephanie Perkins. Featuring new short 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.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

Last Christmas I picked up, and really enjoyed, My True Love Gave to Me, so when I discovered there was a summer themed companion anthology I was eager to pick it up. Unfortunately Summer Days and Summer Nights was filled with more miss stories than hits, and all in all it was a disappointing follow-up to My True Love Gave to Me. I’ve said it before but I am not normally a fan of anthologies, and this collection reminded me of why that is.

“One, two, three humps breached the blue surface of the water, a glimmering little mountain range, there and then gone, followed by the slap of – Gracie’s mind refused to accept it, and at the same time clamoured – a tail.”

Head, Scales, Tongue, Tails by Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo was one of my favourite authors to contribute to this anthology, and in my opinion Head, Scales, Tongue, Tails was the best addition but it set a tone the rest of Summer Days and Summer Nights just couldn’t meet. Head, Scales, Tongue, Tails is a story that spans a few years, with a touch of magical realism the only added to the budding romance between Gracie and Eli.


The End of Love by Nina LaCour

Before this I hadn’t picked up any of Nina LaCour’s books, although they are all on my to-read list. After this I can see why she is such a popular author. The End of Love has a sweet romance between Flora and Mimi, but what I enjoyed more was the development of Flora’s character as she navigates her parents’ divorce and all the changes her life is going through in its midst.


Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray

Libba Bray is another of my favourite authors, but Last Stand at the Cinegore wasn’t what I expected from her or this anthology. It felt more like a classic horror story with a romance side plot than anything else, but while I can’t say I was that invested in the romance the horror storyline kept me interested enough in discovering what would happen next to enjoy this novella.


Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block

I very nearly DNF-ed this story, and looking back I can’t say there was anything I enjoyed about Sick Pleasure. None of the characters had names just letters – M, J, A, etc. – which made it very hard to keep track of who was who at the beginning, and hard to identify with them later on. Also there was a scene at the end that felt a little too (trigger warning) date rape-y in my mind.


She smiled. “You’ve always been my favourite character.”

In Ninety Minutes Turn North by Stephanie Perkins

When I brought this anthology I heard that Stephanie Perkins’ story was a sequel to the one she wrote in My True Love Gave to Me, which really excited me because I couldn’t wait to see how Marigold and North’s romance continued. In Ninety Minutes Turn North was my second favourite novella, I loved Marigold and loved how she wasn’t willing to give up on North or their relationship.


Souvenirs by Tim Federle

I’ll admit Souvenirs confused me a little, after all what’s a break-up story doing in an anthology that’s supposed to have ‘Twelve Love Stories’? Still it was well written with a good ending, and even though I wasn’t keen on Kieth’s character I liked exploring Matty’s feelings as their designated break-up point arrived, plus it was nice to see more LGBT+ representation in this book.


Inertia by Veronica Roth

Inertia was another favourite of mine from this anthology. Veronica Roth came up with an incredible concept, and despite the small amount of pages the story was told on I felt everything was developed perfectly; the setting, the characters, their development and their relationship with one another. This was a heartbreaking read in places, but definitely a story I wanted much more from.


“Dear reader, I want to assure you that this is not a story about love or romance, regardless of what you may have read on the cover.”

Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron

I struggled a little to get into this story, the way it’s written as if the narrator is talking to the reader was slightly off-putting, but once I got past that I really enjoyed it. There were a lot of side characters so the character development wasn’t what it could have been in places, but Love is the Last Resort is a fun addition with plenty of matchmaking schemes that we get to watch unfold.


Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert

In some ways Brandy Colbert’s story reminded me of Nina LaCour’s. While there is a cute romance beginning between Rashida and Pierre Good Luck and Farewell largely focused on Rashida’s character development as she found herself having to say goodbye to her cousin. Rashida is closer to Audrey than anyone else in her family, so she struggles with her cousins’ choice to move away.


Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare

I love stories set in circuses, and the setting of Ted Darke’s Dark Carnival of Mystery, Magic and That Which is Better Left Unseen really worked for me in Cassandra Clare’s novella. What didn’t work for me was how the love interests, Lulu and Lucas, were step-cousins. I know that technically they’re not related, but it felt weird rooting for the two of them with the ‘cousins’ label in between.


A Thousand Ways this Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith

When I think about it A Thousand Ways this Could All Go Wrong was exactly the kind of story I expected to find more in this collection. Jennifer E. Smith wrote a heart warming romance between Annie and Griffin that we got to see develop from the beginning, and there was also some incredible diverse representation which shines a light on mental illness and people’s perceptions of it.


“Our goal was to find every single moment of beauty, every tiny perfect thing, that this particular August 4th had to offer.”

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman

This ended up being another favourite addition of mine, which made it a pretty good story to end Summer Days and Summer Nights on. Another novella with magical realism influences added to the romance Grossman tells the story of Mark and Margaret, two ordinary people who find themselves living the same August 4th over and over again, the only ones aware the day keeps on repeating.


Although this anthology had more non-love stories than not, again strange in a book marketed as ‘Twelve Love Stories’, Summer Days and Summer Nights still had plenty going for it. There was plenty of diverse representation, and what’s more there were some really amazing stories as well, it was just a matter of getting through the not-so-good ones in order to find them.

What did you think of Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

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27 thoughts on “Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories

    1. Yeah I was surprised when I saw Leigh Bardugo’s name on the cover, but what I wasn’t surprised by was how her story was one of the few I loved.
      I’m making my way through more anthologies, and hoping the next one I pick up will be better than this one was. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Lovely reviews, Beth! I’m sorry to hear you didn’t fall in love with that anthology as much as the My True Love one. I’m not much of a fan of these type of short stories, but some anthologies like My True Love and their lovely reviews, make me want to try. I’m still glad to hear you could find a couple stories you enjoyed in this 🙂 Also, the Sick Pleasure short story sounds weird, with the characters only identified by one letter? :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie. 🙂 Yeah as far as anthologies go this is definitely not a favourite of mine, and unfortunately not one I can recommend either. It seems like there are a few people out there who aren’t fans of short stories, and I can definitely see why because I’m one of them but occasionally I still try. 🙂
      Sick Pleasure was the only story in this book I really considered DNF-ing. I find it hard to connect to characters in anthologies when they have full names. The letter thing was weird and really put me off. :/

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry not all of these were great but I’ve found that’s something to be expected from anthologies, unfortunately…
    I had no idea this existed though. And I’m still surprised that Bardugo wrote a fluffy summer short story? XD Unsurprisingly, she kicked butt.
    Amazing review, Beth 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah. I mean I know with anthologies I’m not going to enjoy all the short stories, but with this one there were just more I didn’t enjoy than those I did, which is why I gave it a lower rating.
      I’m not sure this one has a lot of recognition, and yeah Leigh Bardugo’s contribution was a bit of a surprise, but the fact that it was one of my faves wasn’t! 😀
      Thanks so much Sophie.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. sorry to hear about this one! your reasoning behind it is the same exact reason why i put off anthologies. at least this wasn’t so horrible and you found some favorites. i tried reading my true love gave to me and it was a major fail for me. leigh bardugo is such a queen and badass when it comes to her writing and stories! i love how you broke down the book and gave mini reviews of each story, thanks for that! awesome review as always ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah we can’t love all the books we read, and unfortunately Summer Days and Summer Nights was one I didn’t enjoy at all. I did have a few favourites yes, but as good as they were they weren’t able to make up for the rest of the stories I didn’t enjoy. :/
      Oh that’s a shame about My True Love Gave to Me, that’s one I actually enjoyed.
      She is, Leigh Bardugo can write anything and you just know it’s going to be amazing.
      Thanks so much Gretchen! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Those darn anthologies haha. Usually a hit or miss for most readers. I’m sorry this one had a few more misses than hits for you :/ The ones you mentioned were your favorites sound like ones I might want to read, though. I’m not so sure about Brand New Attraction. The step-cousin label throws me off too much. Even though they’re not related by blood, they’re still technically family so that’s a bit off-putting. At least Leigh Bardugo continues to shine in her storytelling skills! I might skip this one by, but happy you managed to find a few good ones in this collection! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I guess for every good anthology there’s going to be one I don’t enjoy as much; I loved Because You Love to Hate Me so I guess it was time I had one I didn’t enjoy as much. Unfortunately that was this one.
      Leigh Bardugo is still brilliant, even in short story form. 🙂 And yeah the step-cousin thing in Brand New Attraction really threw me, it could have easily been fixed by simply not having them be cousins. It would have been such a small change and the story would have been better in my opinion. 🙂 Can’t say I’d recommend this one Azia.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah sorry to hear that. Maybe the next anthology you read will be a bit better. Or you could just let Because You Love to Hate Me be your one and only anthology that you actually love LOL
        Have you read her Demon in the Woods short story?? I really want to read that one, though I should probably finish Ruin and Rising before I do :/
        Cassie Clare has a thing for relative attraction or the implication of relative attraction (i.e. Jace and Clary). It’s kind of creepy haha. Eh, that’s all right. There are other anthologies out there to enjoy! 😀 I’ll skip this one, for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m stepping back from anthologies for a bit, going to go back to reading full length novels again, but I’m not giving up on the idea of them just yet. 🙂
        I think so. I’ve read all of Leigh Bardugo’s books/stories, and loved them all, so I must have. Yeah I was starting to think that. I mean it wasn’t so bad with Jace and Clary because they were never really related, this time it was just a little too weird you know?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ah okay! I’ll be interested to see which anthology you pick up next whenever that happens 😀
        Hm, I noticed I haven’t read any of Bardugo’s short stories. That will need to be corrected soon. And yeah, Jace and Clary would have been much worse if they HAD been related but for her to bring up another relative scenario is…interesting 😅

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I don’t have any plans so it’ll be whatever one catches me eye next! 😀
        Normally I’m not a fan of short stories but I’d recommend Bardugo’s. They’re amazing which should come as no surprise really.
        To be honest the one and a half odd books where they thought they were related was awkward enough. :/

        Liked by 1 person

      5. No surprise at all LOL. I’ll have to be sure to read those sometime this year!
        And yes 😂 Most awkward reading experience ever haha. I was desperately waiting for that ruse to be destroyed but it dragged on longer than I thought it would 😅

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I know, right?! It was a torturous thing to go through haha. Glad it all worked out eventually but still, it felt like it took so long to get past that issue XD LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m always iffy about anthologies. For some reason the length of the stories annoys me, and I can never get invested in the characters (and then I’m never as satisfied as when I read a full length book). I don’t think I’ll be picking up this one any time soon, but I do like seeing reviews of anthologies and reading what other people have to say about them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s part of the reason I’m a bit so-so about anthologies. There are a few full length novels I’ve had issues with so it just seems there will be even more anthologies because there’s that much less space to develop everything.
      Unfortunately I can’t say I’d recommend this one, though there are some good anthologies out there. Two or so good stories weren’t enough to make up for the majority I didn’t enjoy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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