Last winter, I read through Stephanie Perkins’ short story anthology My True Love Gave to Me. While I didn’t enjoy every story in the collection, I appreciated the various short stories from notable YA authors and was pleased to learn that Perkins edited a second anthology for the summer: Summer Days and Summer Nights. Spotlighting authors like Leigh Bardugo, Cassandra Clare, and Veronica Roth, this anthology includes twelve love stories set during the summer.
Like My True Love Gave to Me, I didn’t enjoy every story and I thought a few could have been written better. However, I did find a few I enjoyed, and I think the overall atmosphere of the anthology makes this collection worth reading if you’re looking for something to entertain you during the summer.
Here’s what I thought of each story.
“Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail” by Leigh Bardugo: This story was definitely atmospheric with excellent details and a cute story line. But since it’s Leigh Bardugo, there is an element of the fantastical, and that didn’t work for me. Still, the romance was cute.
“The End of Love” by Nina LaCour: This story had a lot of excellent details and had great emotional pull. The main character, however, felt kind of like a blank slate. I can’t even remember her name.
“Last Stand at the Cinegore” by Libba Bray: This story was highly unexpected and a bit on the bizarre side, but in the best possible way. The romance was adorable and the concept was hilariously weird. I thought it could have done without such severe cussing, but I suppose if you’re being chased by zombies that doesn’t matter a whole lot.
“Sick Pleasure” by Francesca Lia Block: This one is probably my least favorite of the anthology. While it did well to make the relationship realistic, it wasn’t appealing at all. The characters were confusing as they were only called by random letters, and the ending left a bad taste.
“In Ninety Minutes, Turn North” by Stephanie Perkins: This story follows up the story Perkins wrote for My True Love Gave to Me. While it was a little unexpected to find out what transpired between the characters, I thought this story was absolutely adorable, even if it was a bit predictable.
“Souvenirs” by Tim Federle: At this point, I don’t remember much of what happened with this story. I thought it was just okay. The setting was fun and the ending was good, but other parts of it felt a bit too much.
“Inertia” by Veronica Roth: This one surprised me because I didn’t expect to enjoy something Veronica Roth wrote. But the concept was interesting and the story was poignant. The ending, however, felt a little cheap.
“Love Is the Last Resort” by Jon Skovron: This story was loads of fun, but it was kind of over-the-top and ridiculous. The love was also very insta-y, and I think it would have worked better as a longer piece where the characters could be more fleshed out and the relationships more developed. The ending, though, was perfect.
“Good Luck and Farewell” by Brandy Colbert: When I started reading this story, I didn’t think I would enjoy it, but the ending was good. I don’t feel like it fits within this anthology, though, because it was more like a meet cute than an actual love story.
“Brand New Attraction” by Cassandra Clare: This one disappointed me. It had potential, but it felt into typical Clare territory of borderline incest relationships (ew), demons, and using the word “sexy” too many times. I’d like to see Clare attempt to write something that isn’t what she normally writes.
“A Thousand Ways This Could Go Wrong” by Jennifer E. Smith: This is my favorite story of the anthology. The romance was sweet and the characters were adorable. Plus, it included characters with autism in a good way. I would probably read an entire novel about these characters.
“A Map of Tiny Perfect Things” by Lev Grossman: This story had an interesting concept, and I liked the characters. It was s a bit predictable, but the rest of the story made up for it.
While I didn’t enjoy every story, I think readers who are fans of particular authors will enjoy their stories. Summer Days and Summer Nights is a light-hearted, fun read that is perfect for a long, summer day.