My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m generally not a fan of short stories but having previously read My True Love Gave To Me, which was also edited by Stephanie Perkins, and really enjoying it I couldn’t resist this new Summer themed collection of YA love stories. While I am a little disappointed there’s no Rainbow Rowell this time around I was very excited to see Leigh Bardugo features as well as a few of my other favourite authors.
There’s such a great mix of authors and genres in this collection it’s pretty much guaranteed that everyone will find a story they love. Here’s what I thought of each of the stories.
Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo – 4.5 stars – There is something magical about Leigh Bardugo’s writing and she certainly proves it in this story about Gracie and Eli who spend their summer hunting for a monster in the lake. It’s very sweet and completely enthralling.
The End of Love by Nina LaCour – 4 stars – I’m really liking Nina LaCour at the moment. This story is about Flora who decides to audit a geometry class to avoid the home where her parents are happily divorcing. In class she meets Mimi, a girl she had a crush on a few years ago before she came out. While I wasn’t 100% convinced on the romance there were a lot of feels in this story and I felt for Flora.
Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray – 2 stars – It’s the last night at the Cinegore, the local cinema which shows only horror films, where Dani, Dave and Kevin work. Kevin fancies Dani and is trying to pluck up the courage to ask her out when hell literally breaks loose during final film screening. Unfortunately I found this quite confusing and muddled so while I wanted to like it I didn’t. Dave was probably the only highlight.
Sick Pleasure for A and U by Francesca Lia Block – 2.5 stars – I wasn’t too sure what to make of this one. All of the characters are referred to by an initial rather than by names which while unique I found pretty annoying. It’s a girl meets boy in a nightclub story but I found the whole thing kind of sad and depressing.
In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins – 5 stars – I loved the Marigold and North story in My True Love Gave to Me so I was very happy to catch up with them in this follow up short. It’s just sweet and lovely and Marigold and North are soooo cute. I love Stephanie Perkins so much.
Souvenirs by Tim Federle – 3 stars – It’s break up day for Kieth and Matty. It’s the end of the summer season and they’re heading their separate ways so they agreed to call it quits but Matty’s not so sure he wants to end things. It’s the first story I’ve read by this author and I quite enjoyed it but not sure there was anything special. There are a few literary quotes scattered through which I loved.
Inertia by Veronica Roth – 5 stars – When Claire’s ex boyfriend Matthew gets in an accident it doesn’t look like he’ll survive he chooses Claire for his last visitation. Through a shared consciousness they relive some of the key moments of their relationship. It does have some similarities to Divergent but I loved it. There’s quite a lot packed in but is absolutely full of feels. One that made me cry which I take as a good sign.
Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron – 4 stars – This is not a love story, except it really is as the staff at a holiday resort try a bit of matchmaking. First time I’ve read anything by this author and I will be looking out for more of his books as I loved the writing style. It’s very quirky and unique.
Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert – 3 stars – A story about loss and grief and moving on with your life. It was an ok read but I didn’t think there was anything particularly special or exciting about it.
Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare – 2.5 stars – This was the biggest disappointment of the collection for me. It’s set in a dark carnival where Lulu’s father has disappeared leaving her alone to run it. Then uncle Walter and his stepson Lucas show up and the dark carnival becomes even darker. I think the problem with this was that Clare tried to cram too much in to not enough pages. There were too many characters and not enough of her usual wonderful descriptions. Less would have been more.
A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith – 3.5 stars – A very cute story about a girl working at a summer camp who meets a boy she’s liked for ages in the supermarket and asks him out. Liked this story a lot and in particular I loved how it dealt with a very sensitive and rarely mentioned issue.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman – 4 stars – It’s Groundhog day for teenagers Mark and Margaret as they’re stuck reliving August 4th over and over again. A great conclusion to the collection as I loved both characters and how they dealt with time repeating by finding perfect moments. I was also a big fan of all of the film references.
Overall, while there are a few not so great stories I’d definitely recommend this collection even if you’re not a fan of short stories. The only downside is that with the new authors I’ve come across by TBR is now considerable larger.