It’s the Last Day of August, Labor Day is this weekend and The End of Summer is upon us.  In Kellerman’s Anthem we must say:

“We have shared another seasons talent, play and fun
Summer days will soon be over, soonly autumn starts”

What are you packing in your beach bag on the last weekend of summer?  Might we suggest…

From the book flap:

Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Featuring 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.

 

Since this is a short story anthology series, I am going to skip our usual review format and only include two categories in lieu of including pictures.  I hope you don’t mind, but it’s the lazy days of summer, after all.  Well, until Monday.

Overall:  As a reader, I find anthologies are exercises in exploration.  It’s a fun way to read stories from authors I’ve never read as well as those who I can’t get enough of (the names that initially attract me to the compilation in the first place).  Many times, authors will step outside their existing series and show you another side of their writing.  I generally enjoy an anthology for just for those very reasons.  Also, during the summer, when the heat can be at an all-time high bringing patience to an all-time low, small snippets are all I can take this time of the year.

This compilation is a perfect beach accompaniment.  As the book flap suggests, Summer Days and Summer Nights focuses on Summer Love.  The authors touch on this theme in all its forms, from traditional stories to horror, supernatural, heartbreak, and everything in between.   There is tons of variety and something for everyone.  Pull back the layers, look at the premise of the stories selected and you will find this compilation packs a relatively solid punch.

But in the buffet of this short stories anthology, not everything is to my taste.  Some stories are stilted or stale, while other try to pack a huge punch in too few pages. However, it’s the irregular pacing, the distinct voices, that kept my interest and flipping pages.

Below are the names of all the short stories, plus a picture of the lovely inside illustrations designed by Jim Tierney that accompany each story.  My favorite quotes are included in italics, plus some additional story-specific notes.


Head, Scales Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo“She could smell the storm on him, like the lightning had followed him home.”


The End of Love by Nina Lacour


Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray:  “You won’t be able to tell who’s a zombie and who’s not, because who can tell the difference between the terminally ironic and the undead?”


Sick Pleasures by Francesca Lia Block“Teenage boys are not so far away from being men.  Most of them.  A seemed pretty close to both.”

Personal note:  You know our fondness for this Leila Sales, we think of this one as “This Punk Will Save Your Life.”


In 90 Minutes Turn North by Stephanie Perkins:  For fans of My True Love Gave to Me Anthology, you’ll recognize this story line.


Souvenirs by Tim Federle“The average temperature here is hell with a chance of thunder.”


Intertia by Veronica Roth


Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron


Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert


Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare


A Thousand Ways This Could Go All Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith“But that’s the thing about summer:  the regular hierarchies collapse like sand castles at this time of the year.”


The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman“The great Itunes of the heavens was set on Repeat One.”

 

Judge a Book by its Cover:   This anthology has some of the most beautiful international covers I’ve ever seen.  I have the UK edition, if anyone ever comes across the Russian or Polish covers, let me know!

 

Hope you all have had as much fun this summer as we did.  Let us know what you’re bringing to the beach or where you visited this summer in the comments!

Summer Days and Summer Nights Hardcover, 400 pages was published on May 17th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin.

~Carmen

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