Summer days driftin’ away as I struggled through this book.
Summer Days and Summer Nights is the second short story collection edited by Stephanie Perkins. Similar to My True Love Gave to Me, Summer Days and Summer Nights promised twelve cute short stories by well-loved young adult authors, this time focusing on summer vacation. This collection features a variety of short stories in terms of genre as well as a diverse cast of character, the same as my True Love Gave to Me.
After reading My True Love Gave to Me, I went into Summer Days and Summer Nights with high expectations despite reading mixed reviews. Even though there were a few stories I disliked in My True Love Gave to Me, I overall enjoyed this collection for sticking true to its theme and delivering adorable holiday stories. Unfortunately for me, I found myself disliking more stories than enjoying them in this collection. Additionally, I found many of this story loosely connected to summer, if at all, which didn’t live up to my expectations considering the bright and cheerful cover of this book.
Let’s start with what I did like about this book. Like with My True Love Gave to Me, I really enjoyed the first story in this collection and it made me want to read more of the author’s work. I think Leigh Bardugo’s Heads, Scales, and Tongue story managed to capture summer, but also providing a fun twist more true to the author’s writing. I also enjoyed the final two stories in this collection, written by Jennifer E. Smith and Lev Grossman. I liked how Jennifer E. Smith’s story was a cute romance that featured a character with autism and I enjoyed the Groundhog’s Day aspect to Lev Grossman’s stories. There were other stories in this collection that I enjoyed aspects of, but these were the three stories that really stuck out to me.
Now, here are some problems I found with this collection. Looking at the author’s on the front cover, you can see there aren’t many contemporary authors listed, which you expect for a summer romance collection. While I liked how many different genres were included in this collection, the execution was poor. I think many of the authors tried hard not to write the typical summer story that they strayed too far from the collection’s original purpose. Some of the stories, like Veronica Roth’s Intertia, seemed completely out of place. Other stories, like Libba Bray’s Last Stand at the Cinegore and Cassandra Clare’s Brand New Attraction, seemed more appropriate for a Halloween-themed short story collections. My biggest annoyance is that most of these stories could have easily be made more summery by adjusting a few details. For example, Libba Bray’s story could have taken place at a drive-in that features a scary movie instead of a strictly horror-themed movie theater.
Overall, I struggled through most of the short stories in this collection. While a lot of readers enjoyed the continuation of Stephanie Perkins short story from the original novel, I barely found myself invested in that one. Needless to say, I was greatly disappointed by this short story collection. I rate Summer Days and Summer Nights as two out of five stars.