“Now summer was round and full, fruit ready to burst, a sun emerging fat, yellow, and happy from the sea.”
– Leigh Bardugo
This is a collection of twelve short stories that all take place in the summer, and they are definitely a perfect summer read (well, the ones I enjoyed anyway), but I think they can be enjoyed at any time of the year. This book was worth it for the stories by Leigh Bardugo, Libba Bray, Lev Grossman, and Veronica Roth. Others were a hit and miss, but I’ve written my thoughts on each of them so you can get an idea what they’re about.
➽ Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★★
This review was posted to my blog two days ago!
➽ The End of Love by Nina LaCour ★★★★
This story is about Flora, who is taking geometry in summer school after 11th grade even though she did well in it the first time around. She says she just needs something to keep her out of the house because her parents are going through a divorce. It’s in this class that she runs into a group of her ex-boyfriend’s friends, including the girl she had a crush on while she was dating her boyfriend. It was this girl that made her realize that she had feelings for girls, but then they lost touch because they went to different schools. Anyway, this girl invites her on a camping trip, and the description of this camping trip was so beautiful, and this is where their relationship begins to develop.
➽ Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray ★★★★★
This review was posted to my blog yesterday!
➽ Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block 0 ★s
This one just had me going WTF the whole time. It’s so confusing because the narrator doesn’t refer to anyone by name, just initials. So in my head, I jokingly thought I guess her initial is “I” since that’s how she refers to herself in the first person… But then when a character asks her her name, she actually says it’s “I.” Creative much?
But I was willing to get past that because I’ve loved the first three stories in this book and thought this one must be worth it too, but nope. It only got worse as the story progressed. It felt like I was reading this book through a haze, and that’s exactly what other reviewers have said. There’s a bunch of disjointed scenes thrown all together and really no plot.
There IS what seems like a date rape, but it’s never called such and never mentioned again. No repercussions, nothing. And the story just got even more depressing from there. It made no sense and I absolutely regret reading this thing. Like, my life would have been better had I never read this. That’s how much I hated it.
➽ In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins ★★★
I expected this to be one of my favorites in this collection because I’ve loved all three YA romances that Stephanie Perkins has written, but I just found this one slightly gloomy and not so happy. Marigold Moon Ling has traveled from Atlanta back to North Carolina to meet up with, and try to “rescue”, her recent ex-boyfriend North from a boring life of working at his parents’ Christmas tree farm. When she gets there, she finds out that he’s actually working an hour away at a mountain working a funicular, so she heads there. The description of the mountain and the funicular were absolutely beautiful and made me feel like I was right there. But her meeting with North left a lot to be desired because he was really short and curt with her. In the end, he does explain why, but I just wasn’t feeling the little “romance” in this that was there.
➽ Souvenirs by Tim Federle ★★
This takes place at a local Pennsylvania amusement park, and while I loved the setting, I couldn’t have cared less for the story. And it’s the only one that ends with the two breaking up by the end (which is fine, because one of them seemed rather narcissistic anyway).
➽ Inertia by Veronica Roth ★★★★
I enjoyed this story, and I think it’s one that will stay with me. It’s about a girl who suffers from depression but doesn’t want to take treatment for it, and the guy who used to be her best friend. He gets in a car crash and suffers near fatal injuries.
➽ Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skvron ★
What even was this story? And how did it end up in this collection? It was full of cliches. There was no character development, no buildup to the relationships, just everyone pairing off by the end. The writing was so cringey and had me rolling my eyes. I skimmed through this as fast as I could.
➽ Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert ★★
This was about a girl, Rashida, who is sad that her cousin is leaving her in Chicago to move to San Francisco with her gf. This cousin has been like a surrogate mother to her the past four years since her own mother passed away from taking a bottle of anti-depressants. There is a good-bye party for her cousin Audrey and Gillian, and while there, Rashida snaps at Gillian for offering her something to drink when she very well knows she’s in high school and her family is here. Immediately, Gillian’s brother Pierre steps in to snap back at Rashida. A little while later, Rashida is in the bathroom fixing her makeup or something, and there Pierre is again to bully her some more, letting her know that he’s sad too but it’s not like anyone’s dying or anything. And that’s exactly what you don’t say to someone whose mother passed away.
Gillian ends up drinking so much that she’s ready to pass out, and it somehow takes all three of them to take her back to the apartment. And that sums up this story. Oh, and if you can’t tell, Rashida and Pierre end up having a thing after she decides she’d like to stay in the apartment to watch Gillian with him rather than return to the party: as if staying with a guy who was such a jerk to you is the better option. Eye roll.
I’m giving this an extra star because it does cover an important talk: the taboo of talking about mental health/anti-depressants in the African American community.
➽ Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare ★★★
“It was a dark carnival. You know the drill. Evil clowns lurching out of the shadows, blood on their puffy white gloves. Tattered Big Top, blowing in a hot summer breeze. insane giggling children running in and out of the shadows. The hall of mirrors that throws back terrifying, distorted reflections. The tattooed man whose tattoos move and crawl on his skin, the merry-go-round that turns back time, the bearded lady who comes at you with a carving knife, and the forutne-teller who gives you only bad news.”
I loved the atmostphere/setting for this, but I just didn’t care too much for the characters or the story.
➽ A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith ★★★
This one takes place at a summer camp for kids, where the main character is a counselor. She spends a lot of time helping a kid with autism. One night after camp she’s at a grocery store, and she runs into a cute guy from school that she decides to ask out. And by the end of the story, you find out that he too is on the spectrum (Aspergers). It was very obvious to the reader from the beginning, but not at all to her. When she finds out, she decides it changes everything, yet when she verbalizes her feelings, she says she still wants to date him. That made no sense to me. One second it seemed like she had lost all interested in him, and the next, it didn’t? I don’t know. I couldn’t connect with this story either.
➽ The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman ★★★★★
This story was absolutely beautiful and made trudging through some of the above stories worth it just to get to this. I don’t even have words, but if you only read one story in this collection, make it this one. I’m looking forward to reading more by Lev Grossman now!