Author: Stephanie Perkins (and various others – each listed by their story below)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
400 pages, hardcover
Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.
After reading My True Love Gave to Me, a collection of short stories edited by Stephanie Perkins, last year, I was super excited to hear that she was doing another collection. Everything from the cover to the list of contributing authors had me looking forward to a wonderfully sweet and fun collections of romance-y stories perfect for summer. It wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. There were several stories that I LOVED (Leigh Bardugo’s was probably my favorite) but quite a few that I did not like. I’ve broken it down by story below.
“Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail” by Leigh Bardugo: Pretty cool! I like romantic stories that have a bit of fantasy mixed it. I totally love Eli. Bizarre but in the absolute best way. Just further proves how much I love Leigh Bardugo’s writing. What a perfect way to start the anthology.
“The End of Love” by Nina LaCour: Her writing is so wonderful and sweet. This one was lovely. So good to have LGBTQIAP+ representation, but like LaCour’s Everything Leads to You, it’s not an issue in the story. It just is.
“Last Stand at the Cinegore” by Libba Bray: Meh. I wanted to like it more than I did. Kinda cheesy, and not in a good way. The plot is a bit muddled and the humor didn’t make me laugh.
“Sick Pleasure” by Francesca Lia Block: Not really what I was expecting. Not exactly bad either. You feel like you’re in a daze for the whole story and it’s not really all that happy. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing?
“In Ninety Minutes, Turn North” by Stephanie Perkins: Obviously cute but rather predictable. I adored North and Marigold in the first book, so I was looking forward to seeing them again, but the story was one of those “Will they/won’t they?” kind of stories, which was pointless. I obviously love Stephanie’s writing, but it wasn’t as good as I was hoping.
“Souvenirs” by Tim Federle: Sadder than I was expecting but I liked it. Realistic. I’ve decided that I just really like Tim Federle’s writing style. I know a few people who don’t like the way he writes or his characters, but I’m drawn to them. I’m not sure if I can really articulate why. They have a bit of dry humor and personality that I like.
“Inertia” by Veronica Roth: What an interesting concept. It was the only story in the book that was sci-fi, which was cool. I don’t think I really connected to the characters in the way that I should have, but the idea was too cool to not like it.
“Love is the Last Resort” by Jon Skovron: Super unique. I could see this as a movie in the vein of The Grand Budapest Hotel. I don’t know if you guys have ever watched that movie or other Wes Anderson movies, but the dialogue and plot are kind of…awkward and strange but in this wonderfully funny way that totally works. At least for me.
“Good Luck and Farewell” by Brandy Colbert: Lots of feels in this one. I liked the diversity, families, and love – both romantic and not. I haven’t read anything by Brandy before, but it makes me want to pick up Pointe.
“Brand New Attraction” by Cassandra Clare: I’ll be honest. I didn’t even finish this story. I don’t know why Cassandra Clare has this weird obsession with incest, but it grosses me out. Direct quote from the story: “He reminded me of a cup of coffee: wet, hot, and bitter. I tried to decide if it was immoral to lust after your step-cousin. I figured it wasn’t. We weren’t actually related. No shared blood.” Just…why?
“A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong” by Jennifer E. Smith: Cute and awkward and adorable. I love Jennifer E. Smith’s books, and I could definitely see this one being an entire novel. I wish it was, tbh. I liked that the love interest was different.
“The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” by Lev Grossman: Unique and interesting. The end wraps up too quickly though. Must like Veronica Roth’s, the idea behind this one made me like it so much because of how unique it was. A cute romance too.
Favorites: Leigh Bardugo’s, Jennifer E. Smith’s, Jon Skovron’s.
Least Favorites: Cassandra Clare’s (DNF), Libba Bray’s.