Blog Tour Book Review–Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

Summer Days and Summer NightsTitle: Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories

Editor/Author: Stephanie Perkins

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Release Date: May 17th, 2016

Interest: Short Stories / Authors

Source: e-ARC provided by the publisher

Summary (From Goodreads):

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.

To start, I’m not well-versed in short story anthologies, but after reading Summer Days and Summer Nights, I am eager to read more! Not only are the majority of the stories in this anthology absolutely delightful, it was so liberating being able to bounce from story to story and still feel that sense of accomplishment when I was done even though I skimmed over a couple stories that weren’t really for me.

I love that Stephanie Perkins included a range of authors who write different genres and that some of the stories include not only racially diverse characters, but LGBT characters, too. Because of this range, I know I can hand this book to a large variety of readers in my classroom.

And speaking of LGBT characters, Nina LaCour’s addition to the anthology was one of my favorites. She drew me in right away with Flora in “The End of the Love.” It impressed me that within such a small span of time I knew so much about Flora’s troubled life at home and also saw a relationship blossom. I would love it if Nina LaCour turns Flora’s story into a novel.

When it comes to wanting more, I need more of “In Ninety Minutes, Turn North” by Stephanie Perkins. I already know that I’m feeling lost without a new Perkins novel to read, but that feeling intensified while I read Marigold’s and North’s story. I’m not sure how many pages this story is since I read it on my Kindle, but seriously, I fell in love with both of them and it couldn’t have been more than thirty pages long! This is another one that I hope to see as a complete novel one day. They’re both so earnest and real and sweet.

Overall, I highly recommend reading Summer Days and Summer Nights, especially if you want to expose yourself to some new authors. I haven’t read anything by Tim Federle (yet) and thoroughly enjoyed his short story. I also discovered that I really like Brandy Colbert’s writing as well. This is not only a good addition for a class library, it’s an excellent anthology to read while enjoying the sun this summer.

Banned Books Week: Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Banned Book: Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Where/Why It’s Been Banned: “The Blue Springs (Mo.) School District has removed Nina LaCour’s young adult novel Hold Still from its library and classrooms in response to parental complaints about its language and sex scenes.”  (Source–Quote taken from an American Libraries article.)

My Thoughts: When this story first came to light last November I was shocked.  At the time there was a video news report available (which I can’t find now…) interviewing the parents and the pastor involved with censoring Hold Still.  The part that upsets me the most is that a pastor was brought into the mix.  There is this whole separation of church and state thing, right?

Anyway, I agree that parents have a right to say what is right or wrong for their child, so kudos to them for being involved.  Going to the school and requesting that the book is removed and made unavailable to ALL students is not their right.

Hold Still is a beautiful book dealing with a heavy topic.  No one wants to lose their best friend, so can you imagine losing your best friend to suicide and not knowing why?  Caitlin is devastated by the loss of her best friend, Ingrid, and is barely hanging on.  She ends up finding a journal Ingrid wrote for Caitlin to find which sheds light on Ingrid’s dark world.  Hold Still takes us on Caitlin’s journey to finding hope and light and new friendship in the midst of her best friend’s suicide.  It’s one of the most popular books in my classroom because the (typically) girls who read it empathize and connect with the characters.

If you’re a teacher or librarian, I urge you to read Nina LaCour’s debut and make your own decision.  I have two copies in my room and both are nearing the point of replacement because they’ve been read so much.  Our students know when and how to self-censor, so we really need to trust their choices.  If you’re a parent, I urge you to read this book with your son or daughter so you can have an open and honest discussion about it.

Sarah @ GreenBeanTeenQueen wrote an excellent post about this when it first came to light.  Read why she supports Hold Still.

Student Response: Felicia, one of my current YA Lit students and one of my former freshmen students, read Hold Still last year.  I knew she enjoyed Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, so I suggested this as her first SSR book.  I remember her telling me she didn’t know if she liked it, so I suggested trying to stick with it for 50 or so pages before she abandoned it.  She ended up loving it and became a voracious reader last year.

Hold Still should not be a banned book.  This book is very real and tells a story that could really happen in your high school years.  This book just tells a story of your typical high school girl who commits suicide.  This is a very good book and shouldn’t be banned.”

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