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.

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever AfterTitle: Isla and the Happily Ever After

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Publisher: Dutton

Release Date: August 14th, 2014

Interest: Series / Author

Source: ARC received from a friend (Thank you, Lea!)

Summary (From Goodreads):

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins is going to receive a ton of well-deserved hype, so I’m going to try and keep this review simple. Basically, I LOVED it. I felt like I was waiting forever to finally read it and it was worth the wait.

I adore Stephanie Perkins’s writing and how she crafts stories that combine romance and self-discovery. Isla and the Happily Ever After balanced this perfectly. I really liked reading about Isla and Josh’s budding relationship and about Isla trying to learn what she wants to do with her life after high school. Like so many high school students, Isla doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do with her life. Trying to decide which college to attend and what to do after high school are major conflicts for plenty of high school students whether they’re in a relationship or not. Stephanie Perkins wrote a real love story with real conflicts.

In high school I felt pretty confident about what I wanted to do as a career and where I wanted to attend college, but I really connected with Isla in other ways. As I was reading I could identify with how she felt about relationships and the ways she reacted to things. Her character really came alive on the page for me. I let one of my former students borrow my ARC before she leaves for college for the school year and she told me she felt really similar to Isla as well. I have a feeling I’ll have quite a few “Islas” in my classroom this year and beyond.

If you haven’t read any of Stephanie Perkins’s books, I highly recommend that you do. You don’t necessarily have to read them in order, but it helps if you do simply because you’ll avoid tiny spoilers. Or in Isla and the Happily Ever After’s case, kind of a big and ohsocool spoiler. And that’s all I’ll say about that 🙂

Cover Excitement Galore!

I had another post idea planned for today until these covers were revealed this week.  I’m so excited about them, I had to share!

Original Post Links:

Where the Stars Still Shine (reveal link + giveaway)
Smoke (reveal link)
Isla and the Happily Ever After (reveal link)

I’ve been eagerly awaiting for the cover reveal of Where the Stars Still Shine for months!  I’m a HUGE fan of Something Like Normal, and after meeting Trish and reading the summary for Where the Stars Still Shine and falling in love with Trish’s writing, I simply can’t wait to read her sophomore release.  (Phew, that was a long sentence…)  And this cover?  SO.  BEAUTIFUL.  Have you ever seen a book cover and feel the need to hang that cover up in a frame on the wall?  No?  Well, this one is worthy of that.

Where the Stars Still Shine

Summary (From Goodreads): Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She’s never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love–even with someone who seems an improbable choice–is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

I really like Ellen Hopkins’ covers because they all have a similar look despite not all sharing the same characters, settings, etc.  My copy of Burned is pretty beat up, so I’ll need to buy a fresh new copy before buying a copy of Smoke because I know my students will be all over this when I add it to my classroom library.  The cover is eye catching and slightly unsettling, which I love.

**Note, this summary has Burned spoilers**


Summary (From Goodreads): Pattyn Von Stratten’s father is dead, and Pattyn is on the run. After far too many years of abuse at the hands of her father, and after the tragic loss of her beloved Ethan and their unborn child, Pattyn is desperate for peace. Only her sister Jackie knows what happened that night, but she is stuck at home with their mother, who clings to normalcy by allowing the truth to be covered up by their domineering community leaders. Her father might be finally gone, but without Pattyn, Jackie is desperately isolated. Alone and in disguise, Pattyn starts a new life, but is it even possible to rebuild a life when everything you’ve known has burned to ash and lies seem far safer than the truth?

My students and I simply adore Stephanie Perkins’ stories.  She writes fantastic love stories that are full of swoon, while featuring strong characters and solid settings.  I was expecting that the cover for Isla and the Happily Ever After would be similar to the covers for Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door since they’re all companion novels, but I guess I should have expected something different since Penguin is the publisher.  (If you aren’t familiar with this, Penguin has become known from changing cover designs mid-series.)  I have to admit that I really like this new look.  I shared the new covers with my students and the majority of them agreed.  They described the new covers as “dynamic” and “more appealing.”  What do you think?

Isla and the Happily Ever After

Summary (From Goodreads):  From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

Anna and the French Kiss NCLola and the Boy Next Door NC

Lovey Couples That Would Last In Real Life

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

The Broke and The Bookish is celebrating love on behalf of Jamie’s wedding this week, so we’re focusing on couples that we believe would make it in real life.  This prompt has made me realize that I need to read more contemporary YA romance because most of the romances I kept thinking of are from paranormal fantasy and fantasy novels.  I just don’t think those relationships would work in a realistic world.  I don’t have a list of ten today, but I’m still satisfied with my list, especially since I love these couples 🙂

1. Jay & Violet from The Body Finder series (Goodreads)–Is there a better book boyfriend out there?!  Sigh.  I love this couple.  I realize that this series is supernatural because of Violet’s ability to see echoes, but it reads more like realistic fiction than anything else.

2. Adam & Mia from If I Stay (Goodreads) / Where She Went (Goodreads)–I have to believe if you’ve read these two books then you understand completely why they’re on this list.  Adam’s point of view in Where She Went is explanation enough.  They could totally make this work beyond the pages.

3.  Lola & Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door (Goodreads)–I love this couple!  Are they quirky  Absolutely!  But they balance each other out and work really well together.  I can definitely picture them being super cute together in real life California.

4. Anna & Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss (Goodreads)–I feel silly including two couples from the same author, but Stephanie Perkins does a fantastic job writing realistic characters!  Anna and Etienne go through so many ups and downs that I think their relationship is believable and something that could continue to grow in real life.  I still think I like Lola and Cricket more, but Anna and Etienne are really cute together.

5. Rusty & Honor from In Honor (Goodreads)–This relationship might be a long shot since these two really only get to know each other during a road trip, but for some reason I think they can make it work.  There’s something about their chemistry that makes me feel like real life love would be a possibility.

6. Travis & Harper from Something Like Normal (Goodreads)–Harper will need to remember to be patient with Travis, and Travis needs to remember not to take Harper for granted, but this flawed couple has what it takes to make it.  I love these two characters so I can’t help but cheer for them as a couple.

I hate to end this list at six (I like a nice round number), but that’s all I can think of.  Which couples made your list?  As you can see, I need some recommendations for realistic contemporary YA romance!

Can I Switch Places With These Characters, Please?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish


Top Ten Tuesday is one of my favorite memes, especially when we get a prompt like today’s.  So often when reviewing and discussing books, we mention our love of the setting/world or how we would love to spend time with the characters.  Today’s prompt asks us to list the ten characters we’d like to switch places with for 24 hours.  Here we go!

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (Goodreads)–I don’t really want to deal with Auden’s home life, but I love the town she’s staying in over the summer.  I love beach town settings, and this one’s a favorite.  Plus, I like Eli 🙂

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Goodreads)–I can’t say that I’d be very good at demon hunting or anything like that, but I would love to cuddle up with Jace and hang out with Simon!  Clary can go ahead and sit a day out so I can have fun with these Shadowhunters + Simon!

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (Goodreads)–This is still one of my favorite books because it’s incredibly funny and I love the cast of characters.  I’d totally be okay with switching places with Norah and running around New York with Nick all night.  I’ve never been to New York City, and I don’t have a character crush on Nick or anything, but he’s a cool guy and he really knows his music.  How fun would it be to hop from crazy New York club to crazy New York club all night with your friends!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Goodreads)–If you’ve read this book, I don’t think I need to explain myself, do I?  Living in Paris for a school year.  Eating delicious crepes.  Going to famous museums.  Etienne St. Clair.  Enough said. 🙂

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin (Goodreads)–I really have no desire to repeat my high school years, but I would love to spend a day with Kelsey Finkelstein because she is so darn funny.  I love how melodramatic she is and how loyal she is to her friends.  If I could choose a day, I’d choose the last day the school play is performed.  I’m pretty sure that would be the best.  Or the night of the tooth mishap.  Either would be funny.

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (Goodreads): I love this book’s time period and the powers the girls have.  And I have a book crush on Finn.  It would be fun to spend a day in the garden with Finn and maybe part of the afternoon at a gossipy tea gathering.  Writing this makes me feel like I’m an old soul or something because I don’t know many people who would want to spend their day like this! 😛

Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy (Goodreads): This is one of the cutest middle grade books I’ve read, first of all.  Second, I would absolutely love to spend a day in Lilah’s shoes so I could communicate with my Grandma Rosemary.  I love that Lilah gets to spend more time with her Bubbie.  Those of us who have lost grandparents know how special and precious that extra time would be.

In Honor by Jessi Kirby (Goodreads)–Am I allowed to pretend Honor isn’t honoring her brother that just died?  Because if so, I’d switch places with her for a day.  I’d want to spend time getting to know Rusty, and I think it would be cool to revisit the scene when she’s swimming really early in the morning.  For the most part, their trip to California was fun to read (with the exception of a few sad/scary parts).

I know that’s not ten characters I want to switch with, but it’s the best I can do today.  Let me know which character you’d like to switch with!  I’m sure I’ll feel the same way, or even better, find a new book I want to read!  Happy Tuesday! 😀

Student Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie Perkins is one of my new favorite authors, so whenever the opportunity arises, I recommend her books to my students.  One of my students, Chelsea, loves any kind of love story, so when she said that was the focus of her project for my Y.A. Lit class, I knew she’d love Anna and the French Kiss.  Chelsea recently posted her review on Goodreads, so I decided to post it here on my blog as well 🙂

Title: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Student Reviewer: Chelsea

Summary (From Goodreads): Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near – misses end with the French kiss Anna – and readers – have long awaited?

Student Review:

When I was first introduced to the book Anna and the French Kiss I wasn’t sure if I was even going to make it through the whole book. Just from looking at the book, I thought it was too long for me personally. Soon after I read the first few pages, I was already in the hundreds. From reading the cover I knew it was my type of book though. I really enjoyed this book and I’m glad my teacher Mrs. Andersen offered it to me.

Anna and the French Kiss is mainly about a girl who is sent to a boarding school in Paris. Most kids would love to go to Paris, just because it’s a really cool place. Except for Anna, who doesn’t want to leave behind her friends, and the guy she could have a relationship with. Throughout the story, she falls in love and meets many new friends. She is just like any other ordinary girl, fighting over boys, and falling in love with a guy she just met even though he already has a girlfriend.

I really loved all the characters, especially Anna and Etienne. The book really showed how much those two cared for each other. I could feel all their emotions as I was reading. I got a really good picture of both of them in my head all through out the story, and how they would look in real life.

This story is full of romance and friendship which are two things I’m really interested in reading. I suggest that anyone who likes romance, and cute little love stories should definitely try Anna and the French Kiss out. I’m pretty positive that the main reason why I enjoyed this book, is because I’m a girl and any girl can relate to the book. Therefore, the story is even more fun and enjoyable to read.

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