Release Date: June 16th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.
Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.
In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.
Okay, I’m in a baking mood. So, let me introduce to you today’s recipe: the formulaic and completely forgettable The Night We Said Yes.
Begin by preheating your contemporary romance trope oven to a mild 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Begin mixing everything into a large glass bowl. For this recipe, you’ll need the very bland Ella™ vanilla flavoring. The vanilla is the main ingredient and will wow you with its overwhelmingly paper like personality. Ella™ is inseparable from the next ingredient, though it’ll pale in comparison of course in every way shape and form. The next ingredient is Meg™ sugar which will completely overpower the previously mentioned vanilla and always be in the limelight. It’ll be exactly alike another well known and adored recipe (Since You’ve Been Gone) however with the key difference being that the Ella™ will never grow into its own and will forever be in the shadow of Meg™. In that way the combination of both the vanilla and the sugar becomes that of a friendship in which one party dominates completely and, without even meaning, to becomes controlling.
The next thing you must add to the bowl is Jake™ ginger which is in a crazy on and off again relationship with Meg™. An highly volatile ingredient, it will constantly bounce between fighting and accentuating the flavor of Meg™. The stress and drama of the two conflicting ingredients will inevitably give you a headache and just add to the recipe’s juvenile tone. Furthermore, the addition of the ginger just on its own is incredibly problematic due to its toxic behavior to those near it. Jake™ ginger has a tendency to be over confident in its ability to satisfy and can come across arrogant. The branding for the ginger is also frankly sexist in nature and often treats women as if they’re nothing more than objects. All of the other ingredients don’t oppose the negative sides of Jake™ but instead formulate several excuses and try to distract you from the ginger’s overpowering flavor.
We must now add the completely unrealistic underage party eggs to act as a backdrop for our next ingredient. With cheetah like finesse we can now introduce Matt™ to the recipe. With some encouragement from our bestselling insta-love flour, Ella™ and Matt™ will join harmoniously & cling together in the super romantic backdrop presented by the eggs. It’s like love at first sight everybody, how precious. Then you must add some more ingredients: stereotypical teenage adventure bucket list chocolate chips (again, just like Since you’ve been gone but done in a way less appealing fashion), previous relationship struggle baking soda, multiple pinches of makeover scenes and predictable and juvenile truth & dare butter. Place the bowl in the fridge to cool over for exactly one night. This one night will clearly be completely magical and be an obvious game changer. Like I’m talking this night will basically be on the level as world peace.
Alright, so that’s as far as I can go with this highly extended metaphor haha. Plus, now I’m really tempted to bake cookies. In short if you didn’t get it the recipe equals this book. Ella is the main character, Meg is the best friend, Jake is dating Meg in an off/on relationship and Matt is the love interest. I made reference to another book Since You’ve Been Gone as it contained a lot of similarities.
I left off talking about the magical night that this book is titled after. I found it personally to be tame and typical. After this night, Ella and Matt date. We don’t see this really, it’s just told. They break up (isn’t it shocking that one night isn’t enough to form a strong relationship Hah). Anyway, Matt actually leaves Ella in quite the confused gilt as he moves away. Ella mopes a lot and basically becomes Bella Swan 2.0. By this I mean her entire character is based on the relationship she had and so Ella is just a shell of herself. Though when she sees Matt a year later OH MY GOD IT’S LIKE HER ENTIRE LIFE IS COMING BACK IN SCREAMING COLOR. Ugh. I personally don’t think it’s healthy for anybody to be so dependent on their partner that they can’t fully function. Am I alone in this way of thinking?
The rest of the novel is Matt trying to create the magical night that brought him and Ella together. Which isn’t appealing to me because I didn’t find that night that interesting the first time around.
Overall I found myself distant and uncaring about the characters and relationships in the novel. I found the storyline just reminding me of all the other contemporary summer romances I’ve read before. It was formulaic and had a juvenile tone. Unfortunately, I found myself annoyed throughout the entirety of this novel.
~Thank you HarperCollins Canada for the review copy~
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