Two Minute Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Friday, July 31, 2015
Title: The Night We Said Yes
Author: Lauren Gibaldi
Genre: young adult, contemporary 
Series: N/A
Pages: 304
Published: June 16 2015
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 3/5

A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

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.

It's fitting that my friends' ratings for The Night We Said Yes are all over the place because so are my personal feelings for it and the characters within. It also worked in TNESY's favor that this is a pretty short novel that reads quickly because my attention was waning the longer it lasted. It's a fun read, but it's a superficial kind of enjoyment. There's no lasting impression or emotions once the book is over.

Things I Liked About The Night We Said Yes:

The premise
The narrative structure
Featured a strong, realistic female friendship

Things That Didn't Work For Me In The Night We Said Yes:

Matt and Ella's relationship being dissected

Unfortunately, while there is a compelling secondary plot concerned with the two main girls' evolving relationship, the book is more focused on the principal romance between Matt and Ella than any other aspect. And while it was okay, I was mostly blase about it from the introduction to the finale. It all feels familiar, despite the narrative frame and the "night(s) of saying yes" that the narrative revolves around. I just never really invested in the characters and that's kinda the point of a contemporary?

I liked this more than I was detached, but the characterization is not the most polished. The bones of the story and the cast are good, but this debut lacked an emotional core.

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