The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Release Date: June 16th 2015 by HarperTeen

Genres: Contemporary, Romance

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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.

My Review.

The Night We Said Yes has all the makings of a feel-good, warm summery night read. The story’s easily accessible; I was sucked right in after the first few chapters. The characters were fun and likeable. So what’s new?

I badly wanted to love this book and give it a five-star rating. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the read because I did! But I guess I was expecting more out of this book. It felt like eating the same chocolate ice cream over and over again; familiar yet sort of redundant.

So right now it looks this is a negative review, but I actually have a lot of positive things to say about this book. First, let’s start off with the concept of the story. The Night We Said Yes is told in two timelines (Then and Now) during the course of one night. It’s an old trick, but surprisingly it works for the book’s favour. It helped in the characterisation and just made the story more appealing.

Like I said earlier, the characters were really fun. I liked our narrator, El, and in a lot of ways I can relate with her like her not wanting to be the center of attention and being a writer. I also liked her best friend Meg, who is the complete opposite of El. There’s also the members of the Pepperpots: Jake (loved his wittiness), Barker (loved his supportive role to the other characters), and Matt (the character I relate with the most because of our nerdy but cute nature hehe).

Another element I liked was the different relationships being portrayed in the story. I adored El and Meg’s friendship. It’s that sort of friendship that’s going to stand the tests of time because it’s that strong. The romance on the other hand was okay. I didn’t really swoon that much haha. I wish I did though because El and Matt were so adorable together…but not enough sparks flying.

While I was reading, I thought hey, this would make for a really great coming-of-age indie film! It had that Palo Alto vibe for me and come on, doesn’t the plot scream make me into a movie to you?

Though this was mostly an average read, I have to give props to Gibaldi for writing a solid debut. This has been an amazing year for contemporary YA so far, and The Night We Said Yes is one of the many reasons why.


The Night We Said Yes Theme // The Night Is Still Young by Nicki Minaj. Just the overall vibe of this song reminds me of Ella and her friends’ spontaneous night of yeses.

Ella and Matt // I Really Like You by Carly Rae Jepsen. I likened the innocence of this song’s lyrics to Ella and Matt’s first meeting and when their attraction first started.

Say Yes Again // Favourite Record by Fall Out Boy. The lyrics are like Ella and Matt’s feelings for each other; a favourite record you keep on playing and can’t forget. 

14 thoughts on “The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

  1. I feel like it’s really hard to find contemporaries that really stand out. I do have this on my TBR list though, so I’m glad this one was fun! And I totally agree, there’s been a lot of great debut authors this year. ^.^

  2. I’m going to second Summer’s statement – I think it’s pretty hard to find contemporaries that really distinguish themselves from the rest, but there’s a lot of really great ones out there. I’ve been wanting to read The Night We Said Yes for a while; I’m glad you liked it 😀 And great soundtrack^^

      1. Totally creeping on your conversation. I’m glad you still enjoyed TNWSY, Miguel, even if you didn’t connect with the characters. If I don’t connect with the characters or care about the plot, it will most likely be a 2-star read… AND YES TO THE SONG RECS. Now you got me singing I Really Like You. THANK YOU. (NOT.)

        I hope you get to read this soon, Miel! You’ll be the tiebreaker. =))

  3. I like ”then and now” types of story. When it WORKS, and it seems like in this one it did. HA! So many people are mentioning how this would work as a movie! Maybe it will become one, who knows 😉 It looks interesting enough and I like how it seems to portray friendship in an appealing way. What rating did you give it though? Either I’m blind, or I just can’t see it. :/

    Also, have you read Captive Prince???

    And did you ever watch the TV show ”The Flash”? It’s my new obsession, ahah 😀

  4. I’m not sure if this is my kind of book–“then” vs “now” chapters *rarely* work out for me, so I’m pretty wary about that. I’m conflicted about the romance too–you mentioned that it was cute (plus you picked I Really Like You as the soundtrack for it!), but I need SPARKS, haha. xD Awesome review, Miguel!

  5. I feel exactly the same way about this book as you do! I so wanted to love this book, but unfortunately it was merely a three star read for me 😦 But that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the book–I really, really did. The characters brought so much int the book; with their faults and their imperfections and their friendship for each other just bursting out of the pages 😉 AND OMG FAVORITE RECORD IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES YAYAYAY ❤

  6. I used to hate the “then vs now” writing style, but after a few times reading book with that kind of writing style, now I love it xD. Anyway, glad you like the characters. I’m expecting more from the romance, though, since you said there isn’t enough sparks.

    Great review! 🙂

  7. Great review, I really like that you have included a soundtrack. I really love all three of these songs! I totally get what you mean about the same familiar story. I do still really like reading them, but I tend to give myself a break between similar books with something totally different, like Fantasy or Dystopian. It keeps it from getting boring!
    I really like your review in that you expertly point out the bits you didn’t like so much but without being negative about the book. I really appreciate good honest reviews and that is exactly what you gave me. Will definitely be checking this one out at some point this summer and I am always up for book to film adaptations so will cross my fingers for that!

  8. Although this book was a bit rocky for you, I’m so glad you enjoyed it nonetheless! I totally LOVED this book since I could relate so much. Something similar happened to me while I just began reading this book which was such a huge coincidence. I also enjoyed the romance & friendship that this book offered. The then & now isn’t a new writing format, but I think it worked perfectly well in this book! I loved seeing how they were before and how the two characters changed.

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