The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
Release Date: June 16th 2015 by HarperTeen
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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.
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.