Helloooooo people and welcome to Rhea’s Neon Journal 🙂 Lauren Gibaldi’s The Night We Said Yes is the cutest thing you’re ever going to read and today, I’m going to make sure you do! Have fun with the giveaway and follow the rest of the tour here.
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.
The Night We Said Yes is a book that is set in two nights, one year apart. The chapters alternate in a “Now” and “Then” format, and through this, the story of Ella and Matt, and their friends Jake and Meg is revealed.
For me, the best part about this book was the concept of the book—including both, the way it was presented and its content. The book began in “Now” with Ella and her best friend Meg, who are getting ready to go to a party. Meg seems to be a bit put out that Ella is leaving town for college and Ella just says that after the events of the past year, she needs a change. They do go to the party and then Ella’s world is turned upside down when she sees her ex boyfriend Matt, who skipped town six months ago. It seems to be that he was back in town and wanted to get back with Ella.
From there the book flashes back to one year ago, when again Ella and Meg were readying themselves for a party. The changes in Ella were striking! A year ago, Ella seemed to be the type of girl who loved attention—though not too much of it—and who loved being with her friends and letting herself enjoy things. Compared to the present, where she just seemed to go with the current. At the part back then, she meets the new boy in town, Matt. She learns that Matt is the new bassist in Jake’s band (Jake is Meg’s on again/off again boyfriend) and she’s immediately attracted to him.
And then on, the book continued to alternate between Then and Now, showing bits and pieces of the entire puzzle that was Matt leaving town unexpectedly.
I think then concept of a book set in one night is brilliant. Not entirely unique, but it was done very well, not at all like what I would expect from a debutante! While I constantly fretted about forgetting the details of the previous chapter, (because of the difference in the time line) I was ultimately glad that no such thing happened. And even though the chapters don’t allow you to read about each night in one complete stretch, I found myself almost preferring the dual time lines.
Ella was fiercely loyal and a great, great friend to Meg and Jake, but that didn’t completely take away my feeling of Ella being a bit of a whiner, especially in the “Now” bit of the story. Also, I can’t speak for any development of her character, partly because in many ways, her strengths and all the good characteristics about her were shown to have been dimmed in the present. Regardless, she was a heroine I liked hearing from. Like I said, she was a great friend to Meg and their friendship is the stuff dreams are made of! I found myself rooting for Ella, though, so I guess her type of whiney was not intolerable :p
Matt, on the other hand, was an enigma to me. A cute enigma, nonetheless. His disappearance wasn’t something that was completely dealt with, simply glossed over, so I did wish to see more about it. But from what I see, a companion novella, Matt’s Story, detailing, well, Matt’s story is going to be out in August, so hopefully I’ll see the entire thing with Matt skipping town. Ella and Matt did have a bit of an Insta-Love going on for them, though, so be warned.
Meg and Jake were my favourite characters in the book. Meg is headstrong and a fighter, Jake is a musician and unreliable. And gah! These two together was just complete perfection 🙂 Admittedly, I cheered for these two more than Matt and Ella, because they were just. So. Good 🙂
All in all, the themes that this book brings out more than anything else are those of friendships lasting forever and learning to let go of past mistakes and accepting who you are now. And I loved that. I loved that Matt’s reappearance meant that he not only had to explain himself to Ella but also to Jake and Meg. And mostly, the idea of saying yes to everything for one night? That’s what I liked best!
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Public librarian and author of THE NIGHT WE SAID YES (HarperCollins / HarperTeen, June 16, 2015) and MATT’S Public librarian and author of THE NIGHT WE SAID YES (HarperCollins / HarperTeen, June 16, 2015) and MATT’S STORY (a The Night We Said Yes Novella, out August 2015). Fan of dinosaurs and cheesy jokes. And you.| Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr |