The Night We Said Yes – Lauren Gibaldi – HarperTeen – Published 16 June 2015
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.
When I first picked this book up I stopped reading after just a few chapters. I wasn’t enjoying it and the resemblance to Last Year’s Mistake, which I has just finished and didn’t enjoy, was too similar. In the interest of giving The Night We Said Yes a fair chance I decided to continue reading at a later date, which I have now done. I still didn’t like it all that much, but I did finish it and I did like some aspects.
Told in alternating before and after chapters, The Night We Said Yes tells the story of the night Ella first meets Matt, and the night he returns to town after breaking Ella’s heart and a year of silence.
The whole book is focused on a group of six teenagers and their relationship drama. Unfortunately, this wasn’t something that interested me. At all. But I know some people have loved this book, and there were a few redeeming qualities.
I did like that when you are flipping between before and after, each section mirrors the next. It was clever, keeping the reader engaged as the book switches between times. However, I did find it a little confusing to remember what had actually happened then and what was happening now as both nights were so similar. Another problem I had was neither night was all that spectacular (drinking, going to parties/bars and almost skinny dipping isn’t my idea of a good time).
The relationship drama was a little tiring. The first half of the book revolves around building up to what happened between Matt and Ella. Unfortunately I couldn’t muster much more than an eye roll at the developments. I didn’t care. The whole thing was overblown. She’s upset, he’s upset, he’s got some big excuse. True, this wasn’t as badly done as in Last Year’s Mistake, so that was good. The problem is, for me at least, that I had very little investment in any of the characters, much less their relationships. Matt and Ella get together and fall for each other in one night. It’s not insta love per say, but it certainly has that feel because you only ever see them, as individuals and together, over two nights – when they first meet and after the break up. Those two nights are all you see of them, aside from a few mentions of the time between these nights, and it wasn’t enough for me to form a connection with any of the characters.
Aside from the drama between Matt and Ella there is the on-again-off-again relationship of Jake and Meg, Ella’s best friend. Theirs is the screaming, crying, making out type of drama. Again, no investment. I did like the friendship between Meg, Ella, Jake, Matt, Barker and Gabby. They are tight and supportive (when they are not fighting with each other), even if they are a little (okay, a lot) crazy.
Overall, not my type of book, but not to be discounted if you like teen drama.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Romance. Friendship. Dating and relationships.
Age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Infrequent coarse language, f***, sh**. Sexual references. Underage alcohol consumption and drink driving.
Published: 16 June 2015 by HarperTeen.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 304 pages.