What could be better than summer . . . and love? The answer is summer, love and Stephanie Perkins. Perkins, known for happily-ever-after YA romances like Anna and the French Kiss, edits this volume of 12 short stories, all written by luminaries in contemporary YA lit. Opposite-sex love, same-sex love, love between unexpected partners and seemingly inevitable love all find voice in these tales, which range across genre lines from realistic fiction to science fiction to magical realism and beyond. There’s summer classes, summer jobs—at camps, resorts and amusement parks—and surprising summer visitors. There’s love that blossoms quickly and love that takes its time. There’s love that might last forever and love that might just end with summer’s fading days.
Some stories, like Jon Skovron’s “Love is the Last Resort” and Jennifer E. Smith’s “A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong,” are sweet and funny. Others, like Libba Bray’s “Last Stand at the Cinegor” and Cassandra Clare’s “Brand New Attraction,” have a darkly funny twist—and others, like Veronica Roth’s “Inertia” and Lev Grossman’s “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things,” are tearjerkers.
Issues like neurodiversity, mental health and complicated family dynamics are explored even while romance takes central stage. Throughout, as Perkins fans might expect, there’s sweet and sexy kissing . . . but nothing more. Fans of Perkins’ previous anthology, My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories, won’t want to miss this further seasonally themed volume.
Jill Ratzan matches readers with books in a small library in southeastern Pennsylvania.