Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 16, 2015
ARC via Edelweiss

A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

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 Thoughts

My expectations for The Night We Said were certainly high. I loved the prospect of reading a story with a structure that alternates between then and now chapters, and the prospect of being introduced to a story that mainly covers two separate nights from year a part was a very exciting one. Now that I've read The Night We Said Yes, I don't know exactly what to feel. I really wanted to fall in love with this book, but I feel like it never went that far. I liked it, but I did not love it. I read it, but I probably won't read it again.

At the center of The Night We Said Yes are Ella and her group of friends, mainly her best friend Meg, Meg's on/off boyfriend Jake and Matt, a guy Ella cannot get out of her mind. During the "then" chapters, we get to live along these characters as they have their first "night of saying yes". Matt is new in town - he is cute, a bit shy and an amazing bass player and almost by accident joins Ella, Meg and Jake for their night of fun. There seems to be an instant connection between Ella and Matt, and eventually the night of fun turns into something more significant. But then Matt disappears without a word and leaves Ella brokenhearted and confused.

The move to the "now" chapters is made when Matt shows up again to town after a year of being away. Ella and her friends have just graduated from high school and Ella is more than ready to pack her bags and move to college several hours away from her hometown. Seeing Matt again makes everything more complicated and Ella does not know how to react - she is angry and confused, yet at the same time she has a hard time to control her excitement. She realizes how much she has missed Matt. When it seems like Matt has a plan, Ella just goes along, willing to give him a chance to show why she should forgive him.

For some reason I just did not feel any sort of connection with this book whatsoever. Ella is independent and not afraid to speak her mind, but for some reason she constantly feels like she's in the shadow of Meg. Meg is beautiful and witty and always ready to speak her mind and I could not help feeling like Meg is occasionally too controlling - the narration from the POV of Ella constantly made me feel like everything she and Meg do together is initiated by Meg and that Ella is pretty much responsible from Meg and her actions. She is always there when Meg and Jake get into a row and it feels like she is pretty much expected to calm her down. When Ella needs support with Matt, Meg does not really seem to be there for her, which kind of sucks.

The one character that really made it difficult for me to read this book was Jake. He is so full of himself and though the characters in the book try to justify him and his actions, I just could not get pass the fact that Jake is just generally a pretty unlikable guy. Matt was pretty problematic character for me as well - he seems sweet and cute, but I just never really felt that he gave a good enough justification for why he left and never explained his actions well enough. I know a lot of readers probably disagree with me about this, but I just wanted to share my opinion.

I guess I should have expected instalove after reading the synopsis for this book. I always feel a bit iffy when it comes to instalove and I do have to admit that I slightly felt like that while reading The Night We Said Yes. I do get how two people can feel a connection in an instant, but I guess I am so cynical that I just cannot see a connection like this as realistic.

I am probably in a small minority with this negative review (so far the advance reviews have been pretty positive), but I felt it my responsibility to share my thoughts with you. I really hope this review does not shake you away from this one if you have been looking forward to reading it - you should definitely check it out and see what you think. To conclude, I want to note that my issues were with the characterisation, not with the writing, which I think actually works very well in this novel. The Night We Said is Gibaldi's debut, and though I did not particularly like the story, I do look forward to Gibaldi's future endeavours just to get a chance to read more of her writing.

2 Snowflakes



  1. Hmmm... I'm not sure if I want to read this... I really don't like instalove at ALL so based on the blurb and your review, meh. The cover's pretty though!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. If you are not a fan on instalove, this might not then be for you. Though I guess a lot of the advance readers have not minded it too much since the reviews for this book are generally quite outstanding. I don't know whether it just wasn't for me or whether I did not have the right mindset while reading it.

      Well, in any case, at least the cover is pretty :) Thanks for your comment Laura!

  2. To be honest, it sounds a little like How to Love with that alternating chapter stuff. I know I really enjoyed that one but from your review I'm not so sure about this

    1. I have not read How to Love, but instantly checked it out from Goodreads, and yeah, they definitely sound kind of similar.
      If you get a chance, you should check this one out - I am definitely in the minority with my opinions on this one! :)

      Thanks for stopping by Nova!