REVIEW: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

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Title: The Night We Said Yes

Author: Lauren Gibaldi

Publisher: HarperTeen

ISBN: 9780062302199

Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis: “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. “

Matt’s father works as some kind of an IT-technician for the military so he moves around a lot. He doesn’t spend more than a year in one state so he doesn’t have lasting friendships. From the beginning until the end, he keeps saying how he didn’t have a home ’til he moved to Orlando, where he met Ella, Meg, Jake and their nice, close-knit group.

Everything starts with the night Matt, Jake, Ella and Meg all decide to say “yes” to everything, every idea and proposal and all. That night, they all do things they never thought they would like breaking into the school to swim in its pool at midnight and it also helps them pluck up courage.

Similarly, right after Matt’s “re-appearance”, Ella and Matt decide to relive that night but this time, it is just the two of them and the night is full of confessions, tears and heartbreak.

The chapters are separated into 2 different settings: “Then” and “Now”. The course of events in each “Now” chapter is almost parallel the those of the “Then” chapters. I thought it was a good way to see the similarities between the day when Ella gave Matt his first chance and then the day when she gave him his second (and hopefully his last) chance.

“It was my favorite part of the night – when the evening’s events were still unknown and unpredictable. It was the sense of possibility that I loved, the idea that anything could happen next.”

The romance in this book wasn’t cutesy or fluffy or you know, the kind that makes your heart race and you can feel your heartbeats right at the tip of your tongue. The “then” parts had some cute moments towards the end, when everything was finally settling down and there wasn’t action anymore, like the calm that comes after a fight. However, besides that, this book was mostly about the path to reunion of Matt and Ella and the challenges. I wish there was more romance in it.

“‘…He makes me feel like I’m the most important person in the world. And I know you don’t need a guy to make you feel that way, but it’s just… nice. He makes me feel nice. With us, nothing is ever forced.'”

My favourite thing about The Night We Said Yes was Meg and Ella’s friendship. I think it’s mainly because they were 2 people, not 3 or not 4. I’m a huge believer that when the friendship connects more than 2 people, a grouping (is this the right word for it? :|) is inevitable. Meg and Ella were very close and had these incredible memories with each other. I loved how they were able to understand what the other was thinking or feeling without even having to talk to her.

When I was in the middle of the book, I realised that I wanted to see Matt’s point of view and how he dealt with the heartbreak, and I was almost sad when it wasn’t mentioned but then I realised that it was probably better off this way as the lack of “drama” (well, the book wasn’t actually lacking in drama but the author managed to keep it minimum) helped the book to become a very light and fun read. Besides, I found out that there is a novella solely dedicated to Matt and his thoughts, so that will definitely enter my to-be-read list.

There were also times where I wanted to shake Meg and Jake to their senses, as they were both acting very immaturely. Mostly Jake, though. I just pitied Meg. :/

“‘It’s that whole macho thing. Guys say things to other guys to sound cool, but they rarely think about how their words will affect others.'”

I also need to say how much I love the cover. It is simply amazing.

Lastly, what I would like to see before the ending was how Ella and her friends dealt with the distance between them, as Ella chose to move to another city. I think it would be cool to see how they were doing in long-term, like one or two years maybe.

In conclusion, I can say that The Night We Said Yes was a very light and fun read with sociable main characters, friendship, romance and a little bit heartbreak. It had real-life-like characters which was a huge plus. I think it is perfect for times you don’t want to think much, you just want to hop on a train (which is in this case, a book) and meet a different world.

Where to Buy: Amazon // Book Depository

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