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.
The Night We Said Yes is a playful read about friendship, love, and growing up.
- Stylistically, The Night We Said Yes flips from past to present in a wonderfully consistent parallel. The mirror-like quality of the events almost plays homage to a relationship that casually fell apart and the friendships that have survived it. Each dueling scene, one past, one present shows where the relationship went wrong, how it developed, and highlights the chemistry that’s still there. It feels like nothing has changed and yet, everything has. The characters have grown up and experienced pain but the parts of themselves that adored the other never left.
- The story itself has an almost John Hughes tone. It takes place in a single night of mischief and memory, glorifying all those moments that are inherently teenager. Lost love, self discovery, confrontation, and confusion are all there with just the right amount of anxiety and social awkwardness.
- Some parts are charming, cheesy, and hilarious, they’re the sort of quirky everyday experiences that can happen to anyone. Sometimes awkward, sometimes downright embarrassing, love is a messy, complicated thing and how people respond to conflict varies. Each let down, come on, and interaction between sexes is unique, honest, and believable.
- The story centers around one night in the past and the recreation of that memory in the present. Despite the allure of exploring the past and rekindling the feelings that manifested there, I struggled with staying interested. You kind of knew how everything would play out from the tone.
- The ending was short, summarized, and predictable. The flip is almost unbelievable it happens to suddenly and Ella is so certain when she was decidedly against resolution.
- I couldn’t really get into the characters individually. As a group, they were great together, but Ella was sort of lackluster. Her friends were powerful personalities with clear likes and dislikes, you knew who they were. Ella was muted, there were little tidbits about her that quickly shifted as her character grew. It was hard to get attached.
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