Review: Winter & Summer: Short Story companion collections

It’s taken me about a week to work my way through these collections, 12 stories in each. I alternated one from My True Love Gave to Me (hereby referred to as Winter), and one from Summer Days and Summer Nights (shortened to, you guessed it, Summer), although something happened at the end, and I had to read the last two Summer stories consecutively…but that’s neither here nor there. For those of you who do care, here are some simple stats and happy coincidences. (Although I am more than happy to give credit to Stephanie Perkins to her amazingly, psychic powers resulting in me being able to make these patterns).

  • Each book has stories by three authors whose work I hadn’t read previously
  • Each book had five stories with magical or wondrous elements, and seven that didn’t.
  • After I read David Levithan’s snarky and bittersweet boy-loves-boy Winter story, Your Temporary Santa, I found myself reading Tim Ferderle’s snarky and bittersweet boy-not-so-much-loves-boy in the Summer compendium, Souvenirs. Loved them both obviously.

Hmm, thought I had more than that.

Anyhoo… moving right along, these books work in companion because here in Australia we celebrate Christmas in the summer, so I read Winter for the seasonal feels, and I read Summer for, well, clearly the heat, and the beaches, and the swimming, and the sweating, through which I am currently suffering enjoying. Well, the swimming at least.

I can’t talk about all the stories, but I do want to highlight a couple from each book. For example, as soon as I thought to read these, I headed straight to Stephanie Perkins in Winter, and fell in love with the snarky talky-talk between Marigold and North. Their banter is fine.

 

yuletide-miracle

It’s an all-in-one-night story, and ends most satisfactorily. So it was an even better surprise when I immediately opened Summer to Perkins’s story, and found myself once again with Marigold and North. North’s witticisms are even better.

90mins

Marigold’s determination to sort through North’s silent treatment is wonderful. Again, it happens all in one day (this time), and concludes happily (thank goodness).

I then went back to the beginning, and read story for story, one from Winter to one from Summer, and it was delicious to open my heart to these new characters, sometimes strange landscapes, and often bittersweet relationships. There are other excellent elements in play: Diverse backgrounds (The Lady and the FoxAngels in the Snow; It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown!What the Hell have you done, Sophie Roth?; and Welcome to Christmas, CA from Winter. And In Ninety Minutes, turn North; and Good luck and Farewell in Summer), LGBTQIA characters (Your Temporary Santa in Winter, and The End of Love; Souvenirs; and Love is the Last Resort in Summer), and disabilities represented positively (A Thousand Ways this could all go wrong in Summer). Grief was also prevalent. It seems teenagers suffer death of loved ones in many and varied ways. It’s a strong emotion which many young people experience and ultimately heal (mostly).

The wondrous stories are written by authors who have some of the best YA Fantasy around – Holly Black, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, and Laini Taylor in Winter, and Leigh Bardugo, Libba Bray, Veronica Roth, Cassandra Clare, and Lev Grossman in Summer. These stories sit all along the magical spectrum – some offer only a tiny taste, some interweave quite strong paranormalcy (ha. see what i did there?)  while one author builds an utterly new world (might be part of her new series perhaps?)

I want to highlight more quotes. For their sweetness, for their insight, for their snark.

David Levithan is a master of the perfect memory: (Your Temporary Santa in Winter)

temp-santa

Tim Federle captures that millennial cynicism: (Souvenirs in Summer)

souviners

I must ALWAYS add a quote about libraries and/or books: (The Map of Tiny, Perfect Things by Lev Grossman, the last story in Summer)

tiny-perfect

And two from Laini Taylor because… well, it’s Laini Taylor: (The Girl who Woke the Dreamer, the last story in Winter) (ooh another happy coincidence)

from the girl:

dreamer2

from the dreamer:

dreamer1

Both of these collections are highly recommended. While there may one story in each book that might not end completely happily, the majority leave readers happy, refreshed, and satisfied.

 

 

 

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