Book Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

The Night We Said Yes
Author: Lauren Gibaldi
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Released: June 16 2015
Review Source: Harper Teen

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.

The night they said yes is the night that it all started, and the night that it all got destroyed. A tale told from 2 different times, one 6 months previous and one 6 months after Ella's life has changed - all because of Matt. Then: She says yes with Matt, Meg and Jake and she becomes a new person. Now: She says yes and learns why everything fell apart, how she might be able to put it together, and if she actually wants to get it back.

I really loved this book. The characters are so lovable. Meg is honestly what I would want in a best friend, even with her flaws. She sticks up for Ella and is not past punching Matt in the face, if that is what Ella wants her to do. Jake - he's the bad boy that most girls would kill to have, minus the womanizer aspect. But readers get to see his softer side, which makes it hard not to like him. And Matt...what can I say. I knew he hurt Ella from the first chapter, but right when we jumped into the Then I was in love. He's the good guy trying to be a bad boy but can't quite get there. He's exactly what Ella needs, and yet he is what broke her. It was difficult for me because I was so unsure how I wanted things to end!

I absolutely loved the Then and Now aspect of the story. It was nice to see Matt and Ella's start, and to see Ella trying to piece what happened with Matt together. It hasn't ever really been done before - at least I haven't seen this style before. And it was refreshing and kept me wanting to go back to the Then but really needing the answers of the Now.

And while I loved the Then and Now story telling it also is my biggest problem with the story. When Ella finally decides what she wants to happen with Matt is when I wish we just stayed in the Now. So I really wish that Gibaldi had decided to make the Then chapters be a little bit longer to get them all in before Ella's decision, and when we should've just been in the Now. I understand that the Then and Now tended to follow the same chapter arc, but that got a little boring after a little bit too. I'd rather have a joke in the Now  come up later in the Then chapter rather than have it be in the very next Then chapter.

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