Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren GibaldiThe Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
Published by HarperTeen on June 16, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonThe Book Depository

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.

Based on the cover, I thought The Night We Said Yes would be a book in the vein of From What I Remember…, a YA Hangover kind of thing. Spoiler: it’s not. I mean, there are a couple of very epic, adventure-filled days, but everything is a realistic adventure. Though not initially on my radar at all, Dahlia Adler (author of Under the Lights among others) convinced me to give the book a shot. You win, Dahlia. You win. The Night We Said Yes is an adorable, banter-driven story of first love and second chances.

The Night We Said Yes alternates between two timelines: when Ella first met Matt and when Matt returns a year later after disappearing. Now, when I say disappearing, it’s nothing so drastic as it sounds. He wasn’t kidnapped and he didn’t run away. Matt’s family moved back out of town, and he failed to keep in touch with his girlfriend or best friend once he was gone.

Anyway, the two timelines run parallel in a really cool and clever way. She clearly worked hard to make them dovetail so neatly, and it’s effective, though you will occasionally have to remind yourself which timeline you are currently reading. Essentially, Matt and Ella reenact a lot of the things they’d done when they first met on their reunion, so there are a lot of similarities to it. The similarities highlight the strong connection between the two, and the differences show how they’ve grown in their time apart.

There are a lot of cool things about The Night We Said Yes. For one thing, Matt and Ella totally instaloved on one another in the original timeline. Now, they instalove in a super believable and adorable way, but they fall super hard and super fast. However, we’re viewing that time already knowing that things are going to implode later because they don’t know or trust one another enough yet. I think this really captures two sides of growing up, the impetuousness and emotions but also the way that you learn from things not working out like you planned.

The title isn’t about anything porny, which can’t have been just my thought, right? There’s this scene, bear with me, in A Room with a View, where Mr. Emerson talks about how after the eternal why there is a yes and a yes and a YES. That’s what The Night We Said Yes really reminds me of. It’s all about why Matt left and about how Ella wants to react to him being back. It’s about taking chances and saying yes to life. Mr. Emerson would totally approve of this book.

The Night We Said Yes is heavy in bantery dialog, so, if that is your thing, then you will definitely want to check out this debut because yes. I totally bought the chemistry between Matt and Ella in both timelines. Beyond the romance, Gibaldi really sold me on the friendships. Ella’s friends Meg and Jake have their own relationship stuff they work through in the book, and it’s a very atypical relationship for YA, which was cool. I also loved the inclusion of Gabby and Barker. I don’t know if any of those relationships will last through college, but they’re all great in their own ways, and I think not knowing is part of the charm.

The Night We Said Yes turned out to be a surprise hit with me, though I really should have known better since Dahlia generally doesn’t steer me wrong. For cute banter, well-developed secondary characters, and quite a bit of kissing, say yes to The Night We Said Yes.

Favorite Quote:

I watch my video game character get eaten and stabbed. And instead of flinching or mourning, I accept his damage and move on, as I should have a year ago when Matt left. I put imaginary bandages on him and let him continue killing zombies, just as I’ll keep fighting. I’ll move on to my next stage without the sorrow and pain I’ve held on to for so long. Whether it’s with Matt or not, we’ll see. But it’s my decision. I may be damaged, but I’m okay.

The yellow letters flash on the screen again, signaling that my game is over. I didn’t win, but I did beat the first level. Tomorrow I’ll beat another and then another until one day there won’t be any zombies in my path.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif dude yes supernatural

2 responses to “Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi”

  1. Dahlia Adler says:


  2. Hannah says:

    So glad to see this -just started the first chapter and was a bit meh but now I know to stick with it!
    Hannah recently posted…Review: Emmy & Oliver – Robin BenwayMy Profile

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