REVIEW: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

The Night We Said Yes 02

Title: The Night We Said Yes
Author: Lauren Gibaldi
Format: ARC, 304 pages
Publication: June 16th 2015 by HarperTeen
Source: Gifted by my fellow blogger/friend (thank you D!)
Genre: Fiction—Contemporary, Realistic, Romance
Other classifications: High School Romance, Young Adult

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Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over her ex-boyfriend and graduate high school—simple as that. But Matt—the cute, shy bass player—was never part of that plan. And neither was spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of. But then Matt leaves town, breaking Ella’s heart. And when he shows up a year later, wanting to relive the night that brought them together, Ella isn’t sure if re-creating the past can help them create a different future. Or maybe it can. . . .


In his book Looking for Alaska, John Green had a handful of quotations that rang true with my own experiences in life. But one that easily comes to mind is “I wanted to like booze more than I actually do.” Sadly, this speaks too of my relation with The Night We Said Yes.

To be fair, I really like the premise of Gibaldi’s debut. The story takes place in two nights, exactly one year apart. It’s told from Ella’s perspective and it starts with her trying to move on from her ex-boyfriend Matt who bailed out with no more than a note and a lousy excuse. Except now he has returned. And while Ella is hesitant—for obvious reasons—she wants answers all the same. The novel then jumps back and forth in the timeline as Ella in the past falls for Matt while the Ella in the present figures out if she and her friends are ready to take Matt back into their group. This should have been a favorite. Friendship story. The titular night of saying yes to every(reasonable)thing. A non-linear narrative. Instead, it’s trite, which, again, would’ve been fine except the main character—also the narrator—is problematic.

“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.”

I’d go right off the bat and tell you Ella is not for me. She wallows in sadness and is often overcome by the secondary characters. And I know that our high school selves are supposed to be subjects to heightened emotions but I can’t get past the fact that Ella (in the Now) was thinking about Matt and their failed relationship 95% of the time. Then we have Meg, the best friend, who clearly reads as a foil to the MC and Jake, her on-again-off-again boyfriend, who was almost fun—if only he had more layers. I must say, however, that Matt was enjoyable, especially pre-break up. But although the “Then” storyline entertained me, I was looking for something more, something to connect with, something to make me care about these characters. Alas, I was met by a two-dimensional plane.

“It’s as if my mind can’t process what would happen if he were to come back, so instead of reacting, it gives up, checks out, and leaves town.”

In addition, there are several scenes that are cloying if not downright groan-worthy and the stuff they said yes to were underwhelming. I was hoping (praying) the reveal might redeem the novel but when it was time for it—the reason why Matt had to leave—it was a bit of a letdown.

The Night We Said Yes is a light, summery read, but unlike many summers of my younger years, it’s bound to be in the dregs of forgettable made-up drinks.

2.0 out of 5


Lauren Gibaldi

Lauren Gibaldi is a YA librarian at Orange County Public Library, where she hosts youth programs. She lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and daughter. The Night We Said Yes is her debut novel.

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Do you plan to read this one? Or if you already did, what’s your take on it? Do you stick to a story without much plot going on but that has a character(s) you can connect with? And if you happen to DNF books, which I don’t, at least I haven’t had the strong urge to, how many pages do you go in before deciding to say yes to walking away (okay, that’s hyperbolized, but see what I did there?)? Sound off in the comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

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15 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

  1. Eeh, not a fan of heroes and heroines who keep on wallowing on self-pity over an incident that happened a year ago. Like seriously, 365 days have passed and you’re still not over it?! That sounds like a headache, really. I’d rather read their love being reignited when they meet again than read about endless monologues sighing the same thing! Sorry this was a dud for you, Shelumiel!

    Faye at The Social Potato


  2. I totally dnf a book if it’s not worthy and gives me a headache. Why stick on it if it’s only going to waste my time. There are so many good books out there. Dnf-ing is not a shame! Great, honest review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 1. Phew! I feel like I just dodged a bullet, thanks for this review. I did plan to read, solely on the title and the hype intrigued me to read the synopsis (excekt I never did, LOL). But, thanks to your review, I will be avoiding this one.
    2. No chance in hell. I do hate to waste time, especially when it regards to books.
    3. Hahaha, punny. 100 pages. But, if I feel like I cannot make it to 100 pages, I’ll just stop.
    Thanks for the insightul review. Again, you saved me wasted time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Someone had to take the bullet for the group, yeah? I’m always happy to help fellow bookworms decide whether or not a book is for them, but every time this happens (no matter how good it is for the person determining the title is not for him/her), it’s still bittersweet. Thank you, Wesaun! And 100 pages is a fairly good amount.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I caaan DNF. It feel like an unfinished project and that is way too shameful for me. But if by some miracle I DO throw the book…I have to make it at least 100-pages first. THAT BE MY RULE. xD
    I don’t think I’m planning to read this. Like, I do enjoy contemporaries but they’re totally not my favourite. So they need to have epic characters AND plot to hook me. Epic characters aren’t even enough these days…I neeeed plot.


    1. See? That’s where you get me confused; I totally thought contemporary is a favorite of yours! Like, you read it most of the time? Anyway. YEAAAAH. Definitely on board with you there. But someday, I think DNF-ing is bound to come up.


  5. I DNF’d this book, like when I told you on Twitter, yeah??? It’s just… It’s just annoying. I don’t usually DNF books, but if I have too! I actually had the same thoughts as you, that I would never DNF a book, and give them a chance, but this one is particularly excruciating 😥


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