Best friends and recent high school graduates Ella and Meg both dated members of a small “pop punk” band: Ella had an intense fling with bassist Matt, who later skipped town, while Meg has been on-again, off-again with lead singer Jake. When Ella unexpectedly runs into Matt six months after he vanished, she is both excited to see him again and angry that he left without saying goodbye. Gibaldi’s debut draws its title from a night these four teens spent together, during which they agreed to try every (reasonable) idea that one of them suggested. Ella and Matt decide to relive their “night of saying yes,” and Gibaldi’s chapters, written from Ella’s point of view, shift between the first night and the current one, one year later. However, the anticlimactic original night consisted mainly of drinking on the school’s roof and going swimming before it fell apart, and the second night follows a similar trajectory. While it’s an appealing structure and premise, the plot winds up feeling a bit thin. Ages 14–up. Agent: Michelle Andelman, Regal Literary. (June)
A story of friendship and romance, music and trespassing, and ultimately pursuing your own dream and your heart’s desire. This romantic adventure has appeal, especially for fans of books like Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.
Gibaldi’s special debut will make readers ruminate on first chances, first loves and those big, life-altering decisions. This perfectly paced book is fun to read, and the love story embedded within - along with a boatload of awesome characters - will appeal to lovers of all genres.
Lauren Gibaldi so cleverly weaves the past and the present to tell an authentic, spontaneous story of friendship, romance, and all the gray areas in between. With the turn of each page, you’ll be so glad you said yes to The Night We Said Yes!
Gr 8 Up—When high school senior Ella goes to a party with her best friend, Meg, she has two things on her mind: to see a friend's band play and to forget all about her ex-boyfriend. However, when she meets the new bass player, a slightly geeky but cute boy named Matt, all of that goes out the window. Ella, along with Matt, Meg, and Meg's ex-boyfriend, Jake, decide to have a carefree night where they say yes to almost any suggestion of fun. Matt and Ella's attraction is instantaneous, so when he suddenly moves away six months later, she's devastated. One year later, Matt reappears hoping for a reconciliation by re-creating that magical night. But Ella isn't sure if she should forgive him or move on. Gibaldi effectively captures intense, all-consuming teen attraction—both the good and the groan-inducing. Even though the story is from Ella's perspective, Matt still comes across as almost too good to be true, while her friends Meg and Jake aren't fleshed out. Chapters alternate between Ella and Matt's first interaction one year in the past and Matt's return in present day. Because the events of both nights are so similar, some readers may find the story a bit hard to follow until the last few chapters. While this isn't the deepest of love stories, some teens will still get caught up. VERDICT Purchase for collections that have a strong fan base for realistic, romantic fiction.—Kimberly Castle-Alberts, Hudson Library & Historical Society, OH
A story of first love lost and possibly found again is told in chapters alternating between the present and a year in the past. Ella is swept off her feet the summer before her senior year of high school by an earnest, adorable new guy named Matt who's the new bassist for her friend's band and who has spent his life moving from place to place due to his father's job. Over the course of the night they go from introductions to a series of adventures in which they play drinking games atop the rooftop of the high school, go skinny dipping, and make out on stage during the band's performance. Matt quickly develops a closeness with Ella and her friends Meg and Jake, whose own romance can only be described as tumultuous. A year later, readers find Ella encountering Matt again for the first time since he disappeared and broke her heart, just as she's looking forward to going off to college. Many teens will identify with the abundance of relationship drama on offer here, even as it unfolds at length among all of the main characters. The dialogue-driven narrative's straightforwardness serves the time-jump plot device well, helping to keep the audience grounded. In the end, there are few surprises in this coming-of-age novel, but readers looking for a light but meaningful summer romance will engage with it effortlessly. (Romance. 13-18)
This is a story for anyone who’s ever wanted to give first love a second chance.
You’ll wish you could step into the pages and go along for the ride. Suspenseful, romantic, and just plain fun. Say yes to this book!
Irresistibly sweet and full of heart, Matt and Ella’s romance charmed me twice.
The Night We Said Yes is filled with brilliant insights about what it’s like to be young and alive. You haven’t met Lauren Gibaldi, but she already knows you.
The Night We Said Yes captures the flutter and heartache of first love. This book is a first kiss and a first touch. It is a promise of a night filled with the thrill (and fear) of so many possibilities.