Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett Review

I don’t know about starry eyes, but I do give this book three stars.

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett follows Zorie, an overachieving planner who was stood up by her ex-friend Lennon at the homecoming dance the last year. This summer, Zorie expects an easy summer working as a receptionist at her family’s business and going on field trips with the astronomy club. However, Zorie carefully planned summer goes haywire when she is invited on a camping trip and ends up stuck with Lennon after she is ditched by the rest of the group.

Before this book, I have read three books by Jenn Bennet. First, I read Alex, Approximately which was only an average read for me. Then, I read Serious Moonlight which I seriously enjoyed. Then, this year, I read Catching Lucky which I absolutely loved. Over the course of these three books, Jenn Bennett’s writing just has constantly improved and now she is definitely an auto-buy contemporary author for me.

Of course, I had to check out one of the books that I skipped over in her line-up. Since it’s summer, I was immediately pulled in by the entire camping plot and I frequently enjoy the relationship dynamic suggested by the synopsis. That being said, Starry Eyes definitely falls in the middle of books by Jenn Bennet for me, just as it does in her progression of writing. While Starry Eyes does have some aspects reminiscent of aspects that I enjoyed in Serious Moonlight and Chasing Lucky, it also contains aspects that I wasn’t a huge fan of in Alex, Approximately.

Let’s start with what I really enjoyed. One aspect of Jenn Bennett’s books that she does really well is conveying the setting. The way she write captivating descriptions of a character’s surroundings really places a reader in the story. Since the setting of this story is extremely integral to the plot, it was necessary that it was executed well and Jenn Bennett definitely delivered in this area as usual. From her descriptions I was equally intrigued to go and see the places mentioned in the story as we all equally terrified of the threat of bears and mountain lions.

As for the romance, it was hit-or-miss for me. One aspect of Jenn Bennett’s characters that I loved is that she always slowly reveals the backstory, not only of the relationships between different characters, but of the characters individually as well. I think this brings a lot of depth and realness to the characters in her book. At the same time, Zorie and Lennon didn’t particularly grab me as a couple, and well they had some chemistry, I just couldn’t see what they had in common that really pulled them together. With a romance, you really have to click with it to be satisfying, and while Zorie and Lennon were okay, their relationship wasn’t particularly memorable for me.

As I mentioned earlier, there were some aspects in Starry Eyes that reminded me of Alex, Approximately that I didn’t like. Although I think Bennett did a good job of fleshing out the main two characters, I don’t think the relationships between other characters or other characters in general were as well fleshed out, which made them come across as caricatures. For example, all of the characters that Zorie and Lennon go camping with, as well as her father who plays a major role in the story, were so one-dimensional that there interactions came across as very unnatural. This really impacted the end of the story for me in particular where some of the conflicts between these characters were either unresolved or presented in a very unrealistic and overdramatic fashion that didn’t fit with the rest of the story.

Overall, Starry Eyes is a fun read that is perfect for the summer, especially if you’re in the mood to read a summer book not set at the beach. While it wasn’t my favorite book by this author, it was a fairly solid book that I enjoyed. I give this book three out of five stars.

Follow me on…

Twitter

Instagram

Goodreads

ARC REVIEW// Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

I was so lucky to receive an ARC of this book!

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett follows Josephine “Josie” St. Martin when she settles back into her hometown after five years of moving around

the New England area with her mother. Back in town, Josie runs into her former best friend, Lucky Karras, who wants nothing to do with her. However, a bad decision brings the two together again.

Chasing Lucky

I have received ARCs for now three out of four books recently released by Jenn Bennett. While I was unsure of my thoughts on Jenn Bennett’s books after I read Alex, Approximately, each time I read a new book by this author, I love her writing even more. Out of the three books that I have read by Jenn Bennett, Chasing Lucky is hands down my favorite.

One of the highlights of books by Jenn Bennett is her writing style. The descriptions of Beauty, Josie’s hometown, were so descriptive that I felt like I was there. Her characters have distinct personalities that are shown through their actions rather than told the reader. Every time I read a new Jenn Bennett books, these characteristics of her writing seem to constantly improve, so I am consistently impressed by her new works rather than reminiscing about her old ones.

I also greatly enjoyed the relationships and relationship dynamics present in this book. The characters, their pasts, and their personalities truly carry the story. While there is miscommunication between the characters, it isn’t thrown in haphazardly to generate some drama, but all makes sense within the context of the characters in the story. While I guessed some “mysterious” or “secret” details of characters and their relationships in the book, this didn’t seriously impact my reading experience because I overall enjoyed each character and their role in this story.

I think Chasing Lucky is a sold contemporary. It reflects real life with its characters, relationships, and setting, but also provides an interesting story that will hook readers from beginning to end. Jenn Bennett has slowly become an auto-buy contemporary author from me and I look forward to her next release. I give Chasing Lucky five out of five stars.

I received a copy of Chasing Lucky via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Follow me on…

Twitter

Instagram

Goodreads

ARC Review: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

book review

I have some serious love (and some criticisms) for this book.

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett follows Birdie, an eighteen-year-old girl with narcolepsy and love for mysteries after she takes a night shift job at a hotel. On the job,Serious Moonlight Birdie runs into Daniel Aoki, a brief fling who she works with to solve the mystery of a reclusive writer who visits the hotel.

I have read one other book by Jenn Bennett, Alex, Approximately, which was an average read for me. I read Alex, Approximately as an ARC. While I enjoyed it, I was surprised to see so much hype surrounding the book upon its release. I wanted to try another book by this author to see if it lived up to the hype since I am a huge fan of contemporary books. While Serious Moonlight started off much stronger for me that Alex, Approximately, it ended up falling into several of the pitfalls that I did not enjoy in the first book that I read by this author.

Let’s start with the characters. Jenn Bennett does an amazing job of inclusivity with her characters. She includes characters from different races and cultures. Her characters struggle with mental illness or disability. But Jenn Bennet does not just include diversity in her books, but she fully fleshes out every character so they come across as people and not a checklist. The main character, Birdie is a shy and sweet main character that I think many readers will enjoy. Daniel, Birdie’s love interest, is also multi-faceted and interested. While I was initially put off by the “he’s perfect, but WAIT there’s a MASSIVE secret,” I think the author really steered clear of the typical formula that trope follows.

That being said, there were a few issues that I had with characterization in her book. My largest issue was with Birdie’s Aunt Mona and her former flame, Leon Snodgrass (yes, you read that correctly). Aunt Mona has a large personality and outfits to match. So much that you may roll your eyes at her outfit descriptions because they are so numerous and lengthy. While Aunt Mona has many moments that let readers see how amazing she is, I could do without the countless descriptions of her outfits that attempt to make her look quirky. The same goes for her love interest Leon Snodgrass, presented as what a frat boy becomes when he leaves college and barely anything else. I had this same problem in Alex, Approximately because I felt like I was being hit over the head with the character’s unique vintage style over and over again.

As for the pacing, the beginning of Serious Moonlight grabbed me a lot more than Alex, Approximately. For the first 200 pages, I found myself moving through the story quickly. While the mystery aspect could come across cheesy, I actually found it somewhat endearing since it helped Birdie come out of her shell. Then, the book took a major shift. There was a large chunk of the middle solely devoted to the relationship and devoid of any progression of the mystery plot, which confused me. This part of the book really slowed down for me and I found myself pushing through for more of the plot to develop. While I assumed I knew how the mystery ended (and I was correct), this derailment wasn’t my favorite aspect of the book.

Another aspect that I move back and forth on is the relationship in this book. For the majority of the book, I absolutely loved Birdie and Daniel. Both Birdie and Daniel grow as people throughout this book and learn to open up to each other throughout their relationship. I was actually really excited during the first 90% of this book because it generally steered away from the soap-opera style drama that I wasn’t a fan of in Alex, Approximately. Then, the big moment of the mystery came and some of my love left quickly. While I understand how Daniel reacted to this moment, it seemed fairly out of character for him, especially how he treated Birdie after it happened. I also was not satisfied with how quickly the characters moved past this moment either.

Overall, Serious Moonlight is a solid young adult novel. I can see why so many people consider Jenn Bennett an auto-buy contemporary author because she creates loveable and multi-dimensional characters in her books. However, there were still several aspects of this book that reminded me of reasons that Alex, Approximately was only a three star read for me. That being said, I am still interested in checking out Starry Eyes, another book by this author currently out on the market. I give Serious Moonlight three out of five stars.

 

I received Serious Moonlight as an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Follow me on…

123