Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Title: Starry Eyes
Author: Jenn Bennett
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?


Let's get this out of the way before I delve into all the reasons you're going to want this book. Sure, this book appears to be named after me, but that's not why I loved it so. (It doesn't hurt, though!) And, yeah, Jenn Bennett is my new favorite young adult contemporary novelist, though I love all of her books, including the adult-themed Roaring Twenties series. (I haven't read the Arcadia Bell series yet because my library doesn't have it on audio and I do all my backlist reading via audio. Someone get on that, please.) Of course, Jenn also gets some of the best YA contemporary covers, too. Like, this book is set at the end of summer, but that cover just screams lovely fall camping weather to me. Which was kinda perfect at the time I was reading this.

But those aren't the reasons I enjoyed the hell outta this book. Allow me to enumerate why this is now my favorite Jenn Bennett book of all time:

1. The Maps - Have you ever read a story and continually had to flip back to a description to understand where places were in relation to one another? Not so with Starry Eyes because Jenn -- yes the author -- has created maps for each section of the book. (It's one of the character's hobbies, so it's totally relevant and completely adorable.)

2. The Awkward - So, in this story, the awful has already happened -- we don't have to read about the communication breakdown that led to friends who were becoming more suddenly becoming bitter enemies. BUT, we do get to see all the awkward as they find their way back to becoming friends on one ill-fated camping trip. And it is so incredibly awkward at times that I wanted to reach into the book and give everyone involved a big ole hug.

3. The Genuine - Zorie and Lennon talk. Like, a lot. And it's real and it's weird and totally inevitable but also totally adorable. And then that fight out in the woods? That is amazingly accurate, the way it went down and the aftermath. Jenn doesn't write down to her readers; she writes on their level. So much so that while I'm reading, I feel a resurgence of all those emotions and I have to tell myself to calm down. But she captures it beautifully.

4. The Sex Positivity - Gawd, I think Jenn Bennett probably writes the best, most sex-positive stories in YA. Her characters always talk about it before jumping into bed...or wherever they happen to be. ;) They're always careful. And there's no fade-to-black to escape the awkwardness. It's the same here. But these characters have known each other for ages and I think it felt even more meaningful because of that. Basically, I just adore the overall message Bennett is dropping.

5. The Family - The familial situation in this book is beyond different. It's diverse but it's also full of drama. And yet, the parents remain involved in their kids' lives. Regardless of what happened between Zorie and Lennon, they're all still friends on a deeper level. (Well, most of them.) And the love is obvious. Even when the biological link isn't.

I read this back in November and I've been waiting for it to release so I could immediately download a copy of the audiobook and re-read that way. I just loved this story so much! It was lovely and profound but also left me feeling content and cozy in the knowledge that I made it past young adulthood and all this awkwardness. :P I can't wait to read it again!


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About the Author:

Jenn Bennett is an award-winning author of several young adult books, including ALEX, APPROXIMATELY and STARRY EYES. She also writes romance and fantasy for adults. Her books have earned multiple starred reviews, won the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award, and been included on Publishers Weekly Best Books annual list. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two dogs.

Find Jenn:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | FacebookInstagram | Tumblr




1 comment:

  1. I love maps!!! So yay for that!! I'm excited to try this one-- I didn't LOVE love Alex, Approx, but I did like it, so I'm hoping I love this one!! I did love the way the sexy-times were written in Alex, so I'm glad to see that's going on in this one. I love your camping INSTA pic. Very cool!!!

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