Monday, May 21, 2018

Book Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett



Pages: 432
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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?


Zorie Everhart is someone who doesn't normally take chances, but when the opportunity comes to go "glamping" with her former good friend, Reagan, she uncharacteristically takes the chance as she desperately wants to get away from her dad and after her trip, she can meet her real friends at an astronomy get-together on a nearby mountain. Astronomy is her passion and she is excited to see a meteor shower with her fellow budding astronomers.  Meanwhile, it's the summer before senior year and instead of living it up, Zorie spends a lot of her time stressed out, thanks to her father.  Zorie was once really good friends with her neighbor Lennon, but there's a family feud going on currently and her father has forbid her to hang out with him; plus, there's the fact that he broke her heart.  To complicate matters further, she finds out that Lennon is going on this camping trip as well. Awkward much?  Jenn Bennett's Starry Eyes is such a great YA read. Books like this are why I still read YA fiction. 

Zorie is the type of character you might meet in a John Green novel and I mean this as a compliment. She's smart, awkward, quirky, and complicated in Starry Eyes. Her home life, at first, seems idyllic, but once readers scratch below the surface they see who her father truly is.  Even though Zorie has a great relationship with her step-mother, she wants to get away from her father and all the drama that unfolded this summer. Let's just say her father is a real jerk.  So, Zorie takes a chance and goes out of her comfort zone by going on this "glamping" trip to a fancy camping place in Northern California. The problem is Zorie isn't really a camper, a hiker, or even in good enough shape to be doing anything extremely rigorous like that, but her current crush is going on the trip, so she can suck it up, right? 


Enter Lennon. I absolutely loved him in Starry Eyes. He is so interesting and multi-faceted. I enjoyed every bit of this character and found myself wanting to learn more about him.  When Zorie finds out Lennon is also going on the trip, there's a lot of initial awkwardness.  You see Lennon broke Zorie's heart and she isn't quite sure what happened between them; plus, it ruined their friendship.  Zorie hasn't had any closure and there are many questions that she still has about what exactly happened.


The setting of the Northern California wilderness was fantastic in Starry Eyes. I am not a big camper, but I love hiking and exploring, so the adventure side of Starry Eyes really held my interest.  Zorie is a bit of a fish out of water, so I liked her seeing her push herself out of her comfort zone.  Plus, it didn't hurt that Lennon is, surprisingly, an expert outdoorsman.  


So, on their camping trip, there's a ton of drama, which is to be expected amongst high school students, which gives Zorie and Lennon a lot of alone time. I don't want to give too much away, but I loved them getting reacquainted with each other all while exploring nature.  You guys know I am a sucker for the whole friends-to-something more romance, so there was a lot of swoon on my part.


Also, it should be noted that Starry Eyes is for mature YA readers as there's underage drinking, sex, and other serious topics explored like affairs, betrayals, death of a loved one, and divorce.  I thought Bennett covered all of this very well though.


Starry Eyes is going down as one of my favorite YA novels of the year and after reading it, I immediately added Bennett's other novel, Alex, Approximately to my TBR list. 



4 comments:

  1. This sounds like a good book and something I would like to read too. I also do book reviews on my blog and interested in what other books others are reading too. :-)

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    1. It's definitely one of my favorite YA books of the year. Thanks for visiting, Bec.

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  2. Ahh I love, love Jenn Bennett. I can't wait to read more of her contemporary work. Though I still love her The Anatomical Shape of A Heart more than Starry Eyes. Oh, but how I enjoyed this one.

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    1. I was so impressed by her! I will have to check that one out as well as Alex, Approximately. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this one too. Thanks for visiting, Joy!

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