RELEASED: May 17, 2018
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
GENRE: YA Contemporary
GOODREADS RATING: 4.05
TRIGGERS: Homophobic, cheating, death of parent
REPS: LGBTQIA+, Korean side character
Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best-friends-turned-worst-enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern-day 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.
Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to try to make their way to safety. But as the two travel deeper into the rugged Californian countryside, secrets and hidden feelings surface. Soon it’s not simply a matter of enduring each other’s company, but taming their growing feelings for each other.
This is the first book by Jenn Bennett I read, and I can already tell you it isn’t the last! So let’s dive into my review for Starry Eyes, okay?
I always start my review by talking about the writing. I really don’t have all that much to say about it, except for.. This read like a train? I was so lost in Zorie and Lennon’s story! I got pulled in and the words would not let go of me. They had a hold on me. I just had to keep reading to find out what would happen next because.. Let’s face it..
The setting of this story is something else! I haven’t read any contemporary yet – until Starry Eyes of course – where our characters are in the wilderness instead of a school-setting or other more general, not-so-original setting. This added so, so much to the story since there weren’t any distractions. Sure, there are some sub-plots happening, but those didn’t feel all that present because Zorie and Lennon were on their own without other influences.
Speaking of.. Can I just mention how Lennon is the gothic / emo-ish kid and I absolutely live for it? I need more characters like those, okay. I’m not even going to deny it! Not to mention the friends-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-friends trope that’s going on in this book. My contemporary-loving heart couldn’t ask for more! I absolutely loved it to pieces!
The addition of geekish information throughout the story? Hell to the yes! It’s one of those aspects that immediately adds a lot to characters depth-wise. I don’t like novels were it seems like the characters don’t have any real passions outside their relationships and friendships. Seeing how both Lennon and Zorie have their own hobbies and interests, without them necessarily overlapping, was a feat!
Last, but definitely not least are some other aspects I can’t help but loudly applaud. First off, Zorie’s stepmother is Korean. Lenon’s parents are lesbians. Zorie is absolutely addicted to planning everything to a T – which is very, very recognizable for me. And the best part of this novel? How sex is mentioned. Safe. Sex. In. YA. I need to see more of that. It should never be a taboo so.. Jenn Bennett, I bow to you! Thank you!
Cautious people are afraid of the unknown and avoid it. Careful people plan so that they’re more confident when they face the unknown.
Naturally, I cannot give this any less than five cupcakes and the message “I will definitely read a whole lot more of Bennett’s work for sure!
How often have you come across safe sex in YA books?
Are there other subjects / taboos you’d like to see way more of?