Contemporary Romance, Young Adult

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett Starry Eyes (9781481478809): Bennett, Jenn: Books

Pages: 448

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: January 8, 2019

Genre(s): Contemporary Romance

Format: Paperback

Goodreads Synopsis

“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?”

What Did I Think?

Just a quick heads up, folks: This. Book. Was. Amazing.

Let’s start by talking about the overall concept and set-up of this masterpiece! I thought this book was very unique in a lot of ways, but also included many of the elements that I love in a YA contemporary romance. Given the fact that I’m not exactly “outdoorsy” by nature (no pun intended, errr, okay, maybe it was), I actually found the “how-to guide for surviving in the wilderness” vibe of this book really enlightening! I also thought all the components of the plot, from Zorie’s love of astrology to the “glamping” trip to Lennon’s newest hobby, were very well thought out and made the events of the story that much more believable and realistic. For a contemporary, this book had so many plot twists that I really didn’t see coming, and boy was it refreshing! Though some were good and others made me cringe a little, I was totally invested in each and every event, and each one flowed into the next in a perfectly logical way.

Moving on to our wonderfully diverse set of characters! I love how each of these guys, regardless of if they were front and center or simply in the background, were so well developed and that the reactions they had to different events in the book were so raw and real as opposed to everything feeling staged. It’s clear that every character had their flaws and that there were aspects of themselves that made them stand out from the other characters. I also appreciated how these flaws and disparities were thrown out up front, which allows the reader to see just how far they each developed from beginning to end. I found myself relating to Zorie a lot– we’re both crazy planners who expect everything we lay out in our lives to go a certain way, and when it doesn’t, it’s a little intimidating and scary. We also both don’t know jack about the outdoors (anyone ever heard of a bear canister? Neither have Zorie and I!). While I don’t necessarily think Lennon and I have all that much in common, I still found myself respecting his adventurous side and go-with-the-flow attitude– something I think both Zorie and I could benefit from having more of in our lives!

I can honestly say that I’m not always a fan of the “enemies turned BF/GF” trope that we see so often in YA contemporary romances, so I was really shocked when I fell in love with the relationship we see rekindle between Zorie and Lennon! I think part of the reason I was more than okay with this was because it was mixed in with the whole “best friends turned more than friends” trope, which, judge me if you want, is one of my favorites! And even better is the fact that the book didn’t have an insta-love situation between these two. Rather, it was clearly and thoughtfully developed in a realistic way. It was clear that both Zorie and Lennon continued to care about one another when they weren’t on good terms, and that sometimes all it takes is a little communication (and a little witty and some well-placed digs later) to figure out where both people went astray and how to move forward in rebuilding a relationship.

One of the big takeaway for me was how this book really goes to show the reader that spontaneity in life really isn’t the end of the world, and more times that not, something really great can come out of it! I felt like I was on the same journey as Zorie in the sense that sometimes opportunities arise that aren’t laid out neatly in your very organized agenda, and that taking advantage of those opportunities rather than those you planned isn’t always a bad thing. As Zorie’s stepmother says, “don’t be cautious, be careful,” and sometimes it’s best to let the wind take you where it will, even if this approach is riskier than the one you penciled in.

Now that I’ve written a whole heck of a lot, here are some final thoughts:

I enjoyed every single moment of reading this book. The plot was perfectly paced for me, and I found myself totally engrossed in the story from start to finish. There were a lot of moving parts in this one, and they all managed to work together like a well-oiled machine. Without a doubt, there is something in this book for everyone! I have to admit, though: the chances of me backpacking through the wilderness are now VERY slim. If you don’t understand this random tidbit of info, READ THIS BOOK and you’ll get it (and might just agree with me)!

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

Due to some minimal mature content, I would not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 16.

This book is the perfect fix for anyone who’s in the mood for a quick , summery read with a little outdoor adventure thrown in for good measure!

If you’re already a fan of Jenn Bennett, then I highly recommend you read this book! I’d also recommend this book to anyone who’s enjoyed books by Morgan Matson, Huntley Fitzpatrick, and/or Jenny Han!

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