Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

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? (add on Goodreads)
If Brett is Sirius, brighter than anything else in the night sky, Lennon is the moon: often dark and hidden, but closer than any star. Always there.
(I'm not going to lie...when my brain read "Sirius," it immediately made a Harry Potter connection. 🤣)

I received an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, the quotes I used may have changed or been altered in some way, but I am quoting from what I received.

Jenn Bennett is my jam! She has forever changed my life with her beautiful, charming, realistic stories and unforgettable characters. Starry Eyes was no exception, and even made me want to go camping, which is not normally a desire that I have. 

I loved living vicariously through Zorie (awesome name, btw), and experiencing her anxiety and need for plans and organization. The thing about Jenn Bennett's books... they all resonate with me in some way. I'm usually able to relate to multiple characters, which doesn't happen very often. I have a strong urge to plan every little thing, but having kids quickly changed that. I can barely plan dinner, so an entire day is out of the question. I understood Zorie on a very deep, emotional level. Her stress was my stress, but without the hives.

My husband loves, loves, loves to go camping. He would backpack across the world for the rest of his life, if he could. I prefer short walks and camping in cabins. I loathe mosquitos and they adore me. We like to take short hikes as a family, and I love the solitude it provides. You're really stuck with your thoughts, and it gives you a chance to think about everything and nothing. All of these things, the mosquitos, the quiet, the thoughtfulness--it's all mentioned in this book. It's a story that speaks to the soul. 

I love that Lennon has two moms and then a dad. Mac and Sunny sound like ridiculously awesome parents. I don't think I'll be able to see or hear the word "shrimp" without laughing to myself. Zorie's family was unconventional, but also enjoyable. I loved her relationship with her stepmom, and how the two of them were friends and not just mom and daughter. Oh, and Grandpa Sam was one of my favorite characters even though he's only mentioned a few times and seen once. 

Giant sequoia trees, the Perseid meteor shower, and even a few creatures were all a part of this wonderful story. I always find it more difficult to review the books I love, because I feel like there is so much to say, but also like I cannot adequately put my feelings into words. I love how sex-positive this author is, and how her characters always seem to discuss it with maturity and responsibility. Cursing and sex are not taboo, and they shouldn't be. Most teenagers are sexually active, or at least having thoughts about it. Like I said, realistic. 

Starry Eyes was about two people trying to navigate their emotions and the wilderness. I loved watching their journey and seeing the world through their eyes. If you haven't read something by Jenn Bennett, I highly recommended that you do! 

“Anyway,” he says. “We’re completely safe here, wolf-wise. Better chance of spotting a werewolf.”
“Oh, you’d like that, wouldn’t you, Bram Stoker?”
“He wrote about vampires.”
“Same difference.”
“Do you enjoy being wrong?” he asks.
“I enjoy your sanctimonious defense of fictional creatures.”

26 comments:

  1. So glad you enjoyed this, I can't wait to read it! I love Jen's UF series but her YA's are always my favorites.

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    1. I haven't read her UF series yet! It's next on my list! I've read Bitter Spirits (the series, too), The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, and this one. I've loved them all! I feel like I need to pace myself so I don't run out of books to read (like I'm doing with The Lunar Chronicles), but then I tell myself I can always re-read them. There's just nothing like the first time, though!

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  2. Well, you know I'm super excited about this one. I started it last night and I just KNOW I'm going to love it.

    Have you read her Arcadia Bell UF series yet?

    I absolutely love how she writes families.

    And yes, I know you irl - I can't picture you camping in the wild lol I'm somewhere in the middle on that. I could do it but for 1-2 nights - then I'm out! I need some electricity.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I know you're excited! I'm so happy you started reading it right away! I want to talk to you about it. Desperately, lol. I know you're going to love it, too!

      I haven't read her Arcadia Bell series yet, just Bitter Spirits and the rest of the Roaring Twenties series! Love it so much!

      I can't picture me camping either, but this book gives me hope. Maybe I'll try to do it one day, but bugs... ugh. They are probably the biggest downfall. Bugs, SNAKES--OMG I was hiking one day with Jacob and W (as a baby strapped to my chest), and an EFFING SNAKE FELL OUT OF A TREE and landed on my chest between me and W. I was freaking out, flailing around and trying to get it off without it biting one of us. If a snake bites you in the woods, and it's poisonous, WTF DO YOU DO? Nightmares for weeks, girl.

      Electricity, snake-free environments, sturdy shelter--sure. "Roughing it" just sounds like torture and possibly a death wish. But I loved the book! Haha!

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  3. Alright, alright! You’ve convinced me!

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    1. Yay! Go forth and read the magic that is Starry Eyes! :)

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  4. You know, I STILL haven't read anything by this author! I know I need to though as people are always raving about her books and I do love a good contemporary novel. I'm so not a camping person, but I have friends that really love it. haha These characters sound awesome - thanks for sharing.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. She has such a wide variety of books to choose from! I've enjoyed everything I read so far (immensely), and will forever read what she writes! If you have a chance to read one of her books, or need to borrow one from me, let me know! I'm happy to share.

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  5. it's one I was curious to try because I enjoyed a lot of novels by the author!

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    1. I hope you do try it! It's wonderful! I'm sure you'll like this one if you've enjoyed the others.

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  6. That's fantastic that you've found an author whose books always resonate with you. This one sounds like it has wonderful, relatable characters and great messages!

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    1. Yes, yes and yes! They've been so perfect for me. I love buying her books and giving them as gifts throughout the year. Family, friends, strangers at the grocery store...haha. Spreading the love!

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  7. I'm actually reading Starry Eyes right now so I only skimmed but I'm glad to see how much you enjoyed it. I agree that there are several relatable characters in this one, especially Zorie, and I'm also loving the relationship between Zorie and Lennon so far.

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    1. It was the best! I loved how they were neighbors and friends for years before the start of this book. They have so much history, and so their predicament and feelings seem natural and not forced. It just took them getting stranded in the wilderness to finally communicate their thoughts and feelings to each other. SUCH a great book! I hope you love it as much as I did!

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  8. Jenn Bennett is totally my jam as well Linds, I don't think I've come across a reader so far that didn't enjoy her books. She always blends incredible and relatable characters with swoon and quirk. I'm reading this one this week as well so super stoked you loved it Linds, beautiful review <3 <3

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    1. Ahh! I can't wait for you to read this! It's MY FAVORITE ONE SO FAR. I love the relationship between Lennon and Zorie, and the environment is so PERFECT. I know this review was long, but I still feel like I left a lot out. There's just so much I could have said about this book. Love-love-loved it!

      And what you said was spot-on! "She always blends incredible and relatable characters with swoon and quirk." 👏

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  9. Jenn Bennet is my jam too!! I prefer camping in cabins . . . or not at all lol. I have the same problem with mosquitos. I loved this one and glad you did too! Great review!

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    1. Camping in cabins for the win! People always tell me to "eat bananas" and not "wear blue" clothing, but I've discovered that these things just don't work for me. There's something in my blood, I think. If mosquitos are like vampires, I hope I never meet one! I doubt even gross garlic breath would save me.

      So happy you loved this!

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  10. Love your review! I love finding *that* author - the one whose writing speaks to me, whose characters come alive for me and whose stories I just fall right in to. (Katie McGarry is one of those authors for me.) I’m reading Alex, Approximately right now and loving it. Reading your review makes me even more excited for more from Jenn Bennett!

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    1. Yay! I still need to read Alex, Approximately. I love that I still have books to read by an author I adore. I know I'm going to re-read the ones I've already read, but undiscovered awesomeness awaits me. I feel like Jenn Bennett just gets me, you know?

      I really like Katie McGarry's books, too!

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  11. It's so awesome when you can relate to characters in a book! I find that I don't often relate to characters, or that I only relate to one aspect of them. So I'm glad you were able to see yourself in Zorie!

    I love YA books that have a focus on family, and also YA books that don't demonise step parents, so YAY for this book having both of those things. The family relationships in this book sound lovely.

    Camping has never been a big thing in my life, but it's great that this book captured the feeling so well. Authenticity like that is priceless.

    I hope you love the next Bennett book you read! Lovely review :)

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    1. I have a feeling I will always love the next Jenn Bennett book!

      It was so nice being able to relate to Zorie! I really did see a lot of myself in her, and I feel like her reactions/decisions to things were also what I would have done/chosen.

      Lennon had an awesome relationship with his moms (which I loved), and I thought it was great Zorie and her step-mom got along. However, her dad was an ass, so everything wasn't perfect.

      Camping isn't a big thing for me either, but I've been itching to go since reading this.
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  12. I loved this one so much, too, Lindsi! Jenn Bennett's writing is wonderful no matter if YA or adult! Made me want to go backpacking all over again even though it's been a long time. Mosquitoes love me too, I just ward them off with 100% Deet. I don't like to mess around, even if they said it's not very good for you, mosquito bites are worse, imo! Fab review! :)

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    1. 100% Deet?! That's insane! I feel like covering myself in netting, but I don't know that it would actually help.

      I love all of her books! YA, adult, and isn't there a UF? I think it's the series I haven't read yet.

      Backpacking sounds wonderful. We can't just drop everything and go camping, but we did go for a little hike last weekend. We saw three deer while we were out!

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