Starry Eyes, by Jenn Bennett
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Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Length: 432 pages
Times Read: Once
Rating: ALL THE STARS IN ALL THE SKIES
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 I Liked: Another of my most anticipated spring reads, but unlike Nothing Left to Burn, this one surpassed all expectations. I beyond loved it. Survival stories are my kryptonite, and while this isn’t quite that, it had the same feeling.
♥ Zorie. She starts out as a girl who wants to plan everything, but throughout the story learns to let go a little. She’s a strong character, and I enjoyed being in her head. Things with Lennon have been strained since THINGS happened but she’s determined to show him that’s she’s totally over everything when he ends up being part of her Glamping trip. Zorie’s an aspiring astrophysicist, and spends a lot of her time with the astronomy club and her telescope.
It doesn’t always end well
♥ Lennon. Sweet, swoony, emo Lennon. His passions include reptiles, the great outdoors, and graphic novels. He also spends time working at his mom’s sex shop (he has two moms, and they’re both wonderful), which happens to be next door to Zorie’s parent’s business. He’s been going through a lot of tough stuff since THINGS happened, and not being able to talk to Zorie about any of them has really weighed on him.
♥ Zorie’s mom. She’s actually her step-mom, but she’s everything you could ever hope your mom would be. She’s patient, kind, open, and totally there for Zorie. They have a really special, really close relationship. It doesn’t matter at all that they aren’t related by blood. It’s incredibly refreshing to see both Zorie and Lennon have a non-biological mom and how little of a difference it makes to anyone.
♥The setting. I’m what you might call an indoor girl (sorry, husband obsessed with hiking and camping), but I adore books like this. Something about getting the characters out of their element, as well as allowing me to experience camping without actually being outside (dirt, ew), really speaks to me.
My inner 90’s child does think this is cool
♥Zorie and Lennon. Their families aren’t exactly the Montagues and Capulets that the book description would have you believe, because everyone likes each other except for Zorie’s asshat of a dad, but I actually enjoyed that discrepancy. Zorie is always welcome at Lennon’s, and she really missed being with his family during the time they aren’t in each other’s lives. As we go with them on their outdoor journey, we see them begin to get close again, until THINGS finally come to light and they both have all the right information to make their own choices.
♥Sex-positive. In the sense that there’s a sex shop which is accepted by (almost) everyone, a lesbian couple accepted by (almost) everyone, and healthy, consensual sexual relationships.
What I Didn’t: Grasping at straws here. My main complaint is that it didn’t go on forever.
⊗The s.n.a.k.e. If you are like me and so irrationally terrified of them that you can’t even watch them on tv or read about them, there is one chapter that’s going to be rough for you.
I couldn’t bring myself to look for a s.n.a.k.e. gif so please enjoy these stars instead
⊗Zorie’s glamping “friends”. Seriously, they’re awful.
⊗The pace. Really, only the first few chapters are on the slower side, but we still get some good set-up and Lennon scenes, and once they get into the outdoors, things really pick up.
Final Thoughts: A delightful book with a romance you’ll root for, present parents, positive sex and birth-control scenes, and a good ending on so many levels. If you haven’t read Jenn’s backlist yet, WHY NOT?
Favorite Quotes: “’Don’t be cautious. Be careful,’ she reminds me. Cautious people are afraid of the unknown and avoid it. Careful people plan so that they’re more confident when they face the unknown.”
“Uncertainty isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it can even be filled with extraordinary potential.”
“We are goddamn amazing. We’re a rocket ship filled with potential. Either we die in a fiery blaze before we leave the Earth’s atmosphere, or we make it through and orbit the moon.”