Starry Eyes

Starry Eyes
Written by Jenn Bennett
Contemporary, Romance
432 Pages
Published June 2018
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia and Netgalley
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★★★★★
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.
To placate her concerned mother, Zorie reluctantly concedes to accompany friend Reagan on a camping vacation throughout the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Northern California, before attending the Perseid meteor observation with the astronomy society. Neighbours Lennon Mackenzie and Zorie Everhart haven't spoken since the fateful homecoming dance that ended their friendship and their official relationship debut. Zorie has endured the heartbreak of their separation only to discover Lennon has also been invited.

The intensity between Zorie and Lennon is palpable as they discover they've been abandoned and with inadequate alternatives, decide to journey towards the national park where Zorie is due to meet her astronomy club, the two adolescents reconnecting along their journey.

Zorie Everhart is a meticulous young woman, anxious and fastidious. Her parents operate a small acupuncture and remedial massage surgery, the once successful business heading towards receivership and blamed on their neighbours, an adult store coincidentally operated by the Mackenzie family. Lennon is  wonderfully contrasting character. Zorie recognises her limitations while Lennon is a pioneer, confident in his abilities. Two accomplished individuals who compliment one another. The tentative friendship was lovely and although Zorie and Lennon have lived on the periphery of one another's lives during their separation, both adolescents longed for the intimacy of their former friendship.

The parental relationships were wonderful. Zorie has a wonderful relationship with her Korean American step mother, her mother passed away during her infancy and rendering her father emotionally absent. Lennon's parents are magnificent and an instrumental influence on Lennon, maintaining a wonderful relationship with Lennon's biological father, an Egyptian American musician. Although Lennon is unable to see his father as often growing up, it was beautiful to see a diverse, blended family who co parented to raise such a wonderful young man. Sexually positive women who own and manage an adult store with the focus on female pleasure. Their discussions on sex and sexuality are a positive influence on Lennon and his upbringing, creating a respectful and courteous young man.

While Zorie's mother is wonderful, her father is incredibly offensive. To conceal his own impropriety, he is incredibly aggressive towards the Mackenzie parents, his lesphobic comments of the same sex, long term, loving relationship are offensive and ignorant.

Jenn Bennett is a phenomenal author, creating resonating characters with charisma and compassion.  Starry Eyes is a beautiful journey of discovery, captivating until the final page.

Click here to see the Starry Eyes Tour schedule.

21 comments

  1. I'm so glad to see you loved this one! I've been reading pretty positive reviews since the book came out, and I always hear people rave about the author. I need to read something by her, so I think I should start here. It seems like a wonderful fit for the summer, you know? I love that the MC's parents are (mostly) positive characters and yay for a good step-mother in YA!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Another aspect I really enjoy about a Jenn Bennett read is the family involvement and support for characters. Family influence is a wonderful inclusion throughout her narratives and often blended, diverse families which is appreciated by readers. This one is brilliant Lauren and one you'll really enjoy. Can't wait to see what you think of it!

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  2. I am LOVING the family relationships in this -- except for Zorie's father, of course. I know opposites attract, but sometimes that doesn't always come through for me enough in books. It sounds like the author has succeeded in that respect in this one though. Wonderful review, Kelly!!

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    1. Thanks Verushka. My goodness her books are just feel wonderful reads that appeal to both the adolescent and adult audience. I've yet to read any of her adult titles but she's most definitely my favourite young adult contemporary author.

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  3. what a time to be a reader! it is books like these that marks a turn of a new reading era! I can't wait to see if my library has this

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    1. If they don't have it in yet, make sure you borrow her other young adult titles, either Night Owls or Alex, Approximately or both. She's an incredible author Ailyn and you'll really enjoy her work.

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  4. I've been wanting to read this book for so long because it sounds like the perfect contemporary! I've been reading a lot of heavy, fantasy books recently, so I'm excited to read something a bit lighter. Lovely review :)

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    1. Thanks Kristin. I often feel the same way, when you read so many heavy fantasy or science fiction storylines, you need to balance out the romantic comedies and her young adult books are those I would recommend to every reader, she has such a wonderfully, wide appeal.

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  5. Yesssssss!!!! I loved this book SO much!

    No one writes families (of all kinds) as well as Bennett.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. She really is the premier young adult contemporary author isn't she. While I'm waiting for her next release, I'll be reading her Roaring Twenties series int he meantime, it sounds absolutely fabulous!

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    2. That's a good one too. Have you read her Arcadia Bell UF series? That's how I first found her.

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  6. I can't wait to read this one! And I love hearing about the relationship with her (step)mother because I am super close with my mom and I love reading about mother/daughter relationships

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    1. Me too! Even as an adult, I still rely on my dear old mother and love reading about the parental relationship. It's such a wonderful read, superbly entertaining and leaves you feeling great!

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  7. I love stories with great family relationship in them so I'll definitely get a copy of this one! Awesome review Kelly :)

    xx
    Vanessa
    Blushing Geek

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    1. I've been reading quite a few lately Vanessa and are really enjoying them. Starry Eyes is just lovely, such a delight to read. Would love to see what you think of it.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Carole, hope you're having a wonderful month of reading!

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  9. It's so beautiful to see the diversity in here, and I'm glad that it was sex positive as well - the adult store is a new one to YA I must say! A shame about the father and the offensive comments. Lovely review Kelly!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

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  10. My how wonderful was this book <3 :-) I absolutely adored it. I loved Jenn's Night Owls too and am thinking I should give some of her adult titles ago.

    Beautiful review. If only all teenage boys were Lennon's <3 :-)

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  11. Easily one of my all-time favorites! Jenn Bennett is my jam! I really liked Bitter Spirits, too. I still need to finish the rest of that series. Let's see... it's the 20's, so you have flappers and the prohibition, plus a paranormal aspect with ghosts and such. I'm really glad you liked this one! I absolutely HATED her father. He was such a sleezeball and I wanted to knee him in the crotch. Also, Lennon's parents were AWESOME. I loved that they owned a sex shop and decorated their display window according to the season. It was also badass that Lennon wasn't embarrassed by them and appreciated what they did.


    I enjoyed the emotional journey they both took together, and how they really opened up their hearts over the span of a few days. The rainstorm scene was perfection! Everyone needs a moment like that in their lives. Lovely review! <3


    L @ Do You Dog-ear?

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  12. I know I'm going to be reading this (it's waiting on my shelf waiting for me to be in the right mood for this YA read) but your review is reminding me of all the reasons I want to read it. Jenn Bennett writes amazing YA and always manages to write YA I want to read and tell others about. So glad to see you enjoyed it.

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