Book Review: Starry Eyes

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Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Edition: April 23rd 2018 by Simon Pulse, 421 pages

Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Wordery

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. 


 

“Planning can’t save you from everything. Change is inevitable and uncertainty is a given. And if you plan so much that you can’t function without one, life’s no fun. All the calendars, journals, and lists in the world won’t save you when the sky falls.” 

As my first Jenn Bennett novel, Starry Eyes was a good one. There’s a lot that happens seeing as these characters are hiking, an aspect I loved as someone who has an interest in hiking but has never been, and the characters are so adorable.

Zorie is very clinical and organised, working hard at school to become an astronomer. I love that space and astronomy plays such a big part in her character: it’s such an interesting and rare thing to see in YA, where a girl has such a distinct hobby and passion. Her descent into disorder is very well done as well. She tries to hold onto remnants of her old life, and it’s Lennon that helps her see that change isn’t necessarily all bad. The sex positivity is so great as well, just throwing that in there as someone who loves sex positivity in YA!

I also loved Lennon. He’s sarcastic and holds his own, refusing to back down and sugercoat things to please people- unlike Zorie, who has to be kind. He’s also horror-obsessed, which I love, as someone who is super into both horror and manga. I really enjoyed him and Zorie as both friends and as a couple, although I wish I could have seen more of them as friends. Everything was so quick between them and always tense, so you only ever see glimpses of their friendship how it was, and that was disappointing.

Some difficult topics are also addressed in this novel, and really well, too. The exploration of grief was so shocking I found myself laying in bed crying, it took me so much by surprise, and I’m so grateful Jenn Bennett wrote such a complicated approach to grief.

It was also amazing seeing cheating examined so closely. The repercussions are seen on everyone involved, and Zorie has to deal with knowing about it the entire novel. Her inner struggle is so well written. I can’t recall ever seeing cheating discussed, let alone with so much conviction and emotion.

There’s a lot of complicated familial relationships explored too. Again, I’ve never seen a character closer with their stepparent than their biological parents, so it was so nice seeing Zorie so close with her stepmum. Her stepmum is also Korean; Lennon is mixed; and Lennon also has two mum’s, which was amazing!

However, there was some explicit lesbophobia that I feel wasn’t addressed as well as it could have been. Zorie still has sympathy for her dad on some level regardless of how homophobic he is to her BEST FRIEND’S PARENTS, and it’s also heavily implied he dislikes Lennon because Lennon is mixed. Nobody ever takes the time to call out her dad on page besides Lennon, and that really bothered me.

One of my biggest issues was the pacing, and the timeline. It feels like there wasn’t enough time spent on Zorie and Lennon’s friendship and break up, and they didn’t communicate as efficiently as they should have before getting together. Their emotional conflict never felt like a real conflict as I didn’t have any time to know them before the conflict ever happened. There was so much time spent on certain conflicts, like the cheating plotline, that others- like Zorie and Lennon- just never really mattered to me as I always knew they would end up making up.

I did enjoy this read, especially as my first Jenn Bennett read. I’ll definitely be picking up more from her as I love her characters and how different they are, but I did have my issues with her pacing, something I hope will be better in her other novels!


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐.25

 

 

 

One thought on “Book Review: Starry Eyes

  1. Pingback: March Wrap Up & April TBR Jar Pick – seasonsofwords

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