April 3, 2018

Simon Pulse




Starry Eyes
by Jenn Bennett   


In this romantic dramedy from the author of Alex, Approximately, a teen girl’s way-too-ordinary life is driven off the beaten path when she’s abandoned in the wilderness with her worst adversary—the boy who broke her heart.

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?


"Totally in love with this story!"  By Ashia 2 weeks ago

- rating
- story
- characters


Starry Eyes is my kind of YA contemporary romance! It's full of romantic and spine-tingling moments, the kind I look for in my romances. Sure, Zorie has to deal with the truth about the past and learn to navigate her relationship with her friends and family, but I love that the author wasn't stingy on giving us romantic scenes that further Zorie and Lennon's relationship. Why do I say this? Of all YA genres, I tend to read contemporary romance more, and I find that authors tend to understate the romance (I don't mean the sex), as though teens couldn't be romantic in their courtship, there weren't many scenes between the main characters or they give more importance to other non-romantic issues such that the book felt a bit unbalanced to me.

But not here! Starry Eyes is all about relationships--Zorie's with her parents, Zorie's with Lennon, and Zorie's with her friends. And a big plus is that there are lots of scenes of Zorie and Lennon, even way before they went on their camping trip.

I also have to commend the author on creating such unforgettable and distinguishable characters. Zorie and Lennon are fully-formed individuals with their own interests, habits and idiosyncrasies. You can believe that they are truly best friends in that they know each other so well--and their transition from best friends to lovers is done well and believably. Lennon really tugs at the heartstrings; he is such a perfect gentleman, and the scene when he revealed the news about his dad was heartbreaking.

Starry Eyes is told from the first person point of view--Zorie's--and the author's voice is interesting and engaging. Maybe it's a plus that I've never been camping (not really an outdoorsy type of person) and I read every word with fascinated interest.

Another plus of this story is the portrayal of the modern family--Lennon has two moms and Zorie's stepmom is Asian, and how despite these differences, it's love that makes people a family, not blood or race or sexual orientation. I love that Zorie has such a great relationship with her stepmom, who's supportive and thinks of Zorie as her own; you don't see that often in books.

Overall, I'm totally in love with this story! Read it, read it, read it! Due to the slight sexual content (not graphic though), maybe this is more suitable for mature teens and beyond.