Reading YA contemporaries usually go one of two ways for me: I either love a lot or I hate them. Characters, life choices, unnecessary drama, and more can lead me marking as book as DNF or slogging through and being highly unimpressed with a story. Which is why Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett came as a surprise. I didn’t like everything about this book, but I did enjoy my time reading it.
Zorie and Lennon haven’t been on speaking terms since last year’s homecoming dance when Lennon ditched her. When Zorie agrees to go camping with a few friends, Lennon tags along. After a fight, their group splits, and Zorie finds herself left in the wilderness alone… with Lennon.
Starting this book was rough. It felt like it was trying too hard to do everything and include everything. Like of course Lennon has two moms who run a sex toy shop and of course Zorie’s friend is planning a
camping glamping trip with boys without telling any parents. And of course her dad is a scumbag that doesn’t deserve her awesome step-mom. (Though, I’ll give Jenn Bennett credit for making the step-mom not a terrible person and actually a highlight of the book.)
But I pushed through because a friend told me it was good. And once the annoying characters were left behind and Zorie and Lennon started off on their adventure through the wilderness alone, it got better.
I wasn’t really surprised by most of the events, though I do like that all the seemingly different threads to do tie together at the end. While I don’t always agree with the characters’ choices, I think it’s important that this book shows characters discussing certain choices, like having sex, beforehand and using protection when they do so. (Even if it seemed a bit over-the-top that they used an entire package of condoms over the course of like two days…)
Lennon is all kinds of adorable, and I loved Zorie’s character. Her love for astronomy and need to plan every detail of her life were totally relatable. I think if I had read this in high school I would have wanted Zorie to be my best friend. The parents and even grandparents in this book were a highlight (sans Zorie’s dad). I think one of my favorite parts includes Zorie’s grandparents. It was refreshing to see positive relationships with parents who are involved in their children’s lives.
Overall, Starry Eyes surprised me. It’s an adorable YA romance with great plots and a fantastic setting. It does focus heavily on mature themes, so I would recommend this for older teens that enjoy YA contemporaries.
~I checked out a copy of Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett from my local library and chose to write this review of my own free will. All opinions are my own.~