Serious Moonlight

Serious Moonlight

by Jenn Bennett

Paperback(Export ed.)

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Overview

“An atmospheric, multilayered, sex-positive romance.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where Birdie waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that the most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781534445284
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 04/16/2019
Edition description: Export ed.
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Jenn Bennett is an award-winning author of young adult books, including: Alex, Approximately; Starry Eyes; and The Lady Rogue. She also writes historical romance and fantasy for adults. Her books have earned multiple starred reviews, won the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award, and been included on Publishers Weekly’s Best Books annual list. She currently lives near Atlanta with one husband and two dogs.

Read an Excerpt

Serious Moonlight


  • “You see, but you do not observe.”

    —Sherlock Holmes, “A Scandal in Bohemia” (1891)

    He’d probably forgotten me already. It was a month ago. Practically forever.

    He definitely wasn’t here tonight. Just to be sure, I scanned the diner one more time, from the rain-speckled glass door to the PIE OF THE DAY chalkboard sign near the register, where the owner had carefully written: ANNE OF GREEN GRAPES, featuring Yakima Valley chardonnay grapes and blueberries.

    All clear.

    For the better part of May, I’d avoided coming to the diner, walking past the windows with my hood up, fearing he’d be here, and if we ever occupied the same space again it would rip open a hole in the universe and create the Most Awkward Moment in Modern History, and the diner—my haven in the city—would be tainted forever and ever.

    But he wasn’t here, and just because he worked somewhere nearby didn’t mean he was a loyal patron of the Moonlight Diner. And so what if he was? This was my home away from home. I’d spent most of my childhood living in a tiny two-bedroom apartment directly above it. This booth, with its tufted red leatherette seats? It was my booth. I’d learned the alphabet at this table. Read Harriet the Spy and every Nancy Drew mystery. Won dozens of games of Clue and Mystery Mansion with my mom and Aunt Mona. On the underside of the table I’d drawn crayon portraits of Ms. Patty and Mr. Frank, the diner’s owners.

    The Moonlight was my territory, and it wasn’t cursed just because I’d met a boy here and done something stupid.

    “I’d like to buy a vowel, Pat.”

    I glanced at the woman sitting across from me in the booth, drinking coffee, blinking at me through gold-tipped fake lashes. “Um, what?”

    “I’m trying to solve this Wheel of Fortune puzzle in the elusive but always intriguing category of ‘What is Birdie thinking about?’ But I’m missing too many letters,” Aunt Mona explained, gesturing like Vanna White at an imaginary game board with long fingernails that featured decals of bumblebees. They matched her 1960s yellow go-go dress (so much fringe), black lipstick, and towering golden beehive wig, complete with tiny winged bee pins.

    Mona Rivera did not do anything halfway. Not when she was my mother’s best friend in high school, and not now, at the ripe age of thirty-six. Most of her elaborate outfits were cobbled from vintage pieces, and she had an entire wall of wigs. She was somewhere between cosplayer and drag queen, and one of the best artists in the Seattle area. She was the bravest, most original person I knew and the most important person in my life.

    It was very hard to keep secrets from her.

    “You told me you weren’t nervous about starting this job tonight, but if you are, it’s totally normal,” she said. “All your training has been during the day, and working at night is going to feel completely different. Graveyard shift is not for the faint of heart—trust me—and if you’re worried about staying awake and worried about your sleep issues—”

    “I’m not worried,” I argued. Mostly not anyway. On one hand, I was a night person, so graveyard didn’t bother me. On the other hand, it was my first real job. The first time since my grandmother died this past Christmas that I was allowed to take the ferry into the city alone. I would be spending the entire summer working in downtown Seattle, and I was excited. And a little nervous. And extraordinarily caffeinated—which, in hindsight, was probably a mistake. But on the Alertness Scale, which is a scale I just made up, I lean heavily toward the Always Sleepy side, as narcolepsy runs in my family, along with a slew of other weak genes. My mom used to joke that our Scandinavian ancestors must have gone through an inbreeding phase a couple of hundred years ago.

    Aunt Mona frowned. “You haven’t been listening to a word I’ve said over our celebratory Endless Hash Browns dinner, which is the finest of all the Moonlight’s food groups.”

    “Agreed.”

    “So why are you watching everyone that comes through the door and making your Nancy Drew face?”

    “I’m not making my Nancy Drew face.”

    “Squinty eyes, super alert. Ready to nab a criminal. Oh. I believe I know your Nancy Drew face, especially since I’m the one who coined it.” Her gaze darted around the diner. “Who’s the suspect? Are we talking robbery or murder?”

    I’m a mystery fiend. Detectives, criminals, and clues are my catnip. When I was younger, Mona designed noir-style case files for me to fill out on my vintage Smith Corona typewriter, so that I could keep track of my ongoing neighborhood investigations. Case of Mr. Abernathy’s missing garbage can? Solved. Case of the broken streetlights on Eagle Harbor Drive? Solved and reported to the city.

    Case of why a sheltered, nerdy girl decided to flirt with a beautiful stranger who was way out of her league?

    Completely unsolved.

    If I had to profile myself, it would look something like this:

    Suspect: Birdie Lindberg

    Age: 18

    Medical conditions: (1) Sleep problems, possibly inherited from grandfather. (2) Hospital phobia. (3) Bookworm disease. (4) Possible addiction to watching old Columbo, Midsomer Murders, and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries episodes.

    Personality traits: Shy but curious. Occasionally cowardly. Excellent with details. Good observer.

    Background: Mother got knocked up by an unknown boy when she was a rebellious seventeen-year-old, disappointing her small-town parents. Mother dropped out of high school, left her sleepy childhood home on Bainbridge Island, and crossed Elliott Bay into Seattle with her childhood best friend, Mona Rivera. The two friends raised Birdie together until the mother died unexpectedly when the girl was ten. She was then taken in by her grandparents on Bainbridge Island and homeschooled, causing the suspect to develop a profound sense of loneliness and rabid curiosity about everything she was missing. Her only refuge was Mona Rivera, who moved back to the island to be closer to young Birdie. When Birdie’s strict grandmother died six months ago of the same weak heart condition that took her mother, Birdie was sad but also relieved that her grandfather realized she was eighteen and couldn’t stay trapped on the island forever and granted her permission to get her first real job in Seattle. Abusing her newly earned freedom, the suspect promptly engaged in lewd and lascivious acts with a boy she met in the Moonlight after her first job interview.

    “No suspects tonight,” I told Aunt Mona, pushing away a plate of lacy hash browns indecently smeared with ketchup. “The Moonlight is free and clear of any ne’er-do-wells, hoodlums, and crooks. Which is good, because I probably should be heading to work soon.”

    She shook her head. “Not so fast. If there’s no suspicious activity and you aren’t worried about your first night on the job, then what in the world is going on with you?”

    I groaned and laid my cheek on the cool linoleum tabletop, staring out a plate-glass window flecked with raindrops at the people beyond, who were dashing down the sidewalk in the twilight drizzle as streetlights came to life. Gray May would soon be turning to June Gloom, which meant more drizzle and overcast skies before summer truly arrived in Seattle.

    “I did a stupid thing,” I admitted. “And I can’t stop thinking about it.”

    Bumblebee nails gently moved mousy-brown hair off my forehead, away from the ketchup-smeared rim of my unfinished plate, and tucked it behind a single lily I wore in my hair behind one ear. “Can’t be that bad. Fess up.”

    After a couple of long sighs, I mumbled, “I met a boy.”

    “O-o-h,” she murmured. “A boy, you say? A genuine member of the human race?”

    “Possibly. He’s really beautiful, so he may be a space alien or a clone or some kind of android.”

    “Mmm, sexy boy robot,” she purred. “Tell me everything.”

    “There’s not much to tell. He’s a year older than me—nineteen. And a magician.”

    “Like, Las Vegas performer or Harry Potter?” she asked.

    I huffed out a soft laugh. “Like card tricks and making a napkin with his phone number written on it appear inside the book I was reading.”

    “Wait. You met him here? At the diner?”

    In answer, I held up a limp fist and mimicked a head nodding.

    “Was this when you were interviewing last month?”

    “For that part-time library job.” That I totally thought was a sure thing . . . yet didn’t get. Which was doubly depressing when I later realized that my misplaced confidence was one of the factors that led me to get carried away with “the boy” on that unfateful day.

    “And you didn’t tell me?” Aunt Mona said. “Birdie! You know I live for romantic drama. I’ve been waiting your entire life for one juicy story, one glorious piece of top-notch teen gossip that will make me swoon, and you don’t tell me?”

    “Maybe this is why.”

    She pretended to gasp. “Okay, fair point. But now the cat’s out of the bag. Tell me more about this sexy, sexy cat—meow.”

    “First, he’s a boy, not cat or a robot. And he was charming and sweet.”

    “Keep going,” she said.

    “He showed me some card tricks. I was feeling enthusiastic about the library job. It was raining pretty hard. He asked if I wanted to go see an indie movie at the Egyptian, and I told him I’d never been to the Egyptian, and he said it was in a Masonic Temple, which I didn’t know. Did you? Apparently it was—”

    “Birdie,” Aunt Mona said, exasperated. “What happened?”

    I sighed heavily. My cheek was sticking to the linoleum. “So we ran through the rain and went to his car, which was parked in the garage behind the diner, and it was pretty much deserted, and the next thing you know . . .”

    “Oh. My. God. You didn’t.”

    “We did.”

    “Tell me you used a condom.”

    I lifted my head and frantically glanced around the diner. “Can you please keep your voice down?”

    “Condoms, Birdie. Did you use them?” she said, whispering entirely too loudly.

    I checked to make sure Ms. Patty wasn’t anywhere in sight. Or any of her nieces and nephews. There were almost a dozen of those, a couple of whom I’d gone to school with when I was a kid. “Do you really think that me, a product of unsafe teen sex, whose mother later literally died after getting pregnant a second time, someone who had to listen to a thousand and one safe-sex lectures from her former guardian—”

    “Once a guardian, always a guardian. I will never be your former anything, Birdie.”

    “Her current guardian in spirit.”

    “That’s better.”

    “I’m just saying. Yes. Of course. That wasn’t the problem.”

    “There was a problem? Was he a jerk? Did you get caught?”

    “Stop. It was none of that. It was me. I suddenly just got . . . weirded out.”

    One moment I was all caught up in feeling good. This beautiful, funny boy whom I’d just met was kissing me, and I was kissing him, and I think I may have just possibly suggested we get in the back seat instead of going to the movie theater. I don’t know what I was thinking. I suppose I wasn’t, and that was the problem. Because once we got back there and clothes started getting unbuttoned and unzipped, it all happened so fast. And in the middle of everything, I had a startling moment of clarity. He was a stranger. I mean, a complete stranger. I didn’t know where he lived or anything about his family. I didn’t know him at all. It got way too real, way too fast.

    So when it was over, I bolted.

    Ditched him like a guilty criminal fleeing a botched bank job.

    Then I headed to the ferry terminal and never looked back.

    “Oof,” Mona said in sympathy, but I was pretty sure I heard some relief in her voice too. “Did he . . . ? I mean, was he upset about it?”

    I shook my head and absently rearranged the salt and pepper shakers. “I heard him calling my name. I think he was confused. It all happened so fast. . . .”

    “Maybe too fast?”

    “He wasn’t pushy or anything. He was nice, and I’m such a dud.”

    Mona made a chiding noise and quickly held up three fingers in a mock Scout salute. “On my honor—come on. Say it.”

    “Trying to be an adult here.”

    “Trying to help you be an adult. Say our pledge, Birdie.”

    I did the salute. “On my honor as a daring dame and gutsy gal, I will do my best to be true to myself, be kind to others, and never listen to any repressive poppycock.”

    When my grandmother was alive, she forbade swearing, cursing, and anything resembling rebellion under her roof. Adjusting to her rules after my mother died had often been draining. Aunt Mona had helped me cope by coming up with the Daring Dame pledge . . . and secretly teaching ten-year-old me a dozen words that contained the word “cock.”

    Aunt Mona and Grandma did not get along.

    Satisfied with my Daring Dame pledge, she dropped her fingers. “I know it’s hard for you to get close to people, and I know as much as you and Eleanor disagreed, she was still your grandmother and it hurts to lose someone. I know you must feel like everyone you love keeps leaving you, but it’s not true. I’m here. And other people will be too. You just have to let them in.”

    “Aunt Mona—” I started, not wanting to talk about this right now.

    “All I’m saying is that you didn’t do anything wrong. And maybe if this boy is as awesome as you say he is, he could be understanding about how things ended if you gave it another chance. You said he gave you his phone number. Maybe you should call him.”

    “Must have fallen out of my book when I was running,” I lied, shaking my head. I actually tossed if off the side of the ferry on my way home that afternoon when I was still freaking out about what I’d done. “But maybe it’s for the best. What would I say? Sorry I bailed on you like a weirdo?”

    “Aren’t you sorry you bailed on him, though?”

    I wasn’t sure. But it didn’t matter. I’d probably never see him again. And that was a good thing. It was one thing to say the Daring Dame pledge and a whole other to live it. Maybe I needed to build up some real-world experience before I braved dating. Perhaps I needed to put on my detective glasses and figure out where I went wrong.

    But after all the mystery shows I’d binged, I should’ve known that detectives never investigate their own crimes.

  • Customer Reviews

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    Serious Moonlight 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
    Anonymous 23 days ago
    'Serious Moonlight' is such a cute, sweet romance that kept me smiling the whole way through. The two main characters, Birdie and Daniel, are incredibly adorable (together and apart) and very true-to-life. Well, moreso Birdie than Daniel as Daniel, though he's not without his secrets, is almost overly charming and patient and, well, better than a lot of guys I've met in my 28 years on this earth (and he's only supposed to be 19). Birdie and Daniel had a really interesting relationship which has a rewarding slow burn. It's hard not to root for these two, especially after learning what each has been through in their short lives and the baggage they both carry around with them. There are a few side plots going on in addition to their romance, one that's a mystery that's a lot more interesting than it seems on the surface. I'll admit that I didn't see the point of the mystery until about 3/4 of the way through (as it's a bit bland and Birdie and Daniel aren't the best detectives), but appreciated it once its climax arrived. But overall, I love the love this book has for its characters, both main and secondary. Even characters that are supposed to be considered annoying are drawn with such care and love. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and can't wait to find a Daniel of my own (if just for the wonderful date ideas).
    JillJemmett 5 months ago
    This was a great story! I loved the mystery parts of the story. Birdie is a fan of mystery books. She has a huge collection of Nancy Drew books. I loved those same books when I was a kid so I could relate to her love of mysteries. Birdie got to live a real life mystery when she investigated a person who Daniel thought was an anonymous author who lives in Seattle. I liked the idea that they could try to find the man who writes under a pseudonym. However, it didn’t end the way they thought it would. The story had some romance as well as suspense. I was rooting for Birdie and Daniel. They both had tragic pasts, so I wanted them to find some happiness together. There was also some representation of someone who had narcolepsy. There are a lot of side effects to the disorder that I didn’t know before. I really enjoyed this story! It’s a great romance with a bit of mystery. Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
    Anonymous 7 months ago
    this+is+so+impossibly+adorable%2C+i+loved+it%21
    bookchelle 8 months ago
    Jenn Bennett saved me from an impending reading slump. I was knee deep into fantasy, and I felt the effects of that slowly taking its toll. Of all the books I had on my TBR, I noticed Serious Moonlight. I noticed Jenn’s name and knew this was the one that I needed to read. And boy, was it a read. This story was so unique in the best way possible. Birdie’s story is captivating. From the first page, I was enthralled with her story. And Jenn taught me that it isn’t who I am as a person, but what I do with what’s given to me. It’s who Birdie is as a character, and I appreciated that so much. I can’t write this review without talking about Daniel. I can’t believe the series of events that are attached to his life. He is so fascinating to get to know, and I had the best time learning about him. Jenn taught me that it’s a real lesson to have to like what’s on the inside. To not identify with the envelope and go for a true individuality. I loved Serious Moonlight so much. It was the book that I needed at the right time. Everyone has a story so individual and we are all someone that can gain and learn something from every experience. It isn’t a secret that I think Jenn is a favorite author. And with Serious Moonlight, it just proves it even more. *Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.*
    Cassandre Wilson 8 months ago
    Jenn Bennett created herself some really strong characters in Serious Moonlight, and it is because of these characters that the story is so successful. Birdie is a little frustrating at the beginning: She doesn’t come to terms with her medical issues, she seems to overreact when it comes both her emotions and Daniels and she’s very naive for a young woman of 18. But as the book progresses, she comes out of her shell and really comes into her own—and not only because of Daniel, which I appreciated. Because we don’t have Daniel’s POV in the first person, it’s a little hard to show his journey, but I really like that he pursues Birdie hard, but without being aggressive or cocky. He acts like a typical teenager, and I felt like they were learning a lot about love together. These characters also both suffer from medical issues that really affect them, but those pieces aren’t the sole focus of the book. They are mentioned many times, sure, because it is a big part of their lives, but it didn’t bog down or hinder the plot in any way. And for a YA novel with a cute premise, this book tackles a lot of really tough topics including teen pregnancy, suicide, depression, narcolepsy, and death. Now, about the mystery. It was really boring. I wasn’t invested in all in what Raymond Darke was doing, and even when the big reveal came at the end, I was neither surprised (even though I surprisingly didn’t figure it out until Birdie did) nor did I care. And after that big reveal, I feel like the story didn’t really go anywhere with it. There could have definitely been a more exciting mystery for this pair to solve. That being said, the mystery-inspired dates that Daniel planned for Birdie were swoon-worthy. They were just on theme enough to prove that these two were really amateur sleuths, but they weren’t overly complicated or unbelievable. You can tell Daniel put a lot of thought into them and you understand why Birdie fell for him so quickly. These dates—and the amazing character development—is why I gave this novel the rating that I did. 3.5 STARS Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the advanced copy.
    Take_Me_AwayPH 8 months ago
    Jenn Bennett is one of my favorite contemp authors. It should be no surprise that I added this book to my TBR without even reading the synopsis or what anyone had said about it. I knew that I would love it. Although it wasn't my favorite, I still really enjoyed it. Birdie and Daniel had a chance meeting and then Birdie dashed away because of it. She was happy with the fact that she would never have to see him again.... Until she did. And worse yet, they work together. They build a bond together to find out more about a mysterious author who is trying to hide under a pen name and uncover way more than they bargained for. As a character driven reader, I loved this! Daniel was such an interesting character and I loved Birdie. She seemed so much like me with her love for mysteries and detectives. (I am obsessed with Joe Kenda lol) I also loved learning more about Birdie and Daniel. They turned out to be some very deep characters that I couldn't have predicted if I tried. The reason I didn't like this one as much as her others was the almost non-existent plot. The plot I thought was supposed to be about Daniel and Birdie solving the mystery. Which it was, but it seemed way too drawn out. It got a bit repetitive after a while to me. The character arcs is what kept the story going. The ending was what got me tho. I didn't put two and two together until the other person did. It was a great ending that I wish hadn't waited until the end to be in the book if that makes sense. There was also so much more that I liked about this one. I LOVED the sex positivity and how Bennett wasn't afraid to show them being safe about it. (That's my personal opinion about sex in YA.) I liked that Daniel talked about his medicine in a positive way. And I also loved the way that there was a trade school and a different route of life after high school taken in this one. Not everyone has the same route and it's important to remember that. This book wasn't what I was expecting, but it was still an enjoyable read. Jenn Bennett has shown again that she writes the best boys and the best relationships. I know others will like this one more than me, but there were just some things that I couldn't' look past.
    Genni 8 months ago
    Serious Moonlight is Jenn Bennett's fourth YA novel. After reading and loving her previous three - The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, Alex, Approximately, and Starry Eyes - I was highly anticipating Serious Moonlight. Serious Moonlight is a fun, sex positive, and strong addition into Bennett's repertoire, and one that I recommend to all contemporary readers!. One of the strongest aspects Serious Moonlight has going for it is the amazing and wide-spread diversity. Serious Moonlight is diverse in many ways. Birdie is an insomniac and doesn't have the cookie-cutter family: her mother died when she was young and her grandmother just passed away 6 months ago, leaving her with only her grandfather and mother figure/friend/Aunt, Mona. Though Birdie's life is far from what is "normal," her character rings true and universal. Outside of that rep, Daniel is an Asian lead who is also deaf in one ear. I loved seeing all this representation, and it rang true for me. Of course, I recommend seeking out own voices reviewers to make sure this is the case, but I didn't come across or became aware of any problems. As is the trend with Jenn Bennett's YA novels (I haven't read her other novels, so I can't speak for them!), Serious Moonlight talks unabashedly about sex. Teenagers have sex, and Bennett isn't afraid to get into it. The sex isn't perfect, much like in real life. There's fumbling, condom searching, but most importantly, explicit consent and conversation. Some readers might not be comfortable reading about teenagers having sex, but I believe it's more constructive to have open conversations about sex and show healthy and consensual sex rather than act like all teenagers are celibate. Outside of Birdie and Alex's sexual relationship, they also have a great amount of banter and friendship, which left me chuckling out loud and positively swooning for my own Daniel Aoki. Unlike some of YA contemporary novels, there is a focus on family throughout the novel. Daniel has a strong relationship with his well-meaning, loving, and ultimately over-bearing parents. This leads to some conflict with Birdie and Daniel's relationship and also provides opportunities for character growth and vulnerability. Birdie's relationship with her grandfather and Mona are also touching. Birdie is afraid to lose anyone else, and her anxiety was both heartbreaking and yet very, very relatable, as I have the same fears. Serious Moonlight is a cute and atmospheric love story set in Seattle. Like always, Bennett does a great job of having both her characters and the setting come to life. After reading this book, I want to go eat some pie in Seattle and have a scavenger hunt. The romance was really cute, and handles more mature themes of disability, suicidal thoughts, and health overall with poise.
    marongm8 8 months ago
    This was a story that you can't help but to fall in love with. I love the fact that the main heroine is named Birdie and that she is a mystery writer fan. She has the perfect job in the hotel where she sees so many people so many in fact that one day she spots a famous author having a pretty mysterious second life that she did not see coming. She engulfs all of this casework with a guy that she can't seem to figure out herself in one mystery with another. So engaging and heartwarming that you will not want to stop reading. We will definitely consider adding this title to our YFiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
    bayy245 8 months ago
    Trigger warning: Mention of a suicide attempt Jenn Bennett never ceases to amaze me. Her books are like the best chocolate chip cookies ever because they’re comforting and yet always sweet and lovely. Birdie and Daniel were such an adorable couple and I loved watching them grow as people and as a couple. As always, Jenn gives you a swoon-worthy and real romance yet tackles hard issues along the way. Birdie's journey to letting people in was a really relatable and I think it would comfort a lot of people. Whether it is friends leaving you or suffering death, everyone can relate to the fear of being left behind. You think that friends are forever in middle and high school and suddenly everything is changing, and no one is who you think they are anymore. A lot of people lose some, if not all, of their childhood friends around that age. You grew up with them and thought you would have them forever, especially after all you’ve been through and faced together. The fear that this sort of loss instills in people is so much like hers. The depression representation in this book was so akin to my own experience. I loved Birdie’s realization that Daniel was a whole person and had struggles and feelings of his own that weren’t just his sunny disposition. A lot of people can’t accept that people that have depression can come off as a very happy person. I also loved the handling of the suicide attempt. I didn't find it triggering but instead found it very important. Suicide attempts or thoughts of suicide are a lot more common than society lets on and I think it's important to let teens and people, in general, know that they're not alone. This representation is also important for those dealing with a relationship with someone who has attempted suicide. I seriously applaud Jenn for using the correct terms when talking about suicide. The media, especially AP Style which is used in journalism, has been changing the wording around suicide so that it is less stigmatized. I loved her correct use and the attention she took when talking about the suicide attempt in the book. This conversation is really important and getting it right is even more important. These are just a few of the reasons I loved this book and trust me I could write a novel-length post about how much I truly loved this book. Daniel is mixed race and an amateur magician, both important things to his character but also amazing representation. Pick this one up or you’ll seriously regret it.
    PNWBookworm 8 months ago
    A little bit of mystery, a healthy dose of romance and a lot of heart. This book was a really fun read with some great quirky characters who you can’t help but root for. There was a lot that I really loved about this book. It had a great positive, and realistic, message about sex, I loved that one of the main characters was Japanese American and his culture was shared a bit in the book, and I loved the relationship, and personal, development throughout the book. I also can’t help but adore the setting since I am from the same area. I thought the setting and atmosphere was really well done and perfect for Seattle. There was some talk about mental health issues and though I thought it was handled well I did think the book could have gone a little deeper into that aspect of the storyline. Overall though I really enjoyed it and I am already looking forward to Jenn Bennett’s next book!
    book_junkee 8 months ago
    I'm 1000000% here for anything Jenn writes and I don't really read the synopsis any longer. I loved Birdie and Daniel. They're both such good people who are maybe struggling a bit more than they want to let on. I enjoyed their connection and their (mostly) open conversation. The family aspect was interesting: I especially enjoyed the mama bear scene with Cherry and Mona was a delight. Plot wise, it was a whole lot of cute (hello, live action Clue game). The mystery part was interesting, but really I was invested it in because I wanted Birdie and Daniel together all the time. There were a few things I didn't see coming and I loved that I was able to be surprised. Have I been clear that I absolutely loved it? Overall, it was another fun read from Jenn that was mostly filled with fluff. Whatever she writes next, I'm here for it. FYI: talk of suicide and depression **Huge thanks to Simon Pulse for providing the arc free of charge**