Starry Eyes

Starry Eyes

by Jenn Bennett


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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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781481478816
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 01/08/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 59,947
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile: HL700L (what's this?)

About the Author

Jenn Bennett is an artist and RITA-nominated author of the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series; the Roaring Twenties romance series, including Bitter Spirits, which was chosen as one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2014 and winner of RT Reviewers’ Choice Paranormal Romance Book of the Year; and Grave Phantoms, which was awarded RT’s May Seal of Excellence for 2015. She is also the author of The Anatomical Shape of a Heart (a.k.a. Night Owls in the UK); Alex, Approximately; Starry Eyes; and Serious Moonlight. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two evil pugs.

Read an Excerpt

Starry Eyes

  • Spontaneity is overrated. Movies and television shows would like us to believe that life is better for partygoers who dare to jump into pools with their clothes on. But behind the scenes, it’s all carefully scripted. The water is the right temperature. Lighting and angles are carefully considered. Dialogue is memorized. And that’s why it looks so appealing—because someone carefully planned it all. Once you realize this, life gets a whole lot simpler. Mine did.

    I am a hard-core planner, and I don’t care who knows it.

    I believe in schedules, routines, washi-tape-covered calendars, bulleted lists in graph-paper journals, and best-laid plans. The kind of plans that don’t go awry, because they’re made with careful consideration of all possibilities and outcomes. No winging it, no playing things by ear. That’s how disasters happen.

    But not for me. I make blueprints for my life and stick to them. Take, for instance, summer break. School starts back in three weeks, and before I turn eighteen and embark on my senior year, this is my blueprint for the rest of the summer:

    Plan one: Two mornings each week, work at my parents’ business, Everhart Wellness Clinic. I fill in at the front desk for their normal receptionist, who’s taking a summer course at UC Cal in Berkeley. My mom’s an acupuncturist and my father is a massage therapist, and they own the clinic together. This means that instead of flipping burgers and being yelled at by random strangers outside a drive-through window, I get to work in a Zen-like reception area, where I can keep everything perfectly organized and know exactly which clients are scheduled to walk through the door. No surprises, no drama. Predictable, just the way I like it.

    Plan two: Take photos of the upcoming Perseid meteor shower with my astronomy club. Astronomy is my holy grail. Stars, planets, moons, and all things space. Future NASA astrophysicist, right here.

    Plan three: Avoid any and all contact with our neighbors, the Mackenzie family.

    These three things all seemed perfectly possible until five minutes ago. Now my summer plans are standing on shaky ground, because my mom is trying to talk me into going camping.

    Camping. Me.

    Look, I know nothing about the Great Outdoors. I’m not even sure I like being outside. Seems to me, society has progressed far enough that we should be able to avoid things like fresh air and sunlight. If I want to see wild animals, I’ll watch a documentary on TV.

    Mom knows this. But right now she’s trying really hard to sell me on some sort of Henry David Thoreau nature-is-good idealism while I’m sitting behind our wellness clinic’s front desk. And sure, she’s always preaching about the benefits of natural health and vegetarianism, but now she’s waxing poetic about the majestic beauty of the great state of California, and what a “singular opportunity” it would be for me to experience the wilderness before school starts.

    “Be honest. Can you really picture me camping?” I ask her, tucking dark corkscrew curls behind my ears.

    “Not camping, Zorie,” she says. “Mrs. Reid is inviting you to go glamping.” Dressed in gray tunic scrubs embroidered with the clinic’s logo, she leans across the front desk and talks in an excited, hushed voice about the wealthy client who’s currently relaxing on an acupuncture table in the back rooms, enjoying the dated yet healing sounds of Enya, patron saint of alternative health clinics around the world.

    “Glamping,” I repeat, skeptical.

    “Mrs. Reid says they have reservations for these luxury tents in the High Sierras, somewhere between Yosemite and King’s Forest National Park,” Mom explains. “Glamorous camping. Get it? Glamping.”

    “You keep saying that, but I still don’t know what it means,” I tell her. “How can a tent be luxurious? Aren’t you sleeping on rocks?”

    Mom leans closer to explain. “Mrs. Reid and her husband got a last-minute invitation to a colleague’s chalet in Switzerland, so they have to cancel their camping trip. They have a reservation for a fancy tent. This glamping compound—”

    “This isn’t some weird hippie cult, is it?”

    Mom groans dramatically. “Listen. They have a chef who prepares gourmet meals, an outdoor fire pit, hot showers—the works.”

    “Hot showers,” I say with no small amount of sarcasm. “Thrill me, baby.”

    She ignores this. “The point is, you aren’t actually roughing it, but you feel like it. The compound is so popular that they do a lottery for the tents a year in advance. Everything’s already paid for, meals and lodging. Mrs. Reid said it would be shame to let it go to waste, which is why they are letting Reagan take some of her friends there for the week—a last-hurrah trip with the girls before senior year starts.”

    Mrs. Reid is the mother of Reagan Reid, star athlete, queen bee of my class, and my kind of, sort of friend. Actually, Reagan and I used to be good friends when we were younger. Then her parents came into money, and she started hanging out with other people. Plus, she was training constantly for the Olympics. Before I knew it, we just . . . grew apart.

    Until last fall, when we started talking again during lunchtime at school.

    “Would be good for you to spend some time outside,” Mom says, fiddling with her dark hair as she continues to persuade me to go on this crazy camping trip.

    “The Perseid meteor shower is happening next week,” I remind her.

    She knows I am a strict planner. Unexpected twists and surprises throw me off my game, and everything about this camping—sorry, glamping—trip is making me very, very anxious.

    Mom makes a thoughtful noise. “You could bring your telescope to the glamping compound. Stars at night, hiking trails in the day.”

    Hiking sounds like something Reagan could be into. She has rock-hard thighs and washboard abs. I practically get winded walking two blocks to the coffee shop, a fact of which I’d like to remind Mom, but she switches gears and plays the guilt card.

    “Mrs. Reid says Reagan’s been having a really tough time this summer,” she says. “She’s worried about her. I think she’s hoping this trip will help cheer her up after what happened at the trials in June.”

    Reagan fell (I’m talking splat, face-plant) and didn’t place in the Olympic track trials. It was her big shot for moving forward. She basically has no chance at the next summer Olympics and will have to wait four more years. Her family was heartbroken. Even so, it surprises me to hear that her mother is worried about her.

    Another thought crosses my mind. “Did Mrs. Reid ask me to go on this trip, or did you hustle her into inviting me?”

    A sheepish smile lifts my mom’s lips. “A little from column A, little from column B.”

    I quietly drop my head against the front desk.

    “Come on,” she says, shaking my shoulder slowly until I lift my head again. “She was surprised Reagan hadn’t asked you already, so clearly they’ve discussed you coming along. And maybe you and Reagan both need this. She’s struggling to get her mojo back. And you’re always saying you feel like an outsider in her pack of friends, so here’s your chance to spend some time with them out of school. You should be falling down at my feet,” Mom teases. “How about a little, Thank you, coolest mom ever, for schmoozing me into the event of the summer. You’re my hero, Joy Everhart?” She clasps her hands to her heart dramatically.

    “You’re so weird,” I mumble, pretending to be apathetic.

    She grins. “Aren’t you lucky I am?”

    Actually, yes. I know that she genuinely wants me to be happy and would do just about anything for me. Joy is actually my stepmom. My birth mother died unexpectedly of an aneurysm when I was eight, back when we lived across the Bay in San Francisco. Then my dad suddenly decided he wanted to be a massage therapist and spent all the life insurance money on getting licensed. He’s impulsive like that. Anyway, he met Joy at an alternative medicine convention. They got hitched a few months later, and we all moved here to Melita Hills, where they rented out space for this clinic and an apartment next door.

    Sure, at the ripe age of thirty-eight, Joy is several years younger than my father, and because she’s Korean-American, I’ve had to deal with genius observations from bigoted people, pointing out the obvious: that she’s not my real mom. As if I weren’t aware that she’s Asian and I’m so Western and pale, I’m rocking an actual vitamin D deficiency. To be honest, in my mind, Joy is my mom now. My memories of Life Before Joy are slippery. Over the years, I’ve grown far closer to her than I am to my dad. She’s supportive and encouraging. I just wish she were a touch less granola and chipper.

    But this time, as much as I hate to admit it, her enthusiasm about the glamping trip might be warranted. Spending quality time outside of school with Reagan’s inner circle would definitely strengthen my social standing, which always feels as if it’s in danger of collapsing when I’m hanging around people who have more money or popularity. I’d like to feel more comfortable around them. Around Reagan, too. I just wish she’d asked me to go camping herself, instead of her mother.

    The clinic’s front door swings open and my father breezes into the waiting room, freshly shaved and dark hair neatly slicked back. “Zorie, did Mr. Wiley call?”

    “He canceled today’s massage appointment,” I inform him. “But he rescheduled for a half session on Thursday.”

    A half session is half an hour, and half an hour equals half the money, but my father quickly masks his disappointment. You could tell him his best friend just died, and he’d pivot toward a meet-up at the racquetball club without breaking a sweat. Diamond Dan, people call him. All sparkle and glitz.

    “Did Mr. Wiley say why he couldn’t make it?” he asks.

    “An emergency at one of his restaurants,” I report. “A TV chef is stopping by to film a segment.”

    Mr. Wiley is one my dad’s best clients. Like most of the people who come here, he has money burning a hole in his wallet and can afford above-average prices for massage or acupuncture. Our wellness clinic is the best in Melita Hills, and my mom has even been written up in the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the Bay Area’s top acupuncturists—“well worth a trip across the Bay Bridge.” My parents charge clients accordingly.

    It’s just that the number of those clients has been slowly but surely dwindling over the last year. The primary cause of that dwindling, and the object of my dad’s anger, is the business that set up shop in the adjoining space. To our shared mortification, we are now located next to a store that sells adult toys.

    Yep, those kind of toys.

    Kind of hard to ignore the giant vaginal-shaped sign out front. Our well-heeled customers sure haven’t. Classy people usually don’t want to park in front of a sex shop when they are heading to a massage therapy appointment. My parents found this out pretty quickly when longtime clients started canceling their weekly sessions. Those who haven’t fled our desirable location near all the upscale boutique shops on Mission Street are too important to lose, as Dad reminds me every chance he gets.

    And that’s why I know he’s upset by Mr. Wiley’s cancellation—it was his only appointment today—but when he leaves the reception area and heads to his office so that he can stew about it in private, Mom remains calm.

    “So,” she says. “Should I tell Mrs. Reid you’ll go glamping with Reagan?”

    Like I’m going to give her a definitive answer on the spot without considering all the factors. At the same time, I hate to be the wet blanket on her sunny enthusiasm.

    “Don’t be cautious. Be careful,” she reminds me. Cautious people are afraid of the unknown and avoid it. Careful people plan so that they’re more confident when they face the unknown. She tells me this every time I’m resistant to a change in plans. “We’ll research everything together.”

    “I’ll consider it,” I tell her diplomatically. “I guess you can tell Mrs. Reid that I’ll text Reagan for the details and make up my mind later. But you did well, Dr. Pokenstein.”

    Her smile is victorious. “Speaking of, I better get back to her and take out the needles before she falls asleep on the slab. Oh, I almost forgot. Did FedEx come?”

    “Nope. Just the regular mail.”

    She frowns. “I got an email notification that a package was delivered.”

    Crap on toast. I know what this means. We have a problem with misdelivered mail. Our mail carrier is constantly delivering our packages to the sex shop next door. And the sex shop next door is directly connected with item number three in my blueprint for a perfect summer: avoid any and all contact with the Mackenzies.

    My mom sticks out her lower lip and makes her eyes big. “Pretty please,” she pleads sweetly. “Can you run next door and ask them if they got my delivery?”

    I groan.

    “I would do it, but, you know. I’ve got Mrs. Reid full of needles,” she argues, tugging her thumb toward the back rooms. “I’m balancing her life force, not torturing the woman. Can’t leave her back there forever.”

    “Can’t you go get it on your lunch break?” I’ve already made the trek into dildo land once this week, and that’s my limit.

    “I leave in an hour to meet your grandmother for lunch, remember?”

    Right. Her mother, she means. Grandma Esther loathes tardiness, a sentiment I fully support. But that still doesn’t change the fact that I’d rather have a tooth pulled than walk next door. “What’s so important in this package anyway?”

    “That’s the thing,” Mom says, winding her long, straight hair into a tight knot at the crown of her head. “The notification was sent by someone else. ‘Catherine Beatty.’ I don’t know anyone by that name, and I haven’t ordered anything. But the notification came to my work email, and our address is listed.”

    “A mystery package.”

    Her eyes twinkle. “Surprises are fun.”

    “Unless someone sent you a package full of spiders or a severed hand. Maybe you jabbed someone a little too hard.”

    “Or maybe I jabbed someone just right, and they are sending me chocolate.” She steals a pen from the desk and stabs it into her hair to secure her new knot. “Please, Zorie. While your father is occupied.”

    She says this last bit in a hushed voice. My dad would throw a fit if he saw me next door.

    “Fine. I’ll go,” I say, but I’m not happy.

    Summer plans, how I knew and loved you.

    Sticking a handmade AWAY FROM THE DESK. BE BACK IN A JIFF! sign on the counter, I drag myself through the front door into bright morning sunshine and brace for doom.

  • Customer Reviews

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    Starry Eyes 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    As always, Jenn creates some deep characters that I enjoyed watching fall in love!
    Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
    When I found out about this book I could hardly contain my excitement. My original review consists of a string of letters that don't make any words saying how excited I was about this. And just like her other novels, I had good reason to be! Zorie's mom convinces her to go on a "glamping" trip with the people she calls friends. But along the way, things don't go as Zorie planned and she ends up stuck in the woods with one of the people she mosts hates: Lennon. They must hash out their differences so they can move on and move through the woods. And that's exactly what they do. This forces them to realize they had many more secrets than they thought. Jenn Bennett has a way of making her characters feel so fleshed out and real. All of them carried so much emotion and they all had a back story, and it made them feel so real. From the three books I've read by her, the characters all become my favorite part of the book.This one was no different. I was also glad for the beautiful setting this Bennett created as well. I wondered for awhile whether or not she had done this trip or hiked in any of these places. Whatever she used to develop the setting for this one was amazing! Then there was the love story. OMG I LOVED it. I LOVED Lennon and even though Jack is still my favorite, Lennon and Alex are not far behind. But I think the best part of this romance was the fact that not only were they fascinating characters on their own, but they BOTH multiplied each other together. They both brought something to their relationship and that's hard to come by in YA nowadays. If it wasn't obvious before, I will read whatever and whenever Bennett writes something. Her storytelling, her characters, and her romance will most definitely make you swoon and will pull you under and won't let you go until you've turned the last page.
    Ashton Smith More than 1 year ago
    This book is the perfect summer read. Romance? Check. Camping? Check. Comedy? Check! I love reading books about travel and road trips in the summer, but I had never read a book about backpacking until I was sent this book in my Uppercase Box. (Shameless shout out to them. Their boxes and book picks are always top notch.) I’ve not had a ton of experience camping, so I really enjoyed being able to read about it in this story. (Unless you count camping in a camper, but my mom, grandma, and I weren’t exactly “roughing it.”) First of all, I love a romance with funny banter. If I had a dollar for every time this book made me laugh out loud, I would be SO RICH. While the big heartfelt moments are what is most important to the plot development, I loved the transition scenes that had quick wit, cute interactions, and descriptions of Zorie and Lennon’s surroundings and experiences. I believe that the big scenes aren’t what make a book great, it’s the little moments that end up shining. I love books that feature unique main characters, and this book is no exception. Zorie is a girl living outside of California who is aware of her introverted personality and loves astronomy. She is funny, smart, and isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. While I haven’t ever gotten the chance to learn as much about astronomy as I would like to, I did get a little bit of knowledge by reading about a girl who is well-versed in the subject. In a roundabout way, I could connect to Zorie and her interest in astronomy through my desire to learn about it rather than actually knowing about the topic. Another thing I loved about this book was Zorie’s self-awareness. Every once in a while, she would do something or react in a way that conflicted her own interests. She wanted her relationship with Lennon to be like it was before the homecoming dance (I don’t want to give any more away. Spoilers.), but she didn’t want to get hurt again. Throughout the book, she was continually trying to find a solution for this predicament and was aware of both of these feelings. This awareness of herself was what made this book more realistic and believable. Without it, I think this story would have felt a little ridiculous. This book is excellent for any time of the summer, whether you read it in the car or on the beach, it is sure to satisfy all those travel and adventure desires.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    thereadingchick More than 1 year ago
    Starry eyes weaves the story of Zorie and Lennon. Two ex best friends who decided to take their relationship to the next level. Sounds pretty simple, right? It should be but family drama, miscommunication, and teenage emotions cause Zorie and Lennon’s relationship to shift from young love to not speaking. When the two of them get stranded camping they find their way out of the wilderness and back into each others hearts. I read very few teen romances but this story was very well done and I was intrigued by all of the different aspects of these characters. Zorie and Lennon were as unique as their names and Jenn Bennett’s Starry Eyes an intelligently written vehicle for their story. This was my first Jenn Bennett novel and was rather surprised by the adult subject matter. Lennon has been raised by two moms who own an adult sex shop. As wild and crazy as that may sound the scenes in the shop were subtle yet filled with humor. Most of the early emotional drama came from Zorie’s father who hates Lennon and his parents. As the novel goes on we are clued into the why’s and wherefore’s but in the beginning this hatred seems filled with bigotry. Zorie’s emotional growth is displayed by the way she deals with her father and his irrational anger and marital problems with her step mother. Also, I feel I should give a warning, the teens in this book are all sexually active which I guess is not uncommon today but I found myself trying to double check their ages a couple of times. At times I forgot I was reading a YA novel, so if you have kids, be aware of the adult content. Lennon was a perfect blend of nerdy cool. He had two moms, worked in a snake shop and had a b-level rock star for a father. What’s not to like? Even though the novel was written from Zorie’s perspective you could feel Lennon’s emotions and really identify with his character. I can totally see YA readers being easily captivated by him. I really enjoyed this novel in large part because of all of the surprises revealed through the story, but also because of the unique setting. Most of the novel takes place while Zorie and Lennon are hiking through the wilderness. Seeing nature and the night’s sky through their Starry Eyes almost made me want to pack a bag and a book and go on a hike. Almost.
    TheThoughtSpot More than 1 year ago
    Starry Eyes is a charming, fun, mature realistic fiction for young adults. Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett! Zorie and Lennon are neighbors at home and work. They also used to be best friends until family problems and drama got in the way. A teen group camping trip, which is supposed to be fun and not exactly “roughing it “, turns out dangerous with Lennon and Zorie stranded. Luckily, they’re both smart enough to help each other and work together to try to make it back to civilization. The two teenagers finally get the opportunity they need to talk and work out their relationship. Humor lightens the drama and Lennon and Zorie have interesting personalities that make Starry Eyes a charming, fun, mature realistic fiction for young adults. 5 stars! * I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.
    Bayy2455 More than 1 year ago
    As always, Jenn Bennett has done it again. She is indeed the queen of YA contemporary. I absolutely loved this one and the issues it tackles. Young Adult doesn't deal enough with actual family issues and I think that's what teens need to see. It's reassuring for older reads like me as well. It's nice to know that you're not alone and that someone, even if they are fictional, has faced the same things as you. I absolutely loved Zoira. She was an absolute delight and I loved that her anxiety issues were talked about on page. In the end, there is no end all be all cure for her anxiety but she makes some life changes and keeps other parts of her life around. The whole plot of this novel was very realistic to me. I can definitely see the wine stealing fiasco, the horrible not really friend betrayal, and them being left in the woods. People can be really petty and I can name plenty of people I know of that would do something like this. The backpacking trip was filled with drama but realistic and serious drama, not so much anymore of the he said, she said, gossipy kind of drama. I was hooked from the start with this one and I can't wait for the next Jenn Bennett masterpiece. All of her books deal with hard hitting issues with the backdrop of a swoon worthy, realistic romance. I like the sexual content as well. It's not uncommon for teenagers to have sex and instead of completely skirting around the issue, we get frank thoughts and feelings about it. Her characters also always have safe sex and only safe sex which I definitely admire. Abstinence only is proven not to work so why should we skate around it in the media marketed towards teens as well? She uses her books to set a good example for real teens and I admire it so much.
    BookPrincessReviews More than 1 year ago
    Okay, this is one of the easiest favorites that I've ever had. It was adorable, feely, and just so much fun. It actually got tears welling up in my eyes (which my cred as a soulless heartless book princess just died in a corner), and I just had so much fun. It was so heartwarming, and now I don't know what to do with myself because I'm off being a total pile of goo. Where do I even begin with this? I knew I wanted to read this the moment I heard about. Even though I will never go camping a day in my life (bugs, bugs, and more bugs = nooooooooooooooooooooo for Mandy), I have this weird obsession with outdoorsy camping books. Did I expect that it was going to end up on the favorites shelf so easy and quickly? No, but I'm in such love. The charactersssssssssssssssssss. I absolutely loved Zorie and Lennon. They had such unique voices and dynamic voices. They were SO easy to root for, and I FELT for them. Omigosh, I felt their pain, joy, and I AM JUST A MESS FOR THEM OKAY. They are so realistic, and they were aognreianerantilewatn. I HAVE NO WORDS OKAY. STILL A PILE OF GOO. I also LOVED Joy. Joy is Zorie's stepmom, and they had one of the best parental relationships that I've ever seen in YA. There was no dreaded evil stepmom, which was SO refreshing, and the deep way they cared for each other GOT me. MY EMOTIONS ARE IN A BLENDER AND THINKING ABOUT THEM IS JUST LIKE HITTING TRIPLE SPEED. AM I GOING TO END EACH PARAGRAPH WITH ALL CAPS PROCLAMATIONS? PROBABLY BECAUSE FEELS. And the romanceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. *screaming* I'm a princess of swoon and hearts and feels, but to be honest, YA hasn't bringing the feels for me lately. I haven't had many ships that were sailing for me, and I wasn't sure what was up. Was my King Triton nonsense turning into evil villain status where I couldn't feel the love tonight? NO. BECAUSE MY HEART WAS SAVING UP ALLLLLLLLLLL THE ROOM FOR THESE TWO. It was hate-to-love, which can go sometimes sideways for me, but it was just the right amount for this one. They progressed so naturally and organically, and I rooted for them the moment they wandered on the page. They were just adorable and feely and I'm just done in for them. The plot was super interesting as well. At times, I felt like it could have gotten boring, but things just kept being interesting (lol, imagine that, Mandy, books staying interesting the entire time? Isn't that a book's job????). Anyway, I loved the adventure and all the little plot twists along the way. I mean, it is focused a lot on characterization, but it still had a lot of action going on. The writing was fantastic as well. I'm totally going to be reading everything Jenn Bennett writes in the future, since I was so her easy, breezy writing. I liked her descriptions and style and flow. Overall, this was such a delightful read. I found myself dying internally over how fantastic it was - from the characters, romance, plot, and writing. I just couldn't stop binge reading it, and I just want to sum up all the feels in words but my brain will not work. Just read it. Please. If you're looking for something adorable and fluffy and fun and swoony. PLEASE THANK YOU. 5 crowns, and the princess train is finallllllllllllllly back (omg, the first of the year???????): Rapunzel for the swoons and Aurora for it being a contemporary classic for moi!
    ahyperboliclife More than 1 year ago
    “Don’t be cautious. Be careful.” I wanted to read this because I thing hiking and camping are fun and haven’t really seen that in a YA story before that wasn’t an epic fantasy journey. I have to say, Starry Eyes was a fun time. I laughed a lot and couldn’t put the book down! Things I Liked This book definitely wasn’t short on the tropey contemporary elements I love. We have feuding families (a la Romeo and Juliet), and we have the incredible mashup of friends-to-enemies-to lovers. It made the book incredibly easy to read and I just devoured it. I really liked Lennon and thought her was a great love interest. He’s snarky and blunt, but also caring and genuinely a good person who isn’t afraid to be vulnerable or emotional. I also enjoyed the romance in the story, which is pretty important because it’s a major plot. The flirting and banter hooked me and drew me into Lennon and Zorie’s relationship. Things I Didn’t Like I didn’t really like or connect with most of the characters besides Lennon, including MC Zorie. We just didn’t have that spark, but I did love her love of astronomy. Even though there is obviously excessive and exaggerated drama, I still found parts of the story to be unbelievable, and that pulled me out. Even though I wasn’t as invested as wanted to be but it was sufficiently cute and addicting, so I had an enjoyable time overall.
    book_junkee More than 1 year ago
    I’m a sucker for anything that hints at R+J or BFF to more, but to have both AND it comes with Jenn Bennett’s name attached to it? Yeah, I’m sold. Love love love Zorie and Lennon. She’s addicted to planning and organization and loves the stars. He’s snarky and maybe a bit sullen and loves hiking. Together there’s a lot of history and hurt and feeeeeeeeelings between them and I absolutely loved reading them figure it all out. There are some others characters, but it quickly becomes the two of them and that’s when the magic happens. Plot wise, it’s quite interesting because it’s a setting that I wouldn’t normally be interested {I’m much like Zorie in the beginning and believe the outdoors can be avoided}, but I was captivated at how the scenery was described. There is a fair share of drama, but it’s tempered with positive and present parents, sweet swoons, and kissing. Not to mention the fact that Zorie and Lennon talk talk talk and there are some very sex positive scenes. Overall, I loved these characters and this story and basically want to read Jenn’s words forever. **Huge thanks to Simon Pulse for providing the arc free of charge**
    RamblingReader1 More than 1 year ago
    Extraordinary things can happen when the best-laid plans go awry... Jenn Bennett’s Starry Eyes is everything that I love about Young Adult literature. It’s heartwarming, funny, and doesn’t hide from big issues. Starry Eyes is about Zorie Everheart, the dictionary definition of an “A-Type” personality. I’m pretty compulsive, and Zorie puts me to shame. Her life is planned, organized, and even color coded. Unfortunately for Zorie, the sad reality of life is that we have no control over the things we most want to control- like, for instance, the canyon of silence that’s grown between her ex-best friend (and ex-potential soulmate), Lennon, she’s accidentally discovered her dad’s an adulterous jerk, and her body’s trademark reaction to spontaneous stress? Violent hives. Needless to say, Zorie’s got a lot going on. So, even though she’s not one for camping, and certainly didn’t have it color-coded into her vacation plans, she’s now going glamping (glamour camping) with Reagan, a friend who Zorie’s not-so-closely friendly with anymore. Of course, by the rule of Murphy’s Law, guess who’s coming glamping too? After an explosive argument, Zorie winds up stranded off the beaten path with Lennon as her survival guide. Obviously, hijinks of the best kind ensue from there. Zorie and Lennon are wonderfully balanced; Bennett’s created two characters who are the perfect foils for each other, and the chemistry feels real. The two have inside jokes, and a real history that they start to learn can’t just be buried under some silence and snarky banter. I genuinely liked both characters. Even though I’m twenty-seven and would hope to have my life under control by now, I could empathize so much with Zorie. She’s every teen (and adult) who’s just doing the best they can to swim in a tide that’s seriously pushing against them. She’s stuck in a really tough place, and it’s easy to root for her and hope that her life gets straightened out. She’s funny and smart, and I love that Bennett created a teen protagonist who wants to be an astrophysicist (how awesome!). I want to see more of these teen characters with big, brainy dreams. Not to forget, her eye glasses game is totally on point (I’m jealous). Lennon is snarky and sweet, my personal favorite combination. Like Zorie, he’s a little off-beat, but Lennon seems to manage the social stratosphere more easily, getting the “rebel reputation” whether he wants it or not. He’s a teen with two moms and an ex-musician for a father; he wasn’t made to blend in, and he owns his differences. I think that’s one of the things I liked most about Lennon- he has a strong sense of self, and he’s not just a filler character to further plot development. I loved the artwork that went with the parts of the book as well as the maps, especially once I learned why the maps were significant (that made my heart happy). I’d never read one of Jenn Bennett’s YA novels before; I’d only ever read (and loved) the Arcadia Bell series, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m so glad that I took the time to read Starry Eyes. It even strikes me as the kind of book that would translate well to film, and I’d totally go watch that too! It flashed me back to being twelve years old, reading my first Sarah Dessen book and discovering that YA/Teen lit could be meaningful and beautiful in its humor and awkward romance. Thank you, Jenn Bennett :)