Title: Serious Moonlight
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publication: April 16, 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Teens, YA Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
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 she 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.
Jenn Bennett is one of my top ten favorite writers of all time. Her book Alex, Approximately hooked me and I have since read everything I can find, with Serious Moonlight being my last. I can’t wait until she has more. This story follows Birdie as she deals with medical problems, home life issues, and a one-night stand turned awkward re-encounter.
Birdie is an interesting character and I found her story to be one that kept me on my toes the entire time. Her mind seems to run a million miles an hour and Bennett did a great job of putting that on paper. At times I found myself confused right along with Birdie as I tried to follow her train of thought. This isn’t a bad thing, because I felt I really understood the character. Bennett also wrote some incredibly deep and intriguing side characters. I loved Mona and even her grandfather who we don’t get to see much of. I loved Daniel and his super quirkiness. I would have definitely been drawn to him. Her development of these characters was really the shining aspect of this story. I love really well thought out characters.
I think my biggest issue with this book was Birdie’s character as well, but because she was a bit too whiney and high-strung for me. It was a little bit of a turnoff every time she would just melt down inside her head. I have a bit of a thing for communication and when people do not communicate it becomes a huge issue for me, and even when reading characters I grow to find them seriously unlikeable. While I really like Birdie, this one aspect of her personality made me grate my teeth at times and I wished I just genuinely liked her as a whole. It wasn’t enough to make me stop reading or hate the book, but there were definitely parts I did not like. I also felt like the storyline was interesting, but there were a lot of lulls where all we were focusing on was Birdie or Daniel and their multitude of issues, and the main plot was not moving. In my head, the main plot was the relationship, as well as the investigation. However, the investigation seemed like a side thought at many times and not that important, but turned out to be incredibly important. Emphasis should have been put more on that part of the story if it was going to be such a huge part of the ending.
With that said, Jenn Bennett has a smooth and quick wit to her writing. I love that all of her characters are quirky in some sense and not your average teenager. While Serious Moonlight is not my favorite Bennett story, it’s definitely one worth reading and sharing, so check it out and let me know what you think. Now… when is her next book? I’m waiting…