All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Blog Tour Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett & ***GIVEAWAY***

on June 1, 2018

Starry Eyes
Jenn Bennett
Simon & Schuster
2018, 419p
Copy courtesy Simon & Schuster AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best-friends-turned-worst-enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern-day 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.

Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to try to make their way to safety. But as the two travel deeper into the rugged Californian countryside, secrets and hidden feelings surface. Soon it’s not simply a matter of enduring each other’s company, but taming their growing feelings for each other.

So last year Jenn Bennett cemented herself firmly onto my ‘contemporary YA authors to watch’ list with Alex, Approximately which I absolutely loved. So when I heard that she had a new book out this year I signed up a very long way out to read it and I’m super glad to be kicking off the blog tour for Starry Eyes.

Zorie And Lennon were close ever since Zorie moved in across the street from Lennon. Childhood best friends, Lennon helped Zorie with the grief she was feeling losing someone and the two of them became inseparable. And then, about a year ago, their feelings changed slightly. Some of those feelings became a little more than friendly but it all blew up over Homecoming and they haven’t spoken since. Fate throws them together in a group camping trip and when their group of 6 becomes a group of 2, Zorie and Lennon have the first opportunity in a long time to hear each other out and find out what went wrong.

Oh my gosh, this book ticks so many of my boxes. I’m a huge, huge fan of a pairing being forced together, whether it be by accident or design, especially if it’s in an isolated location. Lennon and Zorie are part of a larger group going “glamping” during a school break. It’s the first real time they’ve been in each other’s company since things went wrong the previous year on Homecoming night and both of them are definitely finding it difficult. But apart from that, the threads of their old friendship (and maybe a little else) are still there. Even when they’re not trying, they’re connecting with each other but it’s not until they’re alone with days of hiking and camping stretching out in front of them, that they really get down to picking apart what what wrong and how it happened.

I love the setting for this novel. I’m not into camping at all but for some reason I really love reading books set in the wilderness. For this book, it creates a real aura of intimacy between Lennon and Zorie. Prior to the trip away, they have very limited interactions and they are full of awkward hostility but also a simmering…..something. And then once they are forced to really communicate and can’t just run away from each other, or brush things off or think that they hate each other (mostly Zorie trying to convince herself that she hates Lennon) you see the depth of the friendship they would’ve had, the strength of their feelings and wonder just how it all went so wrong.

I really enjoyed both the background and family of both Zorie and Lennon. It was really refreshing and positive to see Zorie’s incredibly deep bond with her stepmother and the desire she had to really protect her stepmother from being hurt and the love her stepmother had for her as well. She came into Zorie’s life when Zorie was an older child but the two had really managed to build something very special that was really lovely to read and experience. Neither Zorie nor Lennon have a birth dad/birth mother family but they have close and believable relationships with the adults in their lives. Often relationships between teens and parents in YA are absent (as are the actual parents) but in the two books I’ve read by Jenn Bennett there’s been some really sensitive crafting of family units and time taken to explore the changing relationships between parents and teens as the teens move toward adulthood and those adult type relationships and interactions.

I love angsty romance and there’s nothing more angsty than best friends turned enemies with all of the feelings. I really liked the way this story kept me guessing as to what had happened between them. We are in Zorie’s head from the beginning so her hurt and pain is really obvious but Lennon isn’t so much of an open book. There are only hints and suggestions that he’s not quite as unaffected by their separation as Zorie seems to think. She doesn’t seem to be able to view him objectively because she’s so hurt and her pride seems to prevent her from seeking him out to get an explanation, until she really has no choice but to talk to him. And I found that believable – no one is going to seek out the person that hurt and humiliated them and potentially set yourself up for more heartache. And when they are together, it’s not easy. There’s a lot for them to both unpick, the hurt feelings and resentment and some of the hardest stuff is still to come.

I am so happy that this book lived up to the high expectations I had after reading the previous one. It was such a good exploration of teens stretching their wings, seeking that freedom and I loved the camping and hiking setting. It was such a great backdrop to frame Zorie and Lennon relying on each other and letting go a lot of that resentment and negativity in order to get through being left alone and to where they wanted to go. They work really well as a team but there’s still plenty of angst and deep feelings to wade through. I have several in Jenn Bennett’s backlist to get through but I think I’m kind of saving them for the time I’m going to need them most.

9/10

Book #95 of 2019

You can check out the rest of the stops on the tour HERE

About Jenn Bennett:
Jenn Bennett is an award-winning author of several young adult books, including ALEX, APPROXIMATELY and STARRY EYES. She also writes romance and fantasy for adults. Her books have earned multiple starred reviews, won the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award, and been included on Publishers Weekly Best Books annual list. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two dogs. Visit her at www.jennbennett.net.

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***GIVEAWAY***

Thanks to the truly fabulous people at Simon & Schuster Australia, I have a signed copy of Starry Eyes to give away. To enter simply fill out the form below – open to Australian residents only.

 

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2 responses to “Blog Tour Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett & ***GIVEAWAY***

  1. divabooknerd says:

    Gosh Bree, wasn’t it just fabulous! I’m a massive fan of odd couples pushed together through circumstances and this definitely did not disappoint! There’s something about a Jenn Bennett book that guarantees such a warm and hilariously entertaining read. I love how complex her characters are and especially their backgrounds. The window displays in the Mackenzie’s store were brilliant! So glad you loved this one too Bree and thanks so much for your review, absolutely loved it! ♥♥♥

  2. […] Blog Tour Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett & ***GIVEAWAY*** Jun […]

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