There are no spoilers in this review.
For a contemporary lover just like I am, I couldn’t miss out on Jenn Bennett’s books. I have read The Anatomical Shape of a Heart a little while ago and, since then, have sworn I would read every book she ever writes, but… well, endless TBRs and all have brought me here, Serious Moonlight being my second book by the author. This experience only strenghtens my resolve to read ALL of her books because friends, this one was AMAZING.
A BLOOMING ROMANCE WITH AMAZING MAIN CHARACTERS
In Serious Moonlight, we follow Birdie, obsessed with mystery books and taking on a summer job in a historical Seattle Hotel, only to realize she will have to work side by side with the mysterious, very handsome Daniel with whom she had an awkward and kind of heated encounter once before.
To be honest, Serious Moonlight sounded like the perfect contemporary I would swallow whole and, despite its length (over 400 for a contemporary can seem quite a lot), I devoured it. Jenn Bennett’s writing style, her talent for taking me into Seattle streets, markets, hotels and seaside, coupled with the amazing way she has of shaping three dimensional characters I fell for… it just worked for me, a whole lot.
During the entire book, we follow Birdie as she struggles with finding her place, used to home schooling, being alone and living in her own fantasy, mystery worlds. Birdie was such a great main character to root for: she was not perfect and, more than once, she was even a little frustrating, yet I quickly grew fond of her and cared for her. Her passion for mysteries and mystery books shined in the story.
Daniel was such a great love interest just as well, charming, caring and overall adorable, yet with his own struggles and mysterious side, at first, too. The growth of their relationship, from a very rocky start to slowly building, the feelings slowly growing as they get to know each other better and the sex positivity in this book were really highlights of Serious Moonlight. I am all for an incredible slow-burning romance and here, I got everything I needed and more and it just made me swooooooon.
FAMILY ISSUES AND A TOUCH OF MYSTERY
Something I absolutely loved in this book is how, despite the romance being such a big part of it and obviously of the book’s marketing (look at that synopsis), there are such great places for other things for the reader to care about, too.
Let’s take the FAMILY, first. Birdie has grown with her grandparents, having lost her mother at a young age and, in her life, she also has her Aunt Mona, this eccentric, supportive, awesome side character to the story. Jenn Bennett explores family issues, from exploring and understanding Birdie’s mother’s past to understanding her own heritage, too. We also got to see Daniel’s protective, yet adorable side of the family and… well, you get a romance with the families on both sides and you got a win for me.
Let’s tackle the MYSTERY now, too. Slowly woven into the story, perfectly juggled with the romance and yet keeping me entertained too, adding a thrilling part to the read.
Jenn Bennett is making her way in my must-read contemporary authors slowly, but surely. With Serious Moonlight, she created such a great, realistic romance with characters I fell for and, if you’re looking for me, I’m making a list of all of her releases to get soon and all of her next books, too, because I want to read them ALL.
Final rating: 4,5 drops!
The biggest thanks to Simon Pulse for sending me an e-ARC of this book for review via NetGalley. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.
Trigger warnings: death of a loved one, grief, depression, mention of suicide, cataplexy / narcolepsy.
Diversity: One character is hearing-impared (Deaf in one ear, Daniel), one character has Puerto Rican origins (Mona), one side-character is a POC (Joseph).
Jenn Bennett, Serious Moonlight, Published on April 16th, 2019 by Simon Pulse.
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 most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.
Did you read Serious Moonlight? Do you want to? Any Jenn Bennett book I should read next?
What was the last YA contemporary book you’ve read and loved? Let me know in comments!