Wednesday, 15 May 2019

A Review: Jenn Bennett's Serious Moonlight

Hi, and thanks for stopping by.

Today's post is going to be a gushing festival of compliments, all for Jenn Bennett and her wondrous writing. I have read all of Jenn's YA contemporary novels so far, and given each one an easy 5-star rating (my favourite is still the first that I read, though, Night Owls). Her writing is always funny, always swoon-worthy and always interesting; she is without a doubt one of my favourite authors of all time. I cannot recommend her work enough - she is also a wonderful person to interact with and I want to take this opportunity to encourage everybody who hasn't yet, to support her by checking out her writing!!

Enough gushing already? Serious Moonlight is Jenn Bennett's latest YA contemporary and I was lucky enough to receive an arc of it, from the publishers, back in January. As you can tell from the photograph, however, I went ahead and bought a finished physical copy too because a) I want it for my collection, b) I like to reread Jenn's books regularly and c) I like to support her work. 

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.

"Missing people is hard. Letting new people inside is harder."

Firstly, let's talk about the romance in this story. I loved the way it started, so painfully awkward, given the circumstances, and funny and how it developed slowly. Something that Jenn Bennett never fails to do (and that is SO lacking in a vast majority of the YA that I have read) is how brilliantly she writes about safe & positive sex, never shying around topics of protection, consent and awkwardness. Serious Moonlight followed this tradition perfectly. Daniel was a really interesting love interest; as always, he felt unique and engaging, not like he'd been popped straight out of a mould.

"Before I met Daniel, my life was a cozy mystery  book in a small town with on quiet murder to solve. Now dead bodies were piling up everywhere, a serial killer was on the loose, and I was a brooding detective with a sleep disorder who'd fumbled all the evidence."

I liked the "mystery" element because, at least for my tastes, it was written to the perfectly pitched degree. It didn't completely take over, it wasn't made up of lots of long scenes and complicated clues. It drove the plot forward well though, and brought Birdie and Daniel together in a realistic way. The big reveal at the end was actually really surprising and interesting to me! I didn't think I'd really be that bothered by what was revealed, no matter what it was, but I ended up being so invested in the revelation.

Birdie's interest in Nancy Drew and solving mysteries was just one of many things I loved about her; again, Jenn Bennett always gives her characters such interesting hobbies/passions, whether it be anatomy illustration, fashion, movies, surviving in the great outdoors - there are always layers to them.

"Family isn't always blood, and it isn't contained in a  single tree. It's a forest."

The discussion of family in this book was also so great; the different types of relationship, the fact that somebody doesn't have to be a blood relative to feel like "family", a kind of blowing apart of the nuclear family model and even the discussion of  hereditary medical conditions (in this case, narcolepsy.)

"It took me a long time to figure out not everyone in my life was meant to stay. But using that as armour didn't shield me from future heartache. And even heartache felt a million times better than running away."

So those are just a few of the things I loved about Jenn Bennett's Serious Moonlight. I'm trying to make my reviews here a little more succinct, but if you want to talk about how much you love this book with me, please follow me on Twitter (@ECbookblog), Instagram (@explorationofcreation) or add me as a friend/follow my reviews on Goodreads here - or all three!!

Till next time



  1. I've heard mixed things about this book, but I did really like one of the author's other books!

    1. It's not my favourite of her books, but still wonderful - well worth a read!!