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ABOUT the BOOK
Author: Jenn Bennet
Publication Date: 2019
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Fiction; YA Contemporary
Source: publisher provided – thank you so much, Simon Teen!
FIND the BOOK ELSEWHERE: Amazon | Goodreads
FIND the REVIEW ELSEWHERE: Amazon | Goodreads | WordPress
Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett | Book Review
STORY | 18 years old, and Birdie Lindberg has been something of a protected teenager. Raised by her loving but protective grandparents, Birdie suffers from a sleep disorder thanks to her grandfather’s gene, but it doesn’t stop her from living. Instead she brushes it aside as part of her daily life. Then Daniel walks into her life.
With his long hair, and gorgeous smile, Birdie knows his reappearance in her life could be trouble. You see their last meeting included an awkward mistake, and she hopes she never sees him again. But fate isn’t so kind, and when they both become interested in a mystery with origins at the historical hotel where they both work, Birdie and Daniel embark on amateur detective work… and maybe discover new feelings for life, family and each other.
REVIEW | There are certain books that stand out to a would-be reader. For me, it’s always the cover art. That’s what first captures my attention, and after this, I read the synopsis and either buy it (or sometimes I decide to wait), or if I’m not convinced, I’ll read some reviews. When the cover art for Serious Moonlight released, immediately I was captured. It’s the kind of aesthetic that seems romantic and fun, and for this bookworm, perfect. While it’s true this story has some of the right elements, it also disappoints.
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This book has so many things that give this a “Rissi-reads catnip” vibe. Sadly, its execution doesn’t always work in its favor (at least for me). The beginning does nothing to endear the characters and story. (Spoilers to follow!) The book’s early pages open with a kind of “big deal” confession from Birdie. She shares with her “aunt,” Mona that she had a tryst in the back of a boy’s car.
This is not something I felt authentic to the story or character, and as a result, it wasn’t something I liked about the book, especially seeing as this echoes throughout. Most YA fiction talks about sex in some form or another, but not in the way that it weaves throughout the story. This is a big deal (as it should be) for the character, but because of this, I feel like this belittles the characters, and what might have been a sweet love story. (End Spoilers.)
Beyond this, I do like the concept of this book. It’s fun and features a kind of Veronica Mars element because of Birdie’s love of a good mystery. This is my bookish love language as are the familiar quotes from famous detectives at the opening of each chapter. Aside from my big disagreement with this book, it does have some fun moments. I like the characters, and found some of the familial dynamics really interesting.
I suspect if you like Jenn Bennett’s novels, you’ll really enjoy Serious Moonlight. The ending is really good, and feels complete, which is a pro. It might not be my most favorite contemporary, but I’m not sorry to have read the book. It’s cover art just led me to believe the story inside would be something a bit different.#BookReview | A diner, nocturnal characters and a girl who dreams of being a detective! Find this and more in Jenn Bennett's #YALit contemporary, 'Serious Moonlight' - Solve a Mystery with a Charming Romance Click To Tweet
Content; there’s a good number of the F-word (or some variation), and other profanity (including using the letters “GD” as a substitute). Spoilers. Innuendo and sexual content also crops up quite a lot. Birdie and Daniel are intimate several times (more implied than descriptive), and not long into the book, Birdie confesses to a kind of “one night” tryst in the backseat of a car. There’s references to a suicide attempt. The book would certainly be PG13.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in consideration of review; all opinions in this review are my own.