Review: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

Title: Serious Moonlight
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 432 Pages
Published April 2019

Summary: 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.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, and I'm so glad I did, because I really enjoyed reading this one! I first heard about Jenn's writing when our Twitter friend Brooke reached out and told me that as a fan of YA contemporary romance, she was an author I should be paying attention to. She was even kind enough to buy me a copy of Alex, Approximately, and I knew from the minute I read the opening pages that I was going to be hooked for a lifetime. So, needless to say, when I was approached by the publisher asking if I wanted to review Serious Moonlight, I couldn't wait to jump on board! So without further ado, let's get into my review:

As the summary explains, Birdie is a lover of mysteries, and she's surprised when one falls right into her lap after she takes on a graveyard shift at a local hotel. Something else she isn't expecting to happen? Meeting Daniel, a boy full of secrets and elusive magic tricks. It's a summer for the books, and a lot of things come to light that she was never expecting to see.

This was honestly such a delightful read. Pretty much everyone I know is a fan of Jenn Bennett, and it was great just being able to gush over the story as I read it alongside some of my other blogger friends. As our friend Mo pointed out, it was so easy to get into Birdie's voice and fall in love with her story, even if it was sad at times. She's definitely a fascinating and hilarious narrator to follow around, that's for sure!

Something that I thought was really important that was covered in this book was the way sexuality is portrayed so unapologetically. Sex is definitely something that comes up a few times in this book, and the fact that there never seems to be a tone of regret -- not in terms of being a teen embracing her sexuality, although there are some other forms of potential regret that I won't spoil for you -- was just really inspiring to see on the page. Teen girls have sex. Sometimes they have a little of it, sometimes they have a lot of it -- sometimes they don't want to have any at all! As a reader, I was just really pleased to see the fact that Birdie didn't seem to face her sexuality with any sort of shame or disgust. It's definitely a sex-positive story, in my book! (See what I did there?)

Something else that I really loved about the book was the whole mystery-solving aspect. My dad has been a detective for over 25 years, so I've always been a lover of mysteries, and both following a mystery along in the novel while also seeing so many allusions to famous detectives and mystery stories was a treat. Plus, that live interactive Clue game -- how awesome! I wish I could've been a part of something awesome like that.

My favorite character in this story was definitely Aunt Mona, but Daniel was a close second! Aunt Mona was just so unapologetically herself, with her bold outfits and rash decisions and funny commentary. I basically saw her in my head as a young Christine Baranski, which made her character even funnier in my own head. Every time she was on the page, I loved how fiercely loyal and protective she was of Birdie, and also how hilarious she could be!

Another great thing I loved about this book was the setting. I haven't ever been to Seattle (or the West Coast) at all before, so I loved learning about it through Birdie's eyes. I loved all of the tourist attractions and the little diners and mom-and-pop shops. Jenn definitely does a great job of describing Seattle in a way that even readers who haven't ever been there can find themselves plopped right into the middle of the story. That's A+ writing, in my opinion!

Overall, I really enjoyed Serious Moonlight, and I'd definitely recommend it to anybody looking for a heartwarming, fascinating read that they can curl up with over a cup of tea. This book has it all -- romance, secrets, mystery, and adventure! -- so there's definitely lots to love. It's safe to say that I've officially found myself hooked on yet another Jenn Bennett book, and I'm so glad that Brooke reached out to me last year to recommend Alex, Approximately! Now if you'll excuse me -- it's time to add more of Jenn's books to my TBR!

1 comment

  1. Love your review! Jenn Bennett is one of my fave authors, and Serious Moonlight was just as good as her other books! One thing I really enjoy about all her YA is that she is so sex positive! I love that she shows teens having sex/talking about sex and not being ashamed of it!


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