Review// Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

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

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

This review contains no spoilers, except for at the end that you can avoid if you don’t scroll all the way down.

I read this book for free on Riveted.

Trigger warnings// racism, suicide, nsfw, toxic relationship, divorce, cheating. Please inform me if I have missed something and I will update this section.

Normally I wouldn’t have picked this book up. It didn’t sound that interesting to me. But it was for free on Riveted for 24 hours only, so I decided to give it a try. My initial plan was to read just a few pages, but I was about 30 pages in when I decided I should just keep reading. I made it a little challenge to finish it before midnight.

And I did it! I read this book in a little over 6 hours. I have always considered myself a slow reader, but this book sucked me in and proved me otherwise. I definitely need to read more contemporary romance books, because I liked this a lot. It quite surprised me that I did.

The only part I honestly didn’t like as much as the rest as the story was the beginning, about one fourth of the story. But I know that part was necessary, otherwise the rest of the story would make no sense. But I loathed the other characters (who were quite stereotypical), and I liked the interaction just between Zorie and Lennon the best. So this is definitely a book you should start reading when you have a few hours of time, because I really needed to get past the beginning in order to get invested in the story.

What I liked about both Zorie and Lennon was that they were both extraordinary people, but it wasn’t too weird or overdone. Zorie dresses in a colourful and quirky way, is allergic to a lot and lives on antihistamines, and is obsessed with space. Lennon has two mothers who own a shop that sells adult toys, owns many reptiles, and is a total geek.

It was kind of unrealistic that everyone’s parents just let their children go on a camping trip without checking who was going and if everything was okay. Same goes for the camp leader. Especially when you keep in mind this takes place in nature in America. There are lots of animals and crazy weather you don’t want children to encounter on their own. Maybe I am just slowly getting too old and am I starting to see the risks, haha. But I decided to try to ignore it and just enjoy the story.

I really loved the best friends to enemies to lovers trope. And I think that every explanation for their behavior made perfect sense and didn’t feel too fabricated. Their relationship progressed naturally and at a great pace. I also liked the bond Zorie had with her stepmon Joy and Lennon’s moms. It was very sweet and showed that people don’t have to be related by blood to be a family.

This is a lovely and cute story to get lost in for a few hours when you just want to escape for a while and feel good. I definitely recommend it if you like contemporary romance YA.

 

 

 

 

Spoilers:

Quick note that I like that this book mentioned practicing save sex a few times.

The other spoiler thing I’d like to mention is that I really like how things ended between Zorie’s mother and father. Zorie’s dad was despicable and cheaters don’t deserve a second chance. Grandma Moon was a hero, haha. And Joy was incredibly strong and I liked how the bonds between all the remaining characters were fixed when he got out of the picture.

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