Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publication Date: April 16, 2019 by Simon Pulse
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Source: Publisher via Netgalley
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 this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Jenn Bennett did it again! Here’s another fantastic YA contemporary from one of my favorite authors! Serious Moonlight follows Birdie as she starts her first summer job at a fancy hotel in downtown Seattle. On her first day at work she runs into a cute coworker she had an awkward encounter with and tries to avoid him at all costs. Slowly the two build up a friendship, and then more, by hanging out and trying to solve a mystery at work together.
One thing I really enjoy about Bennett’s characters is that they all have a hobby that is written in such a great, realistic way. Instead of saying they’re interested in something, and then not bringing it up the rest of the book, Bennett’s characters are constantly talking or doing something related to their hobby. In this book Birdie is obsessed with mysteries. She loves movies, tv shows, and books about detectives and murder, and is constantly talking about them. Daniel is super into magic and magic tricks, and throughout the book is performing little magic tricks for Birdie or other people.
“I always keep a comfort mystery book in my purse for emergencies.”
The family dynamics in this book are amazing as well. Even though some characters aren’t blood related, they’re still just as important to each other. The family dynamics are also written in such a realistic way. Birdie’s grandmother just died, and Birdie has conflicting feelings. She misses her grandmother because she loves her, but is also glad she has more freedom now because her grandmother was very overprotective.
Like her other books, Serious Moonlight is so sex positive. Bennett writes realistic teen characters, and that means sometimes they have sex. I love how she writes their discussions about sex and what to expect, instead of glossing over the fact that it’s happening or they’re thinking about having sex.
The characters in this book were amazing as well. Birdie is a closed off person who is afraid to let people in because she’s already lost so many people she cares about. Throughout the book she has to learn to let people in and depend on others besides herself. Daniel is also great. I love him so much, he was so funny, and caring, and such a genuinely nice person.
“Missing people is hard. Letting new people inside is harder. But the reward for making that effort was greater than I could have imagined. Family isn’t always blood and it isn’t contained in a single tree. It’s a forest.”
There’s also discussion on mental health and I love it so much! It’s done in such a healthy way, and I think it’ll help bring awareness to this mental illness and what it’s actually like to experience it. I love how it was done, the character discussed what it was like for him, and how people tend to respond, and all the help he’s getting medication and therapy wise.
I’ve never read a character that had narcolepsy, so reading about Birdie and her struggle with this chronic condition was super interesting to learn about. I don’t have much knowledge of narcolepsy so I can’t tell how accurate the representation is, but it seemed well researched.
Overall this is another fantastic book by Jenn Bennett and I 1000% recommend it! I was fortunate enough to get an eARC of this book, but on Easter once Lent is over, you bet I’m going to pick up a physical copy for my shelves!