Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher/Imprint: Simon Pulse
Edition: Hardcover, 425 Pages
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
A Spine that Shines? Partially
I just finished reading Serious Moonlight today! This was my first time reading anything by Jenn Bennett. That cover is gorgeous, but unfortunately I did not enjoy the book as much as I hoped I would. This will be an honest review – and not entirely positive. Please understand that these are my personal views and opinions. Other readers may enjoy this book more than I did.
Let’s begin with what I did like about the book.
- I loved the short quotes from mystery books or TV shows at the beginning of each chapter! It was like the author was sort of giving readers their own little clues to follow.
- The setting is lovely. I don’t think I’ve read any other YA books that take place in Seattle. I enjoyed the Sleepless in Seattle vibes.
- I also liked the idea of the book. A girl and a guy meet first at a diner and then again at an old hotel where they both work.
- There’s a pet octopus in the hotel!
- The Moonlight Diner itself sounds so cozy! I would love to try some of that pie. Yum.
- Some of the dates that Daniel sets up for Birdie have really cool themes!
- There is a ginormous cat named Blueberry, who gets to walk around outside on a leash.
- One of the characters lives in an old theater building. Awesome!
- Aunt Mona’s quirky outfits sound amazing! She is an expert at creating colorful and unique outfits.
The Characters & Romance
Here are my thoughts about Birdie and Daniel.
- I loved that Birdie is a detective/mystery aficionado. Her narcolepsy is also interesting to read about. I have not read any other books with characters who deal with this condition.
- I also thought it was cool that Daniel, the hotel van driver, is of Asian heritage. And he is also deaf in one ear, an interesting topic to bring up in YA.
- However, I did not like everything about Daniel and Birdie’s relationship – even if they are of legal age. Here is where my personal opinions come in. I understand some people may not have the same thoughts as mine, but the heavy emphasis on sex throughout this book makes me think it should not have been marketed for a teenage audience. I think this hinges on New Adult. (I can’t imagine my teenage sister reading this.) I think sometimes people forget that it’s OK for teenagers not to have sex. They can still be strong, beautiful, confident people if they wait until they’re ready. Waiting won’t make them less “cool” or less special.
- I didn’t understand why Birdie and Daniel have sex the first time in the back of his car when they are total strangers to each other. They’ve only just met perhaps an hour ago, and there is not really a good reason given for their first attempt together. They were not intoxicated or anything at the time.
- Also, a guy pulling a girl’s pants down while she’s stoned from weed (even if they don’t have sex in that scene) is not my idea of romantic.
Another thing that hindered my enjoyment of the book is the pacing. Other reviewers have also pointed this out. This book is a little over 400 pages, and that’s pretty long for a YA contemporary. It takes almost 100 pages to actually get to the hotel mystery part. The plot sometimes meanders, and the pace drags a bit in the middle and beyond. I was counting down the number of pages, which is not really a good sign. And then when the mystery is finally solved, it was not what I was expecting.
The book also states that Birdie was home-schooled and that she was “kept on a short leash.” I’d just like to point out that this is not necessarily an accurate portrayal of a home-schooled child. Several of my relatives were home-schooled, and I wouldn’t call them “sheltered.” They had social lives.
There is also a lot of swearing for a “teen”/YA book. The s-word and f-word appear very frequently. The f-word literally appears like every few pages. (I mean, there is a reason why I choose to read YA and not Adult fiction.)
Nevertheless, I did think the ending is super cute, and it leaves the characters in a good place. Again, these are my honest opinions. I know there are many readers who have said they enjoyed this book. Perhaps hard-core romance readers would enjoy Serious Moonlight more than I did.