Book Reviews

Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Starry Eyes is a cute book about first loves, past mistakes, and getting stranded in the wild. I think my favorite part of the book has to be the maps that Lennon draws. I am a huge fan of maps and these contemporary maps are so cute. Unfortunately I can’t show them to you in this book review, but just know that they’re there!


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?


Zorie’s character made me feel like I was looking into my past. Growing up, I was always the one who had a billion lists and needed a plan. I lived by my planner. That’s not to say I don’t anymore, because I still do, but reading a character like Zorie as a teen would have made me feel not as unusual. Speaking of Zorie, something Bennett does well in every book I’ve read is fabulously unique and detailed characters. They’re full of flaws, little quirks, and the perfect mannerisms. Seriously. You read a Bennett character and then you wonder why other characters can feel a little flat. I want characters with quirks and things they can’t stop thinking about.

First loves and Parents

I love the idea of coming back to first loves. There’s this nostalgia in memories you’ve shared, mixed with a tinge of sadness. Those aches that only the brightest memories have, because everything comes to an end. You look back knowing that there was a schism, an un-breachable distance. Former friends to something more has got to be one of my favorite tropes, just because there’s usually so much history and Zorie and Lennon do this so well. There’s family history and secrets between them, but their schism felt so relatable, like something that could have happened.

Another aspect of Starry Eyes I loved was the relationship between Zorie and her step mother. Not only is her stepmother Korean American, but there’s never any doubt that she’s Zorie’s mother. I want to read more step relationships that are good and healthy and this was absolutely soothing to my soul. Speaking about parents, there were quite a few diverse characters: Lennon has two moms and an Egyptian American father. And they’re so sex positive, I mean Lennon’s mothers own a sex store, so you bet that Starry Eyes is sex positive!


There was nothing I truly hated about Starry Eyes. I mean there were parts of the book where I was so angry at characters, but that’s because of the way they were written and their character. I wished that there was more emphasis on side friendships because those can be so important. I also felt like I was missing some resolution regarding some of the action that occurred with Zorie’s friends. I think my favorite Bennett book has to be Serious Moonlight, which was my first, and so there was a lot of comparison in my mind.

Find Starry Eyes on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


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2 thoughts on “Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

  1. This sounds like an interesting read! As I get older, I think that part of what I appreciate more about YA is how it lets me enjoy those moments of nostalgia and look back at something like a first love or how I used to love to plan things out constantly. I’ve seen this book around the blogosphere a lot with mostly positive reviews, so I appreciate that you described wishing for more emphasis on the side characters. As a Korean-American, I love how many more YA books releasing recently that feature Korean-American protagonists! Lovely review :))
    claire @ clairefy

    1. Yes! I have loved being transported back into the past, into those fist moments of insecurity as well!

      WE WANT MORE DIVERSITY! I mean I love Bennett’s characters in general, so I just wanted like a tad more for the side characters!

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