Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett | Review

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Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

Trigger Warnings: anxiety, panic attack, cheating, death of a parent, arguments, homophobic comments, consensual sex

Pages: 421

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance

Goodreads blurb:

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

Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to try to make their way to safety. But as the two travel deeper into the rugged Californian countryside, secrets and hidden feelings surface. Soon it’s not simply a matter of enduring each other’s company, but taming their growing feelings for each other.

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R E V I E W

Starry Eyes was my first disappointing read of June (yes, this review is being posted much later, I have scheduled a lot of posts). This book was truly a bore fest. There were no exciting twists or, really, anything to make this book stand out from every other YA contemporary book. The lacklustre feeling of this book truly made it drag even though I read it in a short period of time. Everything about Starry Eyes came across as it could be exciting, but the entire book truly lacked depth (the characters, the plot, etc.).

This book follows Zorie, a girl who is the most boring and awkward character ever. She is incredibly anxious, something that could be incredibly relatable for many young readers, and likes to have criteria to follow exactly. This summer though her mum has organized for her to go on a camping trip with a few girls from school. Except, that doesn’t exactly go to plan. First, it’s not just girls. In fact, her neighbour and ex-best friend Lennon is on the trip and Zorie is not on board with this. Not only that, but the trip goes from bad to worse when everyone leaves Zorie and Lennon in the woods with no car. Oh, the joys. This book was flat as hell and honestly pretty uncomfortable. Not a single one of these characters really acted like a teenager either. The voice really felt off and as if it was being forced in some parts. Particularly ‘sexlation’ in terms of the characters talking about sex being relaxing, it truly came across as uncomfortable and not something teenagers of this age would actually say to someone. I was so excited to dive into Starry Eyes, honestly, but it has to be one of my most disappointing reads of the year.

Honestly, this book was completely lacklustre and truly didn’t feel good. It was both immature and unrealistic. I truly don’t get what this book was. It was some uncomfortable and unhealthy relationships. Anyway, whatever, let’s jump into what I did and didn’t like about Starry Eyes.

what I did like

SEXUAL BEHAVIOURS

I posted a blog post the other day about how YA books are maturing and it’s a good thing. Starry Eyes is a good example of this as well. Zorie and Lennon do have sex in this book. I can’t say too much on this honestly, because despite the fact that this book had consensual YA sex I feel that everything I wanted to say about this topic I have already said in my blog post.

STEP MUM POWER

Despite the fact that this book has some incredibly dysfunctional family situations with Zorie and her family, I was happy to see that her step mum was amazing. At a time in my life, I had a stepdad and three stepbrothers. Which means that my mum was a step mum at a time in my life and she was absolutely amazing. She did everything for my stepbrothers at the time (these three boys were 9, 7, 6 when we met them and they hadn’t been taught how to read). It was just really enjoyable to see a step mum be amazing in a book and not a represented as someone who hates their stepchildren. Zorie’s relationship with her step mum was truly one that showed that a family is made from love and not blood.

F/F RELATIONSHIP

This is just a quick point – Lennon’s parents are his two mums. They even run a sex shop that is next door to Zorie’s parent’s shop. It is always good to see a healthy f/f relationship in a book. I’m not sure if their sexuality is ever specified? But, I know Lennon has a biological father that was around before his mum married his other mum.

what I didn’t like

WRITING IS SLOPPY

Starry Eyes is really all over the place. The writing is what pulls it down so much here. I feel this story could have been super exciting: camping, hiking and star gazing but it was mainly about Zorie’s dad’s angst and shitty behaviours affecting literally everyone. It seemed like a poor way to go about this book honestly. Not only that, but in many parts, the writing trails off or the dialogue feels like it is awkwardly cut. I honestly think that maybe Starry Eyes would have benefited from another round of editing just to tighten it.

When Zorie finds out Lennon’s biological dad has passed away I didn’t even feel sympathy within her character, the author seemed to struggle with writing emotion.

CHARACTERS LACK DEPTH

This is the big one. I’m not even a character-driven reader, I love a good plot (which this book didn’t have), but almost every character lacks depth within this book. To me they all simply felt one-dimensional and that they had no personality bar the ‘witty’ dialogues that were shared. It’s pretty confusing to read a book where you’re getting the main character and love interest confused in dialogue because they talk the exact same way (not in a cute awww way either).

THINGS ARE MENTIONED BRIEFLY AND FORGOTTEN

I guess this plays into what I called the sloppy writing. It really feels that throughout Starry Eyes so many different points are brought up and just simply dropped to never be mentioned again. I can’t even really say much on this, can I? I guess this is a personal observation too. I know a lot of books I like have this happen and it doesn’t bother me, but I just found it really annoying throughout this book. Probably because I wasn’t enjoying it.

THE WHOLE BOOK LACKED WOW FACTOR

One word to describe Starry Eyes would be lacklustre (which I’ve said three times in this review). It truly read flat to me. There was no excitement. There was no giggling. There was not even a single smile cracked. I didn’t feel for these characters nor did I want them to actually get together (they were lowkey toxic).

Overall, Starry Eyes was an incredibly disappointing book for me. It was everything I didn’t want it to be and I am sad that it was the worst book I have read in June. I wouldn’t even recommend it due to the fact it has ‘mature’ content. I suggest giving this one a hard pass.

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Happy reading everyone!

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3 thoughts on “Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett | Review

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