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Starry Eyes Hardcover – April 3, 2018
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Zorie is a typical high school nerd who is defined by quirky glasses that match her outfits and her love of astronomy. The summer before senior year is going just as she planned in her bullet journal. That is until she is invited to go glamping—glamorous camping—with her friend Reagan. Zorie's careful plans are demolished. She has also found out an awful secret about her father. To compound the situation, boys are going on the trip too, including her former best friend Lennon and her crush Brett. It turns into an awful situation when Zorie and Reagan get in a huge fight and Reagan leaves Zorie and Lennon stranded at the resort. Zorie is devastated about her night with Reagan and about missing the meteor shower party she was supposed to attend near the glamping resort. In addition, Zorie does not want to go home and deal with her family issue. Luckily, Lennon the hiking expert convinces Zorie that the meteor shower party is not too far from where they are and that it would be easy to hike there. Vivid plots, and endearing characters make this novel impossible to put down. The plot is fun and relatable, and the love story is compelling. Bennett uses the wilderness, away from cell phones and Internet service, to create a perfect setting for Zorie's coming of age and budding relationship. VERDICT A fabulous read for YA shelves.—Nicole Detter-Smith, Homestead High School, IN
Zorie is a typical high school nerd who is defined by quirky glasses that match her outfits and her love of astronomy. The summer before senior year is going just as she planned in her bullet journal. That is until she is invited to go glamping—glamorous camping—with her friend Reagan. Zorie’s careful plans are demolished. She has also found out an awful secret about her father. To compound the situation, boys are going on the trip too, including her former best friend Lennon and her crush Brett. It turns into an awful situation when Zorie and Reagan get in a huge fight and Reagan leaves Zorie and Lennon stranded at the resort. Zorie is devastated about her night with Reagan and about missing the meteor shower party she was supposed to attend near the glamping resort. In addition, Zorie does not want to go home and deal with her family issue. Luckily, Lennon the hiking expert convinces Zorie that the meteor shower party is not too far from where they are and that it would be easy to hike there. Vivid plots, and endearing characters make this novel impossible to put down. The plot is fun and relatable, and the love story is compelling. Bennett uses the wilderness, away from cell phones and Internet service, to create a perfect setting for Zorie’s coming of age and budding relationship. VERDICT A fabulous read for YA shelves. (School Library Journal February 1, 2018)
Once upon a time, Zorie and Lennon were best friends. Sure, things weren’t great with their families—Lennon’s two moms opened up a sex shop next door to Zorie’s dad and stepmom’s massage and acupuncture wellness clinic, and her dad is convinced that’s why business is dropping—but that never used to matter. Now, for reasons neither one of them really understands, Zorie and Lennon are practically mortal enemies. There’s no sign of things changing anytime soon, until a group camping trip gone wrong ends with Zorie and Lennon stranded in the Northern California wilderness together. Thankfully, Lennon has a few wilderness survival skills up his sleeve, but even here, secrets have a way of coming out—if Lennon and Zorie don’t kill each other, they may just make it out of this alive. Bennett (Alex, Approximately, 2017) nails Lennon and Zorie’s will-they-won’t-they dynamic, and the California backcountry offers a striking, high-stakes backdrop. A layered adventure-love story that’s as much about the families we have and the families we make ourselves as it is about romance. — Maggie Reagan (Booklist Feb 15, 2018)
Former best friends (and crushes) rediscover each other on a backpacking trip in Bennett’s (Alex, Approximately, 2016, etc.) charming romance novel.
It’s the summer after junior year, and anxious, risk-averse Zorie Everhart uncharacteristically agrees to join popular classmate Reagan and her friends on a luxury glamping vacation in northern California, figuring she can still manage to meet up with fellow astronomers to witness a meteor shower on a nearby mountain. On the day of departure, Zorie realizes with dread that her neighbor Lennon Mackenzie is going too. Zorie (who’s white and being raised by a Korean-American stepmother) and Lennon (who has two white moms and an Egyptian-American biological father) were once inseparable but haven’t really talked since the incident at homecoming when he broke her heart. Lennon—–a horror fanboy, amateur herpetologist, and music aficionado—–turns out to also be a veteran hiker. When irresponsible behavior and a night of emotional confrontations leads the group to abandon the pair, they take a multi-day journey to reach the star-gazing party by themselves. The two have lots of literal and figurative ground to cover, and eventually resolve and move past old hurts. The author authentically explores serious subjects such as grief, betrayal, divorce, and loss—–but there’s also plenty of humor, geeky asides, and a healthy portrayal of consensual sex between mature teens.
A sweet and surprisingly substantial friends-to-more romance. (Fiction. 14-18) (Kirkus STARRED REVIEW 2/15/18)
Control freak Zorie is not looking forward to a weekend camping trip with her best friend, and she’s especially not happy when Lennon, the boy who broke her heart last year, joins their group as their unofficial wilderness guide. Still, best pal Reagan is having a rough year, so Zorie’s willing to go along with it out of BFF loyalty, and as an astronomy nerd she’s excited about seeing the upcoming Perseid meteor shower. A spat leads the rest of the group to split off from Zorie and Lennon, but Zorie still hopes to see the Perseids, so Lennon is game to guide her on the long trek to the highest viewing spot. The book is loaded with contrivance: it’s unclear how the rest of the group makes their way back through the woods without Lennon since they needed him in the first place, Zorie’s decision to hike days to the peak is wildly out of character, and her inability to do anything right camping-wise is grating. That’s mostly backdrop to Zorie and Lennon’s reunion story, though, which is one with witty love/hate banter and plenty of intense make-up sex. There’s humor in Lennon’s background (his parents run the sex toy shop next to Zorie’s parents’ acupuncture place), drama in Zorie’s family life (her dad is a serial cheater), and plenty of non-sexual thrills in the various forest threats, making for an acceptable romance read, especially under starry skies. (BCCB April 2018)
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Starry Eyes is about Zorie Everheart, the dictionary definition of an “A-Type” personality. I’m pretty compulsive, and Zorie puts me to shame. Her life is planned, organized, and even color coded.
Unfortunately for Zorie, the sad reality of life is that we have no control over the things we most want to control- like, for instance, the canyon of silence that’s grown between her ex-best friend (and ex-potential soulmate), Lennon, she’s accidentally discovered her dad’s an adulterous jerk, and her body’s trademark reaction to spontaneous stress? Violent hives.
Needless to say, Zorie’s got a lot going on.
So, even though she’s not one for camping, and certainly didn’t have it color-coded into her vacation plans, she’s now going glamping (glamour camping) with Reagan, a friend who Zorie’s not-so-closely friendly with anymore. Of course, by the rule of Murphy’s Law, guess who’s coming glamping too?
After an explosive argument, Zorie winds up stranded off the beaten path with Lennon as her survival guide. Obviously, hijinks of the best kind ensue from there.
Zorie and Lennon are wonderfully balanced; Bennett’s created two characters who are the perfect foils for each other, and the chemistry feels real. The two have inside jokes, and a real history that they start to learn can’t just be buried under some silence and snarky banter.
I genuinely liked both characters. Even though I’m twenty-seven and would hope to have my life under control by now, I could empathize so much with Zorie. She’s every teen (and adult) who’s just doing the best they can to swim in a tide that’s seriously pushing against them. She’s stuck in a really tough place, and it’s easy to root for her and hope that her life gets straightened out. She’s funny and smart, and I love that Bennett created a teen protagonist who wants to be an astrophysicist (how awesome!). I want to see more of these teen characters with big, brainy dreams. Not to forget, her eye glasses game is totally on point (I’m jealous).
Lennon is snarky and sweet, my personal favorite combination. Like Zorie, he’s a little off-beat, but Lennon seems to manage the social stratosphere more easily, getting the “rebel reputation” whether he wants it or not. He’s a teen with two moms and an ex-musician for a father; he wasn’t made to blend in, and he owns his differences. I think that’s one of the things I liked most about Lennon- he has a strong sense of self, and he’s not just a filler character to further plot development.
I loved the artwork that went with the parts of the book as well as the maps, especially once I learned why the maps were significant (that made my heart happy).
I’d never read one of Jenn Bennett’s YA novels before; I’d only ever read (and loved) the Arcadia Bell series, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m so glad that I took the time to read Starry Eyes. It even strikes me as the kind of book that would translate well to film, and I’d totally go watch that too!
It flashed me back to being twelve years old, reading my first Sarah Dessen book and discovering that YA/Teen lit could be meaningful and beautiful in its humor and awkward romance.
Thank you, Jenn Bennett :)
Starry Eyes is a meshing between Katherine Center’s Happiness for Beginners, an adult hiking story centered on new beginnings and self-discovery, and the messy complications of teenage life found in Jenn Bennett’s own Alex, Approximately. The main characters in Starry Eyes, Zorie and Lennon, struggle throughout the pages trying to understand what happened to their past friendship, how did they come to this point in “hating” each other, and can their friendship re-ignite as they hike through mountains, fend off bears and snakes, and map their way to new beginnings. I love the chemistry between these two characters. Zorie and Lennon have a fantastic history between each other; it’s filled with inside jokes, the “great experiment,” and familial dynamics that balance on a thin line of love and hate.
Furthermore, I really enjoyed Starry Eyes because it focuses on so many relevant topics and diverse characters. Without providing too many spoilers, Bennett takes a refreshing stance on modern-day families. She challenges the idea of the traditional sense of parents, and it made my heart grow 3 times bigger whenever I read a scene between Zorie and her stepmom. I also liked Bennett’s ability to write about positive and safe sex decisions in a young adult novel. Zorie and Lennon’s path towards discussing sex is based on affection, consent, respect, and love.
In the end, this story is a beautiful mashup of star-gazing, glamping shenanigans, and a destined friendship that can withstand anything. I’m going to say it right now, Starry Eyes is by far my favorite contemporary book of 2018, so far. Zorie and Lennon’s fierceness, angst, determination, and quirks made them so captivating and so hard not to love and root for throughout each chapter. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romantic story filled with great character-development, laughs, swoons, and warm, slow-rising smiles.
I love how well I got to know them, how even though the book was in Zorie's POV, I got to know Lennon as if I was inside his mind too; I love the relationship Zorie and Lennon had, could feel the pain they went through and how genuine their love for each other was.
And even though the book focuses on Zorie & Lennon, I gotta praise the role their families play. I did not like all the members of their families *ahem* Zorie's dad *ahem* but the three women that play a huge part in Zorie & Lennon's life are inspiring and incredible.
I JUST... LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK! LOVE LOVE LOVE Zorie & Lennon!
Jenn Bennett is a refreshing voice in the YA world. I'm glad I discovered her. Definitely looking forward to reading more from her.
Things I loved: That Zorie is working her butt off to become an astrophysicist. That she loves her stepmom. That she's super self-conscious in a realistic way. That she has no idea how to navigate the vagaries of high school popularity (did any of us???) That she loses her cool.
Thing that made me unsure: would an Olympic trials level athlete be in school at all? Don't they have tutors and such? I don't know...
Other things: The snake scene was FREAKING ME OUT!!!
OK. Go buy and read this book. Don't argue with me... just do it!!
Most recent customer reviews
Once upon a time, Zorie and Lennon were best friends.Read more