Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
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?
I’ve had this book since it came out in 2018. I’m both mad and happy that I waited to read it. I’m mad because I love Jenn Bennett. I mean, really, really love her. But I am happy, too. I was able to relate a bit more. The reason? My husband and I went to our first dark city to see the stars at Anza Borrego Desert this past October. We didn’t stay as late as we wanted (had a 2+ hour drive back to the hotel), but I’ve never seen stars like that before. I can very much appreciate all the star talk in Starry Eyes now. I cannot wait to go back.
Jenn Bennett writes the best book boyfriends. And did she write this book for me? There was so much of me in Zorie. I love when I relate to a character and not just the storyline. There was some of Lennon in me, too, though. I realize that sounds dirty, but you know what I mean. It was his love for reptiles and punk music. That’s very much me. Like Lennon, I had a bearded dragon until he passed from old age. I have bred leopard geckos for over a decade. I loved all the reptile stuff in the book. As for Zorie, I’m a planner. I make lists. I love adventure, but I’m also not a fan of last minute plans. My anxiety gets horrible. I also break out in hives. Not as much anymore, but I used to have them pretty bad for awhile. They’re random from allergies and maybe a bit from stress. I found so many quotes that were just “me”.
The setting for Starry Eyes was also something I loved. I want to start hiking more, but I’m no where near ready to do it for days. I’m not a fan of camping or bugs. Also, the allergies. But I find that desert mountain hiking works out well. My allergies don’t bother me in Southern California. I’m curious to see how they would be in Northern California (hopefully someday). I love trees and the beauty in nature. I’m an observer by nature, so anytime I’m somewhere pretty, I’m a happy girl. Water makes me happiest. Like Lennon, I have a huge respect for nature and the threats there are. I don’t know about that dehydrated food though.
The heart of this book is the relationship between Zorie and Lennon. While on this trip, they both find out things that happened the year before. The things that messed up their friendship turned more. Family plays a big part in the book, too. I loved Zorie’s relationship with her mom (stepmom) and Lennon’s with his moms. Zorie’s dad did nothing but piss me off. There was so much about growing up, growing apart (or back together), love, family, friendship, and nature throughout the whole book. Zorie has to learn that you just can’t plan for everything in life. Things happen that can’t be changed and I was happy to see her growth after a short time away from other people and social media.
I obviously loved this book and gave it 5 stars. Warnings for adultery, suicide, teen sex, teen drinking, mention of drugs, parental death, grief, and a sex shop with some details. There is also some homophobia mentioned.
Weird random fact. My best friend has a son named Lennon and a daughter named Regan (the friend in the book). It was weird seeing both those names throughout the book. I kept thinking about them. They’re both in high school, too.
Have you read Starry Eyes? Are you a fan of Jenn Bennett’s books?