Synopsis via Goodreads: After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.
Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.
In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.
To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.
*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Serious Moonlight follows the story of eighteen-year-old Birdie Lindberg who has lived a rather sheltered life and spends most of her time between the pages of a mystery novel. But she’s finally ready to go out on her own and try new experiences—the first being a hook up with a random guy in the backseat of his car. It wasn’t her finest hour and Birdie never expected to see the card-wielding magician again, that is until she finds out that the said magician, Daniel Aoki, is also one of her co-workers at her new summer job. She soon finds herself on the case with Daniel as they try to uncover the true identity of mysterious author who has never been in public before. As the pair get closer to the truth, what they uncover will be a shocking twist that neither was expecting.
While I hardly reach for young adult reads anymore, Jenn Bennett’s books are ones that are just too good to pass up on! I loved the whole Nancy Drew vibe that was going on throughout this story. I felt like I too was on the case with Birdie and Daniel trying to piece together the clues of who this mysterious author was. But the thing that really got me was the unexpected reveal of said author! The whole reveal totally came out of left field and I was not expecting it at all. I ended up backtracking to see how I could even miss this twist because it was just that good! Something that I’ve come to love about Bennett’s book is her inclusion of the non-traditional family. Birdie lost her mom at a young age and was basically raised by her grandparents and her mom’s best friend, Mona. The relationship between Birdie and Mona was another thing I enjoyed about this book. These two would get themselves into all kinds of trouble but they would also have these incredible heart-to-heart moments that just moved you.
Bennett has such a knack for writing flawed and complex characters that are also very relatable. Birdie is a bookworm who hasn’t really had much real life experiences but she’s hoping to change that before she goes off to college. While she’s on this mission to get out of her comfort zone and try new things, Birdie learns a lot about herself and that ignorance is not always bliss. You see, Birdie has a sleep disorder and she doesn’t want to accept it so she makes excuses for all her symptoms. This has got to be the first book I’ve read where a MC has a sleep disorder and as someone who also has a sleep disorder, I related to Birdie’s ignorance so much and definitely understood why she wasn’t ready to deal with her disorder. Then we have our hero, Daniel. Daniel was such a fun hero and was the total opposite of Birdie which was exactly what she needed. Daniel may have had some rough years, but he overcame those obstacles and now he’s thriving. He shows Birdie that life is too short let fear hold you back from experiencing life or else then you will miss out on some really special moments.
The romance is a bit of a slow-burning one as Birdie struggles between doing what is expected of her and doing what she feels is right. Because her mother was a teen mom, it was kind of instilled into Birdie to not make the same mistakes as her mother. Sex was a big deal for Birdie and I really liked how Bennett handled Birdie coming into her sexuality and realizing that sex and wanting to have sex is not something she ashamed of. Forming relationships and letting people in was another fear of Birdie’s because she had dealt with so much loss already that she thought it would be better to close herself off so she wouldn’t be able to feel that pain again. But Daniel didn’t quit and he was there for Birdie and he waited until she was ready to take that next step with him.
Serious Moonlight was yet another amazing YA romance by Jenn Bennett and I might even go as far to say that this may be my favorite book by Bennett to date! I’m not quite sure how she will top this book but I’m ready for whatever stories Bennett has in stores for us next.