Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

May 6, 2018

Estranged best friends, Zorie and Lennon, fell out a year ago after she was stood up by him at the homecoming dance and Zorie’s father is only too happy that the pair are now best enemies instead. Struggling socially, reluctant Zorie (who had a perfect plan for summer) is given a bit of a nudge by her step mother to step outside of her comfort zone and attend a glamping trip away with the popular kids. Little does Zorie know, but Lennon too will be there. And after said kids desert them in the middle of the national park, leaving her alone with Lennon, she finally learns the truth about why Lennon stood her up all those months ago and they both starts to gradually heal old wounds.

I picked up Starry Eyes because I desperately needed a light and fun read, and a break from the heavier books I have been reading lately, and it delivered this in spades. A few pages in, and I was delighted to read, “Astronomy is my holy grail. Stars, planets, moons, and all things space. Future NASA astrophysicist, right here.” I’m something of a science geek myself, and loved to not only feel a kindred kind of connection with Zorie, but just simply seeing the field represented in print meant everything.

So many science fields are male dominated and it’s so important that movies, novels, comics, media, represents and reflects girls in these roles, so that we get more young women dreaming and believing that they too can build a career in science.

But even once we step past my initial appreciation of Zorie’s astrophysics interests, I found the story a delightful and heart warming read. I found myself easily connecting with her, and having spent a few weeks out camping myself, enjoyed that aspect of the novel too. The growing reconciliation between Zorie and Lennon was sweet, and had me hooked and I appreciated the nod to safe sex practices tucked in there too.

And if that wasn’t enough, we also had the loving relationship between Zorie and her step-mom showing that love extends far beyond genes and biological ties. And throughout it all, Zorie learns some important lessons about how planning can’t save you from everything. That change is inevitable and uncertainty is a given.

* This eBook ARC was provided by Simon & Schuster (Australia) through NetGalley for an honest review.

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