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 the most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.
Title: Serious Moonlight
Author: Jenn Bennett
Published on April 16th 2019 by Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover, 426 pages
“Serious Moonlight” left me feeling both satisfied yet disappointed; it’s a weird mixture of emotions, which is why it took me forever to write this review.
I adored Birdie’s passionate nature and Daniel’s nurturing soul, but for some reason, I never truly felt emotionally connected to them. Birdie’s defensiveness and Daniel’s invasive pushiness got old REAL quick, not learning from their mistakes. I felt like they didn’t GROW until the very end. This is one of the rare times were I truly don’t know if I really cared for the MCs? Though Aunt Mona is THE BEST PERSON EVER.
The plot’s definitely the driving force of this novel, so story oriented readers should be excited! As much as this book’s a slow-burn romance, the mystery element’s super cute (very Nancy Drew style). But what I wasn’t expecting from this YA romance was the amount of heavy topics discussed: family loss; abandonment; depression; self-harm; severe physical health issues. Somehow, Bennett managed to balance ALL of these elements out perfectly. The ending DID feel slightly rushed, but the overall story progression flowed wonderfully, much better than I was anticipating.
I loved all the places Birdie and Daniel explored during their adventures: cute cafes, the hotel they work at, Mona’s home, etc. It was easy to fall unto the story with these beautifully descriptive areas!
In the end, Bennett’s story’s a heartfelt coming of age romance novel, filled with questions about the future and not being scared to try new things. There’s also a lot of representation in this novel: racial diversity, non-traditional families; mental and physical health concerns. Even though I have some quarrels about this novel, I would still recommend it mainly for these focal points.
I recommend this if you enjoy: slow burn romance; dysfunctional families; coming of age stories; unexpected plot twists.
Note: Thank you @a_feast_of_pages for buddy reading this with me!