Starry Eyes

Jenn Bennett. . Simon Pulse, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7880-9
Bennett (Alex, Approximately) combines a romance with a survival story in a slow-paced novel featuring multilayered characters but grating subplots. Seventeen-year-old Zorie Everhart is an aspiring astronomer who intends to spend her last few weeks of summer working at her parents’ wellness clinic and participating in astronomy club. Then her mother persuades her to join a camping trip in Northern California with some of the most popular kids in her school. Much to Zorie’s chagrin, her former best friend Lennon, a goth boy with a knack for drawing maps, is also joining the trip. After Zorie and Lennon fall out with the rest of the group, they are forced to face dangerous obstacles together and address their unresolved feelings for each other. Despite some tender moments between both characters, the subplot concerning Zorie’s parents’ crumbling marriage receives undue focus and distracts from the book’s central themes of survival and romance. Bennett attempts to draw out a poignant message about embracing the spontaneity of life, but doesn’t allow readers to draw their own conclusions (“Planning can’t save you from everything. Change is inevitable and uncertainty is a given.”) Nevertheless, Bennett writes with an appealing blend of dry humor and tenderness, while providing the story with a cast of diverse characters. Ages 14–up. Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/07/2018
Release date: 04/03/2018
Genre: Children's
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