Published by Simon Pulse on April 16, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Goodreads • Book Depository
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 this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Obviously, being *the biggest* Jenn Bennett fangirl, I was ecstatic when Simon & Schuster approved me for the e-ARC of her newest release, Serious Moonlight. And while Serious Moonlight is probably my least favorite Bennett book so far, I still had a fun reading experience!
In this book, we follow 18-year-old Birdie Lindberg, who has scored a summer job working the graveyard shift at a swanky hotel in downtown Seattle. However, when she shows up to her first night of work, she realizes one of her coworkers is a boy she had a one-night stand with and promptly ran out on. NIGHTMARE FUEL. That being said, Birdie and Daniel decide to team up to investigate a mystery happening at the hotel, and before long, they start to develop romantic feelings for each other.
Birdie herself was quirky in the vein of all of Jenn Bennett’s heroines, but she also had a vulnerable side I deeply related to. She’s obsessed with mysteries and detective stories and aspires to herself be a detective one day, and as a result, she looks for mysteries and suspects everywhere. I loved reading the “profiles” she compiles for all of the people who present her with everyday mysteries of human interaction. She also has narcolepsy, and it was refreshing to read about a protagonist with a chronic illness.
Daniel, the love interest, was so earnest and charming. He loves magic tricks and is a talented woodworker, and underneath his wit and charm is a very human darkness. He’s half-Japanese and also has depression, which was more great rep I loved reading in this story.
Both Daniel’s and Birdie’s families were WONDERFUL. I love that family plays a large part in all of Jenn Bennett’s books, and I especially appreciate her portrayal of different kinds of “non-traditional” families. The Seattle setting was a refreshing change, too– the Pacific Northwest is so atmospheric and wonderful and was the perfect backdrop for a mystery.
Obviously, given the premise, Serious Moonlight was super sex-positive. All of Jenn Bennett’s books tend to share this trait, but this one in particular was very frank and honest in its discussion about sex. Not only is sex a major catalyst for the plot, but it’s discussed in detail throughout the story. Safe sex is mentioned multiple times!
The mystery plot was great– I mean, it plays on one of my biggest curiosities… what are reclusive bestselling authors who write under pen names REALLY like? I honestly wish it had played MORE of a part in the story. It took a backseat to the romance toward the second half of the book. I definitely did not expect the mystery to resolve the way it did.
All in all, Serious Moonlight is classic Jenn Bennett in a lot of ways– very sex-positive; heroine with a very niche interest; witty banter between the love interests; awesome families– but with a couple key differences (slightly older protagonists, a mystery plot, more sex). While it wasn’t her best work, in my opinion, I think Bennett fans will still love this one!
Have you read Serious Moonlight? What’s your favorite Jenn Bennett book?