Wednesday 17 July 2019

#CBR11 Book 41: "Serious Moonlight" by Jenn Bennett

Page count: 432 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

From Goodreads:
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 Birdie 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.

Birdie has grown up on a small island outside Seattle, raised by her grandparents after her mother died. Her mother's best friend, an eccentric artist, has also acted as a sort of unofficial co-parent. Birdie also suffers from narcolepsy, but after her grandmother's death, she's managed to convince her grandfather to let her have a part-time job, working the night shift at one of the hotels in the city.

Birdie is taken aback to discover that one of her new co-workers is Daniel, the handsome young man she met and had an impulsive one-night-stand with, assuming she'd never see him again. Instead, he seems very interested in becoming friends (and possibly more) and when he discovers that she's a mystery aficionado, he tempts her with a mystery in the very hotel they work. He's pretty sure he's discovered the real identity of an elusive crime writer, who seems to have secretive meetings regularly at the hotel. He enlists Birdie's help to try to figure out who the writer really is, and what the meetings at the hotel are all about.

Alex, Approximately, the first novel I'd read by this author, ended up on my best of 2017 list. While Serious Moonlight was sweet and I liked it well enough when I read it, it's once again proven that with a little time passing, I barely remember what the book was about and books that can't stay in my memory after two months, are probably not full four star books. I really do need to get better about taking notes while, or certainly straight after I finish a book, to help me review them when I inevitably fall behind, like I have ALL year. I'd like to be able to say that the second half of the year will be different and I will be better, but we all know that's a big fat lie.

This was a sweet book, and both Birdie and Daniel were likable protagonists. Birdie has suffered some pretty tragic losses in her life, and because she's been home schooled and kept very sheltered by her grandparents, she has some difficulty socialising with new people and she certainly seems terrified of actually making a real and lasting connection with anyone. While she's clearly eager to get out into the world to experience new things, she also seems terrified of real change.

This is a nice little YA romance, but unless 2019 turns out to be a pretty sad reading year, I doubt this book is going to end up on my "Best of the Year" list.

Judging a book by its cover: Jenn Bennett's publisher seems to be very good about finding cozy and inviting looking covers for her books. As several of the important scenes in this book take place in a diner, this seems like a very appropriate choice. The cover models they've chosen look pretty much like the protagonists of the novel, too, which is always nice.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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