By Jenn Bennett
Published April 16, 2019 by Simon Pulse
This book was so delightful, and I really enjoyed it. It’s your basic Girl meets Boy, Girl has sex with Boy in his car, Girl freaks out and runs away story.
When Birdie starts her first job, the night shift at a hotel front desk, she’s horrified to find that she’s working with Daniel, the guy she had an awkward hookup with a few weeks earlier. They met in a diner and ended up having sex in his car. She freaked out afterward and ran away. Now that they’re working together, it’s very awkward, but Daniel, knowing Birdie’s love of mysteries, convinces her to help him solve a mystery: he thinks a famous, reclusive author may be visiting the hotel. As they grow closer during the investigation, Birdie has to figure out if she can actually manage a relationship.
This book is so cute, and I liked watching two people stumble into a relationship. Both Birdie and Daniel have baggage. Birdie’s mom died when she was 10, and after that, she was raised by the grandparents who kicked her mother out of the house when she got pregnant as a teen. The grandmother didn’t want Birdie to follow in her mother’s footsteps, so she was very overprotective and homeschooled her. The grandmother died a few months before the book starts. Birdie is still grieving, but she also has a lot of unresolved resentment toward her grandmother. She’s also ignoring a pretty big health issue.
Daniel also has some issues, having survived a rough patch in high school, and he’s got unresolved issues with the father he’s never met (who dumped his mother when she got pregnant). He wants to be a magician, but he’s also being pressured by his mother to go to school for something more practical.
This book has a lot of things I really enjoyed. It’s very sex-positive. There’s no shame attached to sex, as long as you’re being careful (which the characters are). It’s a really nice exploration of grief as Birdie realizes that she can grieve for her grandmother even while she still has some conflicted feelings toward her. I like that the books features young people who aren’t going to college. Daniel just isn’t interested in college, and Birdie technically hasn’t graduated high school since her grandmother passed away unexpectedly before giving her a diploma for her homeschooling. A lot of YA books focus on college-bound kids, and it’s refreshing to see other options explored. There’s some diversity–Daniel is half-Japanese. And as a mystery buff myself, I loved Birdie’s interest in mysteries. I really loved the character of Birdie’s “Aunt” Mona, a quirky artist who was Birdie’s mother best friend and who helped raise Birdie. She’s super wacky, but she’s also a great friend to Birdie and is always there for her. I firmly believe We all need a wacky aunt in our lives.
Serious Moonlight is a really fun read, and I definitely recommend it.
I received an ARC from Simon Pulse via Netgalley.