Starry Eyes was one of my favorite reads, and I really enjoyed Alex, Approximately too, so I was so so excited for Serious Moonlight.
It definitely fell in line with Bennett’s quirky (in the best way!) style and unique concept: this time, a girl who’s been sheltered by her grandmother who ends up working the night shift at a hotel. Add in an intriguing identity mystery of a famous author, a cute boy she had a fling with, and her own narcolepsy, and we have another unique yet wholly Jenn Bennett book.
I hate saying this, but this is probably my least favorite of the Alex, Approximately, Starry Eyes, and Serious Moonlight trio. I just didn’t click with the characters, and their relationship didn’t click for me.
But first, let’s go back into the positive:
Unique Jenn Bennett stories and style! Seattle!
The classic Jenn Bennett style was still really strong in Serious Moonlight, and I loved that so much! I would never be able to make a full list of all the exciting details, but her contemporary worlds are so immersive.
It really felt like I was in Seattle and seeing all of this (I’ve been to Seattle before and LOVED it) and Bennett made a contemporary book so rich in setting, as always. It felt uniquely Seattle, and I loved that so much.
Plus, even more than that, the details and individual places felt so fresh and tangible. I don’t know how she does it, but she manages to incorporate so much atmosphere without it being an info dump, and I’m obsessed.
Something else I love about Bennett’s books is how the characters have such individual backstories—even the side characters.
In Serious Moonlight, all of the characters are still very distinct. Birdie has her own unique set of desires and questions and feelings that fall in line with her background of overprotective grandparents, and she’s a huge mystery novel nerd, and her voice and narration reflect this.
Plus, her family has a history of narcolepsy, and that’s another pretty big element in this story that affects Birdie.
All of the other characters are still unique. Her grandfather, the ex-Coast Guard. Her godmother, with a very unique sense of fashion and a secret (?!). The love interest, Daniel, with his vibrant family.
Bennett really does a great job of defining all of her characters as individuals, and I loved that about Serious Moonlight.
I did feel like Bennett cheated a little bit with the character profiles the main character, Birdie, wrote up for everyone and slipped in, but also most of the information in there was stuff we already knew, so it wasn’t necessary if Bennett wanted to infodump.
It was kind of long and slower than I wanted it to be.
Starry Eyes ran a bit long, but I had no problem with that because all I wanted was more more more.
However, Serious Moonlight was a little slower? And it felt like there was a lot more filler. It’s almost 450 pages, and sometimes I just felt myself losing concentration. It could definitely just be a me-problem, but the narrative, as lovely as it was, didn’t suck me in. I wasn’t 100% invested, speeding through the book. It was more like I was waiting and watching for things to happen.
I did think that the identity mystery of a hotel guest was interesting and was supposed to make us more invested, but I wasn’t super into that just because conceptually, I didn’t really care about the mystery man. I know I was supposed to care, and that it was supposed to help keep me invested, but I didn’t care.
And I feel like partially that’s because Birdie didn’t care as much about the man as she did the mystery and Daniel.
So, although I thought the mystery was cool, I felt like it didn’t do its job completely, and was one of the reasons why this book didn’t move as quickly for me.
Serious Moonlight was missing chemistry, a click, that would have sucked me in.
This was my biggest qualm.
Birdie and Daniel were just not my OTP.
I was 100% for the ship in Starry Eyes and their chemistry was sizzling with best-friends-to-enemies-to-lovers, but I just was not super invested in Daniel and Birdie in Serious Moonlight. I just didn’t feel the click. They were cute, but that wasn’t enough to keep me present.
Ultimately, I think your enjoyment of Serious Moonlight will largely be dependent on how much you care about Daniel and Birdie and their relationship.
(I also think that Mary Sue haters will despise this book. I didn’t mind that part, I just wasn’t invested.)
Overall, this was a cute book, but one that didn’t click with me.
Serious Moonlight has all the elements it needs to make a cute book—except the chemistry.
The click was missing for me, but I can’t say if it’s missing for you. I’d definitely recommend checking out an excerpt and seeing how much you like Birdie and Daniel, because this is a sweet book, just one that’s very hinged on the romance! (It is a romance novel.)
Birdie finally has a bit of freedom: working the night shift at a hotel, after being sheltered for so many years of her life. But her life is going to get a lot more awkward when she realizes that one of her coworkers is the boy she ran out on after their fling in his car.
Birdie has a lot more to deal with than just a short flame—from her aunt’s mysterious secrets to her own undiagnosed narcolepsy to finding out the identity of the mystery man at the hotel. Her life is about to get a lot more interesting.
Thank you so much to Jenn Bennett for sending me an advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review!
Have you read any of Bennett’s books? What did you think?
(Also, I’m trying out a new setup for my reviews–let me know if you like this better!)