by Jenn Bennett
“Judging people unfairly doesn’t define them; it defines you. And in the end everyone will be disappointed”
Birdie Lindberg is always looking for a new detective case. After her mother passed away when she was ten and her grandmother just a few months ago, it seems people are always leaving Birdie behind and she finds her solace in the pursuit of a good mystery. So when she starts working at an old hotel on the night shift and a handsome and charming boy places a real life mystery in her hands, Birdie can’t help but go toward it, even if that boy is someone she maybe perhaps didn’t think (and kind of hoped) she would ever see again. Bennett weaves another heartfelt and dynamic novel about growing up and learning that sometimes the people you need most may be right in front of you.
There is something magical about Jenn Bennett’s stories. In Serious Moonlight, Birdie’s life is a unique one and yet through her is the universal experience of the trials that come with growing up, with grief, and with falling in love. The picturesque landscape of the novel, taking place in Seattle and yet feeling like a secluded and magical town of possibilities, gives readers a sense of feeling they have been there and yet as if they are exploring the town for the first time. The idea of fate is laced through the novel, the two main characters meeting by chance not once but twice in a large city and the connections between many of the characters we encounter, gives a touch of magic to the book.
Birdie was a confusing character to get a hold of at first because her actions (specifically involving her first encounter with Daniel) didn’t align with the characteristics she was displaying or thinking about. After she encountered Daniel again and had more interactions with characters I realized that her actions made sense because she perceived herself to be a different person that she actually was, she was a bolder character than she gave herself credit for. Over the course of the novel I felt I came to know Birdie and that she came to know herself better, this dynamic kind of character something refreshing to see in a YA contemporary. Moving on to Daniel, I don’t even know how to say how much I adored him. Not only was he witty and charming, but these characteristics were masking a very real person underneath, someone who uses bravado to get through hard times and this was something I could identify with and many others can I am sure. Daniel was my favourite of Bennett’s characters that I’ve read so far, feeling the most real and dynamic.
Any book that I find myself laughing at and smiling at that also makes me think is what that has captured my attention and Serious Moonlight contained a myriad of reasons for me to love it; dynamic characters, witty dialogue, an engaging plot, and a picturesque setting.