{Blog Tour} Starry Eyes - Author Interview with Jenn Bennett

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Released: 1st June 2018
Published by: Simon and Schuster 
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher
Pages: 417
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best-friends-turned-worst-enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern-day version of the Montagues and Capulets. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to try to make their way to safety. But as the two travel deeper into the rugged Californian countryside, secrets and hidden feelings surface. Soon it's not simply a matter of enduring each other’s company, but taming their growing feelings for each other.
Starry Eyes is a YA contemporary novel that has a cute romance, realistic depiction of friendships and heartwarming ending. This is the best-friends-becoming-enemies-then-something-more situation, with its own unique charm! A big thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for hosting the blog tour, and Jenn Bennett for her time in answering my questions. For more about Zorie and Lennon's story, keep reading...

Author Interview with Jenn Bennett

After releasing Alex, Approximately and now Starry Eyes, what are some of your favourite things about writing contemporary YA novels? 

First love is exciting, scary, and fun. But I think the best part about writing these stories is that they take place before the burden of adulthood and all that comes with it—careers, children, marriage/divorce, work stress, hospital bills, credit scores—starts weighing down the characters. Contemporary YA takes place when anything is possible and every path is open.

I really loved how you described all the settings and nature so vividly to set the scene for where all the drama unfolds. Do you think Zorie and Lennon's story would have turned out the same way if they had found themselves together somewhere else? 

What a great question! Say, if they had been left behind on a trip to Paris with no money or way to get home immediately? Or stuck in an elevator for hours, or maybe in a DIE HARD situation, fighting their way out of a building being held hostage by bad guys? Honestly, I think whatever situation you'd put them in, the most important thing about it was that this is a couple who were not talking and NEEDED to talk—and to realize that they could rely on each other. The result would be the same in any situation.

You also described how friendships change and that there's definitely more to people than what meets the eye. What messages about friendships and relationships in general do you hope readers will be able to take from this book? 

 In ALEX, APPROXIMATELY, the main friendship is much different: Bailey and Grace are kind of falling in BFF love, and they are better and stronger for their bond. In this book, there is the childhood friendship between Zorie and Lennon that was abandoned when things got complicated. There's a friendship that Zorie has with a girl who shares her interests and is a positive influence and quietly supportive. And there is the friendship between Zorie and a girl that has become toxic. I try to avoid heavy-handed messages in my books, but I suppose if there's anything I was hoping to show the reader, it was that friendships aren't always forever. That people change, and it's not always for the best. And that it's easy to overlook quiet friends who have been in your corner all along.

Zorie was a really interesting main character who grew a lot throughout the story. What were the best, and most challenging things about developing her character? 

Zorie has issues. Her home life may be in turmoil. Her birth mother died, and she's not completely over that. She has a medical condition that's exacerbated by stress. So she's been trying to control the chaos in her life by planning every little detail of it. The most challenging thing about writing this was that I worried readers would get frustrated by her hand-wringing and constant worries, or that all of her worrying and risk-avoidance would prevent her from having agency as a character, especially at the beginning of the story. This isn't a girl who's tough and ready to fight the world when this book starts. And it's harder to write those kinds of characters in a way that's appealing or sympathetic---perhaps because those characters are a mirror of our own anxieties or weaknesses, and it's tough to face those things.

Without giving too much away, is there a particular line or moment in the book that really stood out to you while you were working on it? 

One of my favorite moments in the book takes place in a tent cabin at the “glamping” part of the trip. During a group conversation, Lennon is seemingly asking innocent questions about the storage of another character’s cologne (dumb, beautiful Brett), and whether it will attract bears. But the subtext is that Lennon is trolling Zorie, trying to get a reaction from her, and everyone in the tent is oblivious but the two of them. I laugh every time I read Lennon’s lines. But what's more, I think that's the moment that Zorie wakes up and begins actively changing from Strict Planner to I Can Roll With the Changes. And giving her space to grow is the reason I wrote the book.

You can find Jenn Bennett on her Twitter | Instagram | Website

Don't forget to check out the rest of the blog tour here!


  1. I loved those little familiar actions between Zorie and Lennon too, as he was trying to get a reaction from her. It was so cute and usually at the expense of poor Brett, who I didn't particularly like anyway. I love Jenn Bennett books, that new love feeling especially between friends is so lovely and such a feel great romance. Thrilled you loved this one too Eugenia and wonderful review! ♥♥♥

    1. It was definitely interesting to see how the way they saw their friends and the relationship itself changed throughout the book. Thanks Kelly!


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