Book Review (ARC): Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

Jenn Bennett has always been one of my favorite contemporary writers—each of her books instantly capture my heart. 💖 Her writing flows easily off the page, and her characters are always crafted with so much depth. However, although I appreciated the midnight atmosphere and hints of mystery in Serious Moonlight, I will say that I loved her other stories, Alex, Approximately and Starry Eyes, just a little bit more. 🌙 I have to applaud the wonderful sex positivity and diversity in her characters, but I was craving a little something extra to light a spark and make me completely fall in love. I also buddy-read this book with Kelly from Another Book in the Wall!



PUBLISHED BY Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster) on June 13th, 2017

GENRES: Contemporary

PAGES: 432



After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

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 she 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 most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.(

Trigger & Content Warnings: death of a loved one, grief, depression, mention of suicide, narcolepsy, hearing loss/partial deafness


Serious Moonlight follows 18-year-old Birdie Lindberg who lives in Seattle with her narcoleptic grandfather. She’s in love with Nancy Drew, solving mysteries, and has been home-schooled all her life by her grandparents. ✨ After losing her mother at the age of 10, she’s now coming to terms with the recent death of her grandmother. One day, she decides to throw caution to the wind and has a one-night stand with a mysterious and charming boy she meets at the moonlight diner. There’s not much to think of it until he suddenly shows up at the historic hotel as her new coworker! Daniel Aoki comes with several mysteries of his own—he’s a thoughtful and charming amateur magician, and meeting Birdie both inspires and intrigues him.

This book is less playful and more inquisitive than her prior books. It was paced very slowly which I think fits the midnight setting of the story very well. However, at times, I personally found it moving too slow. Starry Eyes and Serious Moonlight are around the same length of 425ish pages, but it was harder for me to become invested in what was happening in this book. ✏ I felt like I was waiting for things to happen between pages of filler whereas with Starry Eyes I was zooming through the pages and deeply invested in the plot and characters.

At the same time, although the story felt like it moved very slowly, the setting and writing still very immersive. I’ve never been to Seattle, but it was easy to picture the walks on the street under the moonlight and sitting on the ferry waiting to travel home. There was one distinct scene where Birdie and Daniel go to a kaiten-sushi restaurant (conveyor belt sushi), and the illustrations were nostalgically vivid for me that I became soooo hungry. 🍴🍣

I really loved the presence of family and family figures within the story, making it feel all the more real and genuine. Aunt Mona serves as a mother figure to Birdie, giving very Lorelai Gilmore vibes, and Daniel’s family were wholesome, cute, yet also protective. 💫 One thing that I noted in my Starry Eyes review was that I hoped for more representation and diversity in Jenn Bennett’s books, and she did just that by incorporating a Japanese-American male lead and showing the complexities of disabilities in everyday life.

The plot of this book revolves around the mystery of a famous reclusive writer, yet that aspect felt pretty underwhelming because it was rarely mentioned and wasn’t a focal point of the story until the very end. I expected it to be explored a lot more and unfolded at a steady pace, but its final reveal wasn’t anything I could have anticipated. ☁ I guess that could be seen as a good thing for some readers, but personally, it didn’t work for me because I wish there was more of a build up towards it.

Overall, I’m excited to what Jenn Bennett writes next. Serious Moonlight was a thoughtful read, and although I didn’t fall completely in love with the story like I did with her prior books, I still found it fun and enjoyable. ☺

Have you read Serious Moonlight? What were your thoughts? 💕

26 thoughts on “Book Review (ARC): Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

    1. RIGHT?? I want sushi soooo bad after reading this ❤ I really appreciated the diversity too 🙂 I definitely agree about it being too slow, but I still really enjoy Jenn Bennett's books. I'd start with Alex, Approximately or Starry Eyes if you're interested in her books or a contemporary!! 🙂


  1. I’m so happy that you mentioned that there is a character with hearing loss in the book. I’m extremely interested in reading it since I am Hard of Hearing and I’m interested in giving it an own voices review about the representation of Deafness and hearing loss. It’s so rare to see Deaf and Hard of Hearing characters represented well. I’m a little sad I have to wait until June!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so so glad to that this book is able to touch your heart and represent you in that way ❤ I would absolutely love to read your own voices review. If you're interested in the meantime, I also really enjoyed Jenn Bennett's other books too!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a lovely review, Tiffany! I personally loved this one a whole lot, but I haven’t read Starry Eyes or Alex, Approximately and hearing you loved them even more makes me SO impatient to get to them haha. ❤ I loved how present the family was in this book, too ❤ ❤
    Lovely review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AHHH YESSS!! I’m so so excited for you (I feel like I’ve said this a bunch but I really enjoyed them 🙂 and I know you’re a contemporary QUEEN) The family aspects are also well represented in the other two books too so I cannot wait to hear your thoughts!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry to hear that this didn’t live up to your expectations! I’m still excited to read it because I really enjoy Jenn Bennett’s books and I’ve been craving a contemporary read. I’ve found that recently I rather like slow books with winding plots, so hopefully I’ll love this one as well! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s definitely personal preference! The pacing just wasn’t my favorite. It was still really nice getting reunited with Jenn Bennett’s writing because I love how she crafts her stories. If you’re looking for more contemporaries, I really enjoyed Geekerella nd also Kasie West’s books 🙂 I can’t wait for you to read it ❤


  4. This isn’t related to the book but now I’m so hungry for sushi. (I’ve never been to a conveyer-belt restaurant actually I’ve only ever had it when it was made by my mom, lol.)

    I haven’t read Starry Eyes but I HAVE read Alex, Approximately and I really want to read more of Jenn’s books. I love Lorelai Gilmore soooo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. omg if we ever meet up in person…i will make it a mission to take you to conveyer belt sushi because it’s soooo fun (but also so dangerous because IT’S ALL THERE AND YOU JUST KEEP EATING AND YOU DONT STOP AHHH)

      I really really love Jenn Bennett’s books, and Starry Eyes was a super fun read. I can’t wait for you to read more of her books 😉 and alfjsaklf I’m hungry now too :(((((((


    1. Ahhh yess!!! I definitely think that was a personal preference thing because I’m super picky about pacing but I also know some people really enjoy reading the in-between moments :O I really want to hear your thoughts though when you read it!! I think it fits our contemporary aesthetic perfectly 😉 I also really recommend Starry Eyes too ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This books sounds good! I know I’m going to be needing something a little slow and sweet later this year (I tend to get stressed in the second half of the year lol) so this is going on my TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely review, Tif! I had so much fun buddy reading this one with you, and had so many similar thoughts about the book! One of the biggest highlights for me was definitely the awesome presence of family and family figures! ❤ I also agree that the progression of the mystery could've been executed better. It almost felt as though it was paused somewhere in the middle of the book and didn't resume until the very end!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AWW Thank you, Kelly!! I really loved buddy reading with you too ❤ It was definitely super cute with the family interactions! I wish it moved along a bit faster because I definitely agree with your thoughts too 🙂 I can't wait to read your review!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve seen several mixed reviews for this, but I’ve really been looking forward to it, so hope I can read it one day! My library doesn’t have it right now, though. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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