Blurb from Goodreads
Raised in isolation and home-schooled by her strict grandparents, the only experience Birdie has had of the outside world is through her favourite crime books.
But everything changes when she takes a summer job working the night shift at a historic Seattle hotel. There she meets Daniel Aoki, the hotel’s charismatic driver, and together they stumble upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—is secretly meeting someone at the hotel.
To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell, and in doing so, realise that the most confounding mystery of all may just be her growing feelings for Daniel.
This is one squishy book of cuteness. I was craving a feel good novel and this 100% hit the spot.
The story follows 18 year old Birdie who lives in Seattle with her grandfather. Birdie lost her mom at the age of 10 and is now coming to terms with the recent death of her grandmother. In to the mix of all these emotions of grief and loss comes a boy, 19 year old Daniel who Birdie has an immediate connection with… But then she freaks out and doesn’t know what she wants or if she even likes Daniel at all. The story then follows Birdie as she tries to figure out just exactly who she is and what she wants from life.
I loved this book. There was a lot of daftness with the plot at times, especially when Birdie and Daniel took up their mystery case and became young sleuths akin to Nancy Drew…. but it somehow worked! I mean I could be biased because I grew up on a steady diet of Nancy Drew and very much idolised the teen sleuth in my younger years….
But what was also nice is that for a cute and fluffy romantic book there was a surprising amount of depth to the leading characters. I liked that both Birdie and Daniel both brought emotional baggage to their relationship that felt genuine and not just there for the sake of story. I didn’t see Daniel’s storyline coming at all and I must confess to shedding a few tears as he revealed more of his past life to Birdie.
The book is also fantastically sex positive which is definitely something Jenn Bennett has always rocked at. And the story really highlights the influence of a support structure be it family or otherwise in a teen’s (or indeed adult’s) life which is so great for YA as frequently familial support structures seem to be conveniently absent for ease of plot. My one gripe was the characterisation of Aunt Mona. At times I just found her to be a little bit overdone with her quirkiness… One too many stereotypes for my taste?? But by the end of the book I found myself developing a soft spot for her!
So overall this was a super cute YA read and really made me feel warm and gooey. After the disappointment I felt after reading ‘Starry Eyes’ I’m so happy to say that Jenn Bennett is back on form and this has definitely become my favourite book by her. It’s got all the sweetness of Alex Approximately and Night Owls but with much more authentic characters.
An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster UK Children’s, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.