By Jenn Bennett
Published April 2019 by Simon Pulse
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.
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Serious Moonlight is told through the POV of Birdie, who is an 18 year old girl who had an interesting upbringing.
Birdie was raised by her mother (who was a teen mom) until she was 10. And then she was raised by her incredibly strict grandmother who homeschooled her and kept close tabs on her until she passed away. She’s totally into solving mysteries and loves mystery books and lets her imagination run wild.
So, here’s where I’m having a hard time. Because Birdie is this basically reclusive teenager, and she ends up having a one night stand with a guy. I keep thinking, “Ok maybe these things can happen” but the more I learned about Birdie’s cautious character, the harder time I had believing this scenario.
And, of course, the boy in question is now Birdie’s co-worker. The awkwardness was so tangible during the beginning scenes with the two of them trying to navigate conversations and how to handle suddenly being around each other.
I did like Daniel a lot. He’s a magician and I thought he was super nerdy cool. He’s also awkward and trying to figure himself out as well.
Daniel and Birdie end up working together to solve a mystery regarding a person in the hotel, and along the way they go on some whacky adventures (like venturing into this person’s yard?). And when they finally solved the mystery, it was a twist I didn’t see coming at first, so I definitely enjoyed that.
That said, hands down my favorite character in the story is Mona. Mona is wild and outrageous and I just absolutely loved her. She had very frank conversations with Birdie that I think are really important to have, and I loved the sex positivity.
And speaking of sex positivity, I appreciated that this book touched on sex like it did. It was simultaneously awkward and realistic and I appreciated how it was portrayed.
There’s are other elements in this story that could be triggering, such as depression and suicide. And I thought these topics were handled well in this story.
Overall, I did enjoy this read.