|When I first found out that there was a new YA contemporary coming out from Jenn Bennett, I was ecstatic. I’ve found that in my old age, (har har) I’m not drawn to young adult contemporaries like I used to be. This is so annoying but I’ve gotten to the point where instead of sympathizing with the main characters and their problems, I tend to side with their parents now (or what their parents would/should say if they ever were around in these books). Ugh I hate even saying that out loud. FORTUNATELY there’s something about Bennett’s characters and stories that doesn’t have me cringing.
They still act their age but the mistakes they make, make sense to me. They’re not excessive, over the top, or unrealistic. In fact, it seems like so far with the two books of hers that I’ve read (this and Alex, Approximately) that the characters have unique problems or are dealing with important things that might not actually be seen often in a young adult book. But, unlike some other authors who try to do this (like…John Green and his excessiveness with teens who wax poetic every five seconds–sorry not sorry) it really has worked for me.
I won’t get into what Birdie and Joseph are both dealing with in this books but both are pretty significant things that will impact them for the rest of their lives. I want to say that I enjoyed reading about them and how they were handled but…that does NOT seem like the right word. Maybe appreciated is better? Probably.
Either way, this book is everything I could have wanted it to be and more. Bennett’s writing is so addicting and makes any character or situation come to life in a way that not many others’ do. The relationships in this book are so amazing. From the familial ties between Birdie, her grandfather, and Mona to EVERYTHING that lies between Birdie and Daniel…my heart just felt so big afterwards.
The aspects of them trying to solve this mystery throughout the book was really fun and cute to watch and the end result was not what I had been expecting!
One thing that I think people might have a problem with in this book is Birdie. I’ve already seen one review of someone saying she seemed super childish but I just can’t agree. Birdie’s dad was never in the picture and her mom died when she was young. Afterwards she went to live with her grandparents, her grandmother being VERY strict and homeschooling her, and only really got to go out and ~live a little~ when her mom’s best friend, Mona, would spend time with her. So basically, she was sheltered from the real world for her entire life. She got out, but she never experienced the same stuff that kids at a public school would have, you know?
That and the fact that she’s lost two of her close family members also makes her incredibly wishy-washy with her feelings towards Daniel at first. Some people might get frustrated with that because Daniel is literally an angel sent from above BUT I don’t know. For some reason I saw myself in Birdie in a way that I have not connected with a YA contemporary character probably ever. I went to public school, didn’t have anyone super close die (my own grandma) until I was in community college but my parents were fairly strict. I couldn’t date until I was 16, I had an early curfew, had to get good grades–all that good stuff. I just understood when she was freaked out by Daniel and his giant feelings and didn’t know what to do with them other than push them away. I have done that myself before, too. I don’t know..I just loved her, guys. I don’t even know how to explain it other than saying I understood her and I loved her and thought she had amazing growth throughout the book. Basically this was just another overall winner for me and I definitely think you should check it out.