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Jenn Bennett is an artist and author who writes books for adults and teens. Born in Germany, she's lived and travelled extensively throughout Europe, the US, and the Far East. She currently lives near Atlanta with one husband and two evil pugs. Follow Jenn Bennett on Instagram here.
Author photo © Bill Skeel
Eighteen-year-old Birdie is fanatical about mystery and crime fiction, a world in which she immersed herself while being brought up by her strict grandparents following the death of her mom. Birdie’s perception of detectives reveals much about her own aspirations and personality: “Detectives were cool, calm, and capable. They were usually loners, helping people from a distance...underdogs that people miscalculated.” Now, following the death of her gran and with the support of her mom’s fabulously flamboyant best friend, Birdie tries to find her own way in the world by taking a summer job as a night clerk at a glamorous historic hotel. It’s here that she forms a swoon-some, life-changing relationship with Daniel, the hotel’s handsome, hearing-impaired night driver, as they try to solve a real-life mystery involving a guest. Then, alongside the edge-of-your-seat twists and turns of their investigation, and their fast-blossoming, fated romance, it turns out that Daniel is harbouring secrets of his own. Underpinned by relatable real-life complications and curveballs aplenty, this engaging feast of young adult fiction fizzes with multiple mysteries and the jittery joys of first love. Head here to discover the author’s previous novels, which come equally recommended for their compassionate championing of offbeat, authentic young adult characters.
One of our 2018 Books of the Year | Stars collide and sparks fly in this electrifying story of a wildly unforgettable summer. Thought-provoking, funny and flooded with energy, this is contemporary YA at it’s finest. After discovering an unpleasant revelation about her dad, astronomy buff Zorie agrees to go on a glamping trip organised by a drifting friend. The trip goes hideously wrong when the group is expelled from the fancy site and wind up setting up camp out in the bear-ridden wilderness. Matters further disintegrate when Zorie and Lennon, her former best friend and sometime boyfriend, are left alone in the wilds with no transport, and a whole lot of frazzled history between them. Add to this a family feud, unvoiced anger and raging hormones, and the stage is set for an explosive story that’s played-out against a majestic wilderness backdrop. There’s something majestic about Lennon too - his thoughtfulness, his respect for the wild, his respect for Zorie, who also had me hooked from the off. She’s genuine, witty, knows who she is and deals with life’s challenges with strength and maturity. Both she and Lennon kick off clichés and well-worn tropes at every turn, and I relished every moment of their story.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | In a Nutshell: Rolling waves of romance in the Californian sun Feel-good fiction at its best: moving, life-affirming, with a heart of sunshiney gold. Movie-loving, vintage-wearing Bailey has found her perfect boyfriend, but with Alex being a West Coast guy and her stuck in Washington with her mom, they’ve never actually met. But life has a habit of dealing unexpected cards, like Bailey moving to out west to California to live with her dad, where she deploys all her detective skills to track down Alex while working a summer job at The Cavern Palace museum. It’s here she meets swaggering surf dude, Porter. While Bailey has Porter down as her arch nemesis, he has an electrifying effect on her, and she’s soon up to her neck in all kinds of conflict. I was a huge fan of the author’s Night Owls, and this confirms her talent for creating protagonists I’d love to meet in real life - outsiders set on pursuing their passions, young women (like Bailey) who scoot around on Vespas with leopard skin seats. With its cast of cool characters, oceans of authenticity, and a wow, pow, wallop of an ending, this YA riff on the ‘You’ve Got Mail’ movie is the perfect summer read. ~ Joanne Owen
Joanne Owen's Pick of the Year 2015 - August 2015 Debut of the Month A chance meeting between two teenagers on San Francisco’s night bus sparks one of the most luminously-drawn relationships in contemporary YA. When Beatrix (‘too weird for jocks and not weird enough for hipsters’) and Jack (‘all retro and rockabilly and cool’) encounter one another aboard the Owl bus, the attraction is immediate, and overwhelmingly powerful. Both are talented artists – Bex is obsessed with anatomy and wants to be a medical illustrator, while Jack is a street artist – and both are thrilled when they track one another down. It’s not long before Bex works out that enigmatic Jack is the notorious artist who’s wanted by the police for spray-painting the city's landmarks. But it turns out that this is the least of his secrets. As the couple spend more time together and fall in love, more of Jack's family secrets are revealed and Bex begins to wonder if she’ll ever know who he really is. But they’re in too deep and can’t not see one another, even when their parents forbid it. The truths bring the young couple even closer and they support one another through some incredibly poignant life landmarks. Ultra-cool, utterly unique and ideal for mature readers who are on the brink of adulthood, Night Owls is a gloriously life-affirming novel about falling in love, family love, growing up and daring to be who you are. ~ Joanne Owen Jane Griffiths, Senior Commissioning Editor said 'Night Owls has cast a spell over the whole Simon & Schuster Children's team. It's totally unique, unforgettably poignant, and we couldn't be more excited to be publishing it.'
From award-winning Jenn Bennett comes a swoon-worthy story with a compelling mystery at its heart 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, realize that the most confounding mystery of all may just be her growing feelings for Daniel.
RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance Feeling alive is always worth the risk... Meeting Jack on the Owl - San Francisco's night bus - turns Beatrix's world upside down. Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco's most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight rides and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who this enigmatic boy really is. But Jack is hiding much more - and can she uncover the truth that leaves him so wounded? A unique and profoundly moving novel, Night Owls will linger in your memory long after the final page.Praise for Night Owls Take a contemporary San Francisco, add an undertone of classic Romeo and Juliet, some grit and viscera, and this story of two remarkable teens is the result...A thought-provoking exploration of art as an expression of love and pain. Kirkus Reviews An appealingly realistic romance that will curl toes and inspire sighs. School Library Journal Artsy, cool and everything you want a San Francisco adventure to be. Get ready to be swept away. Maximum Pop Fans of contemporary YA are sure to be won over with this compelling read. Buzzfeed Fresh, original, touching, addictive, beautiful, and crammed cover to cover with the white-hot intensity of first love. Ann Aguirre, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of the Razorland trilogy If we could order up our dream young adult love story, it would look very much like Night Owls. -iBooks' Editors (one of iBooks UK Best Books of the Month for August 2015, iBooks US Best Books of the Month November 2015)
From Jenn Bennett, author of Night Owls and Alex, Approximately comes a sizzling, starry romance, perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and John Green 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. Praise for Night Owls: 'If you like Rainbow Rowell, Jandy Nelson and John Green, then you are going to want to check out Jenn Bennett's brand new book' - Sugarscape 'Night Owls is artsy, cool and everything you want a San Francisco adventure to be. Get ready to be swept away' - Maximum Pop 'A sweet, romantic read that will make your heart soar!' - The Bookette 'This is one of the best books I've read for a very long time' - Bookbag
Life is a whole lot messier than the movies... Bailey Rydell has found the boy of her dreams. They share a love of films and talk all day - Alex is perfect. The only problem? They haven't actually met... When Bailey moves to sunny California to live with her dad, who happens to live in the same town as Alex, she decides to track him down. But finding someone based on online conversations alone proves harder than Bailey thought, and with her irritating but charismatic (and potentially attractive?) colleague Porter Roth distracting her at every turn, will she ever get to meet the mysterious Alex? One of MTV UK's 35 hottest YA Beach Reads for Summer 2017 An irresistible tribute to classic screwball-comedy romances that captures the delicious whirling, twirling, buzzing of falling in love. - Kirkus, Starred Review If you like Rainbow Rowell, Jandy Nelson and John Green, then you are going to want to check out Jenn Bennett. - Sugarscape A charming read, and uplifting story and a Hollywood ending worth staying up for - Culturefly A modern-day YA reminiscent of You've Got Mail, Alex, Approximately, is a story of summer, first love, and hidden identity.