This post is sponsored by Simon & Schuster UK.
Jenn Bennett’s ‘Starry Eyes’ is a friends-to-lovers story that mostly takes place in the middle of the woods — because what could be more romantic than that? Zorie, a level-headed girl who loves astronomy, finds herself stranded on a backpacking adventure with her ex-best-friend-turned-ex-lover, Lennon.
The second you hear the name ‘Lennon’, you start thinking music. ‘Starry Eyes’ has lots of fun pop culture references (Lennon’s moms like to quiz each other on obscure pop culture history, like which heavy metal star ate the head off a live bat). Lennon’s also a huge anime and manga fan, and his pet lizard’s name is Ryuk!
Here’s a playlist curated by the author herself, Jenn Bennett, that captures some of the pop culture references and plot elements in ‘Starry Eyes’:
‘Crazy Train’ by Ozzy Osbourne
At the beginning of the book, Lennon’s parents are playing a music game and confusing Ozzy Osbourne with Alice Cooper.
‘American Idiot’ by Green Day
Lennon’s dad, a drummer for a 1990s California punk band, once toured with Green Day.
‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac (snippet of first chapter)
Zorie’s crush, Brett, is obsessed with American beat poet writer, Jack Kerouac.
‘Stargazing’ by Kygo ft Justin Jesso
Zorie is a budding astronomer, loves stars, and wants to be an astrophysicist.
‘California Dreamin’ by The Mamas and the Papas
The book takes place in the California Bay Area, in a fictional town based on Berkeley, and in the California Sierra Mountains.
‘DNA’ by BTS
Zorie’s step-mother is Korean-American, and they’ve watched a lot of K-Dramas together.
‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ by Monty Python
After Zorie and Lennon get lost in the wilderness, Lennon tries to lighten the mood with a quote from this British comedy series.
‘The World’ by Nightmare (Death Note theme song)
Lennon is obsessed with Japanese horror manga and anime; his pet lizard is named after a character in Death Note.
‘Instant Karma!’ by John Lennon
Lennon was named after the Beatles’ singer.