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MP! Review: ‘Night Owls’ is artsy, cool and just out today


Jenn Bennett has broken into the YA scene in a big way. Likened to John Green, and described as more romantic than Rainbow Rowell, her debut YA novel ‘Night Owls’ could have been crushed under the pressure and expectation of such high praise, but instead, it seems to have taken flight.

Bennett invites readers into her San Francisco, humming with possibility and adventure, and spotted with gold spray-paint. The attention to setting is a real strength, with the streets of the city coming to life as Beatrix explores Buddhist bookstores, secret locations within popular parks, and late night bus routes.

The novel itself feels stylised, reading like a series of artsy snapshots: a rockabilly boy in the night, a sterile white room and a dead body, hot and heavy kisses as the sun rises over the city. You will feel yourself being swept away by ‘Night Owls’, and the images will drift in your mind for hours.

The romance between Jack and Beatrix starts up almost immediately, the two locking eyes across San Francisco’s night bus, and from there, develops with an honest dosage of ups and downs that will keep you turning pages. Despite being apparent opposites, Beatrix favouring precise medical drawings to Jack’s passion-fuelled graffiti, all their quirky pieces seem to slot together in the best way.

Artsy and cool, this is a YA novel not to be missed.

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Written by Laura Fulton

Book Channel Editor at MaxPop! Have a thing for the sea and pretty paperbacks. Saved by amazing grace.

Find out which songs Jenn Bennett has picked for her exclusive Night Owls playlist

Sunkissed: chat with hilarious author Jenny McLachlan tonight at 7.30pm