“An atmospheric, multilayered, sex-positive romance.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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 Birdie 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 the most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.
Set in Seattle, this romantic mystery stars 18-year-old Birdie Lindberg, a homeschooled teen with narcolepsy. Birdie is great at solving mysteries, except when it comes to matters of her own heart. She's spent the last month trying to avoid Daniel Aoki, with whom she had her first (and very awkward) sexual encounter. She's successful, until she begins working the graveyard shift at the historic Cascadia Hotel, where Daniel drives the hotel van. He wants to rehash what happened between them; Birdie just wants to forget. Still, she can't resist his invitation to help solve an intriguing puzzle about a local author who takes great pains to hide his identity in weekly visits to the hotel, and their sleuthing takes them all over the city. At the same time, Birdie tries to sort out her growing attraction to Daniel and control her increasingly erratic sleep patterns. The startling, somewhat contrived solution to the mystery leads into resolutions of Birdie's internal dilemmas perhaps too neatly. But Bennett (Starry Eyes) creates a cast of vibrant supporting characters, including Birdie's eccentric-artist mentor Aunt Mona and Daniel's mother, a former magician's assistant, and offers vivid descriptions of Seattle's landmarks along with nonstop suspense. Ages 14 up.