About the Book

Title: Starry Nights
Published: 2013
Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Cover Story: Un Livre avec les Bisous, Mais J’adore
BFF Charm: Let Me Love You
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: C’est Daisy Whitney
Bonus Factors: Art, Museums, Paris
Relationship Status: Favourite Museum Guide

Cover Story: Un Livre avec les Bisous, Mais J’adore

I don’t know if y’all have noticed — though when you read this book, everyone around you certainly will — but this is a kissing book and it takes place in Paris. Despite looking suuuuper chick lit-y (even though it’s not actually chick lit), I kind of love this cover, cheesy heart and all.

The Deal:

For seventeen-year-old Julien Garnier, the Musée d’Orsay is practically his second home: he leads tours there, and he has all-hours access. But Julien’s Ben Stillers, i.e. nights at the museum start getting a little strange when a peach falls out of a Cézanne. (OK, a lot strange.) And this phenomenon isn’t just limited to fruit, either: cats, ballerinas — and a beautiful girl named Clio.

But while some paintings are coming to life, others are, well, dying. They’re fading away, and it’s not the kind of damage that a restorer can fix. And it’s up to Julien and Clio to save the world’s greatest art.

BFF Charm: Let Me Love You

BFF charm with teary eyes hugging a heart

Julien knows all the cool hangouts in Paris, so obvs I’d want to be his friend! He’s also fluent in English — and he does flawless accents, too — which would come in handy, since the only French I use on a regular basis anymore is macaron or poutine. Plus, Julien has great taste in friends, like the carefree Simon and the eccentric Bonheur.

However, Julien’s also pretty down on himself. He’s nursing a broken heart, he’s struggling at school, and he’s feeling like he sucks as an artist, too. Julien’s so tough on himself; he’s in serious need of hearing that he’s good enough, he’s smart enough, and doggone it — people like him!

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Renoir’s much sought after (and fictious) The Girl in the Garden arrives at the Musée d’Orsay, and as does the girl in the garden herself, Clio. And y’all, it took me a while to warm up to this romance. I just couldn’t get over the whole ‘girl from a painting’ thing. Which is RIDONCK, since I have no trubs with vampires, ghosts or aliens. And yet people from paintings trip me up? Anyway.

Reservations aside, Julien and Clio are super cute together. They’re a bit too lovey-dovey for my liking, but they def. bring le swoon.

Talky Talk: C’est Daisy Whitney

There were only two things I knew before I picked up this book: 1) Daisy Whitney, and 2) Paris (and kissing). But really, the first reason was the only one I needed. Starry Nights is a departure from Whitney’s previous books, in both genre and style. Plus, author genre-hopping is like one of my favourite book things EVER, and Whitney is just as skillful with modern fantasy as she is with realistic fiction. She breathes magic into every page — and I’m not just talking about the fantasy element.

Bonus Factor: Art

Girl in art studio painting in a notepad

Julien’s love of art deserves a bonus factor all on its own. I’m always envious of people with that kind of passion, because I’m not sure if I feel like that with anything. (Though if last night’s tweets are any indication, my passion may very well be the music of my youth.)

Bonus Factor: Museums

Cover of From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, with two kids standing at the top of a staircase at the Met

Two words: MUSEUM MAGIC. And a few more: A lot of the story takes place inside the Musée d’Orsay, and I always love behind-the-scenes glimpses that the general public isn’t privy to. I blame-thank Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Bonus Factor: Paris

Skyline of Paris France with Eiffel Tower in back

Once again, Daisy Whitney proves that she’d be the ultimate travel buddy. I’ve never been to Paris; while I’d like to go some day, it’s actually pretty low on my wish list. But this book is great at convincing me that NEVER MIND, I WANT TO GO TO THERE.

And how much do I love that this is a book about a French protag set in France!? (Hint: A LOT.) I can learn about the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysée from everyone and anyone, but it’s the local experience that I find to be the most appealing.

Relationship Status: Favourite Museum Guide

You know how some people are so good at conveying their love of something, that they make you love it too? THAT. I could listen to its stories long after the tour ends. This book doesn’t need magic to make the paintings come to life; it does that all on its own with its words.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Bloomsbury. I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). Starry Nights will be available on September 3rd.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.