Sometimes you come across one special person who gives you a whole new perspective on life - central characters Jack and Beatrix do that for one another in ‘Night Owls’, a delightfully pleasurable read.
Jack in particular is a complex character. Responsible for graffiti artwork popping up all over town for which he is wanted by the police, at first he comes across as confident, ballsy and outgoing - but it is only as the story develops that he reveals his softer, calmer and more shy side. There's a distinct realness to him Bennett brings out in her writing - I have two brothers and found myself noting aspects of Jack in both of them, despite the fact we haven't seen each other for a while.
As for Beatrix, the arty, rather quiet and reserved dreamer who is desperate to find her path in life via her drawings, her world is turned upside down when she meets Jack on the San Francisco night bus known as the Owl.
By combining family dramas (hospitalised family members, divorced parents and work-mad dads) there is a lot for readers to identify with throughout the pages of this book, but most of all, the one point they are likely to take away from it is that, regardless of what others might think, it's okay to be labelled a 'screw-up' or be told you're different. In today's society and image obsessed world, I found that really refreshing.
The tag-line to ‘Night Owls’: "Feeling alive is always worth the risk" would 1. make for a great tattoo and 2. serves as a reminder to everyone who reads this that life is for living, not just trudging your way through, and so it encourages people to do makes them feel happy and what gives them a thrill, noting that you'll never know what or who might come out of it unless you do it.
It's been some time since I've read a young-adult book, but on the back of this, which I will be recommending to everyone, I can't wait to delve into more and I look forward to Bennett's next piece of work.