by Meg Leder
First sentence: “In her junior year of high school, Penelope Madeira Marx, age sixteen going on seventeen, experienced for the first time in her young life the devastating, lonely-making, ass-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.”
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Review copy provided by the publisher.
Content: Lots and lots of swearing. So much that it landed itself in the teen (grades 9+) section of the bookstore.
Penelope has been friends with Audrey and Eph for forever. They’ve been a trio, with traditions and in-jokes, and Penelope loves it that way. She loves the consistency, the predictability, the comfort of it all. Except, in their junior year, things aren’t right. Audrey has been going off with another girl, one who is mean to Penelope, and Eph is, well , increasingly distant. Things just aren’t the same.
The best thing about this book (well, aside from Pen and Eph; they’re both fantastic characters) is the format. Every chapter starts with an “artifact” from Pen’s friendship history. A sweatshirt, a piece of paper, a toy. A memory, a connection. It’s very much a book about things falling apart, about changes that are spiraling out of control. The format fit the theme of the book, which I found wonderfully delightful. (Even the douchebag characters who totally deserved everything.)
In fact, I found the whole thing delightful. A perfect summer read.