Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 6th, 2016
In this ode to all the things we gain and lose and gain again, seventeen-year-old Penelope Marx curates her own mini-museum to deal with all the heartbreaks of love, friendship, and growing up.
Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak.
Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.
Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.
But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken.
My Thoughts:After a slight break from reading YA contemporaries (I just wasn't in a mood!) I decided to pick up Meg Leder's upcoming novel The Museum of Heartbreak. My interest for this novel was mostly ignited by its awesome cover, and now that I have read it I am happy to say that the cover actually fits perfectly with the novel because all of the items pictured in it play a role in the story of Penelope (or just Pen), Eph, Audrey and Keats.
Pen is 17 (she is 16 at the beginning of the novel but turns 17 during it) and a junior in high school. She lives in New York (THE GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD.... 10 points if you get the reference), loves Jane Austen and drinking hot chocolate. She has two best friends, Audrey and Eph, and sees no reason for extending her social circle. Then Keats, a handsome new guy shows up and Pen starts majorly crushing on him. Once both Audrey and Eph start to seem busy to hang out, Pen tries to control her anxiety about changes - why do Audrey and Eph feel like something needs to change when she feels like things are just as they should be?
All and all Pen is a very likable character and one I was able to identify with. At points she feels very young (she is 16/17 so she is allowed to feel young!), but she also matures a lot during the novel, so 10 points for character development and growth! I was able to relate with her dislike of change because I am totally the same - I have had the same few friends ever since I was young and I always feel strange in situations when new people are inserted to our hangouts etc. I know I should be more open, but it just fights against my nature in so many ways.
Let me just begin by saying that Keats is a total A-hole! He does not read "lady novels", obsessed over Kerouc and generally acts like an idiot for most of the time. But I do think that he is necessary for the novel because through relations with him Pen learns more about herself and about the people that she has surrounded herself with. Eph, on the other hand, is pretty perfect and totally made my heart flutter. Aubrey is a character I did not get much out from, and there are some decisions that she made I couldn't really agree with! Cherisse is the standard "mean girl", which is a trope I am getting kind of tired of, but I guess she is necessary for the story as well. I just wish there were more novels where girls didn't fight with each other for a boy, because in very rare cases it is worth it.
I wished there would have been more glimpses into the family life of Pen because I think her parents, especially her father, seem really interesting! It seems like the older I get the more interested I get about learning something about the parents of YA characters. I also loved the scenes with Pen and her new friends and the process Pen goes through in finding something that she might want to do in the future.
Meg Leder writes well and the novel was a quick one to read. The Museum of Heartbreak made me both laugh and cry, and I think that is always a positive sign when it comes to young adult contemporary novels. There were a few things here that bothered me (the mean girl storyline, etc) but all and all I really enjoyed it.