This book was featured on my blog as a Waiting on Wednesday pick a while back, because as soon as I had heard of it I had the feeling I knew it was going to be my new favorite contemporary romance. I was kind of impatient for this one, and I want to take the time to give a huge thanks to Simon & Schuster Children’s for sending a copy of it my way.
I essentially devoured this book in one sitting, because there was no way I could put it down for even a minute. I walked around the house with the book glued in front of my face (and yes, perhaps I stumbled into a door a few times in the process), and just kept reading. And reading. Until the very last page.
And what can I say now that I’ve finished it?
Dear Meg Leder – your new YA novel stole my heart and made me believe in love all over again.
The Museum of Heartbreak is perfect. In fact, it could also be called The Museum of Feels, or perhaps even The Museum of Such a Perfectly Written YA Debut that I’ll Sit Here and Impatiently Await More Heartfelt Novels from This Author. Well, okay, so that doesn’t have a very nice ring to it, but you get what I’m trying to say.
This is one of those cases that I closed the book after I had finished and instantly wanted to throw a copy at everyone I know who loves YA books. The Museum of Heartbreak charmed me from the very first page, and through the powerful yet sweet story, it made me feel such a complex range of emotions that include some I wasn’t even sure existed.
Alright, let’s move onto the book itself, shall we?
Penelope Marx has suffered a heartbreak on a few different levels. She suffered from the “my best friend has a new best friend” heartbreak. She suffered from the “my other best friend has other things going on” heartbreak. The guy that she has a major crush on played around with her heart, destroying her feelings and causing her a ton of pain, so her there’s that kind of heartbreak, as well. Penelope isn’t having the best year.
So what does she do? She collects small trinkets, notes, jewelry, and other items that mean something to her, or did at one time, and have brought her to the point in her life that she’s currently at. Each item in the “museum” is labeled with the name, information about it, and where she acquired it – such as a Santa figurine – a gift from her best friend Eph. Every chapter in the book features that item, how it came to be in her possession and what it means to her, all leading through the events that bring her to present day.
Penelope’s best friend, Audrey, seems to be getting distant – and it doesn’t help that one of the most popular girls in the school, Cherisse (who pretty much despises Penelope), seems to be replacing her in Audrey’s life. Since she feels left out, she starts spending more time with her other best friend Eph. Eph practically has girls falling all over him, and they do tend to get in the way of their friendship from time to time, which does make Penelope feel left out with him, too.
To top it all off, Penelope is crushing on the new boy in the class – Keats. Keats doesn’t seem like her type – in fact, Cherisse seems like she is staking her claim when it comes to him, so when Penelope receives an invitation to a party that Keats is throwing, she is over the moon. She is even more thrilled when the two of them have an actual conversation at the party, and start to meet up for dates. Cherisse isn’t too pleased by these developments, and because of it, the rift that seems to be forming between Penelope and Audrey is widening even more.
Now that Penelope is actually dating Keats, though, she is faced with a new dilemma – is he really everything that she had always dreamed of in a guy…or does she know for a fact that she deserves better?
I love how each chapter in this book starts off the way it does – introducing the object that will be added to Penelope’s “museum” and mentioning where it came from and what it means to her. That adds so much personality to the book and makes it unique.
As for characters…I absolutely loved Eph, and my love for his character only progressed as the book went on. The way his character and Penelope’s character were written were fantastic…their personalities really lit up the book and made it such an enjoyable read. Keats, however, was just a butt, and I honestly found myself wondering what Penelope sees in him.
As for how this book made me feel while I was reading…and especially at the end? Oh my goodness, it’s been a really long time since I’ve had so many different emotions come out over the course of one book. But this is definitely the kind of book that will make you feel Penelope’s heartbreak and happiness right along with her, and I loved every second of it. It not only gave me the happy “warm and fuzzy feelings” kind of feelings, but it did make me cry once or twice (okay well the second time was because I was so incredibly happy with what was going on, I couldn’t contain those warm and fuzzy feelings anymore).
Definitely read this book! It’s an amazing summer read! It isn’t all that long, either, so it would be perfect for a nice rainy day when you’re stuck at home (or a nice day at the beach, or a camping trip…you get the idea). If you love YA romances, don’t miss this!