Penelope Marx has never been kissed. She loves her family and her friends. She dreams of dinosaurs fleeing New York City. She longs for the day she will fall in love. She has no idea how many forms heartbreak can take for one girl.
Penelope’s best friend Audrey is more interested in hanging out with Cherisse–a girl whose sole purpose in life seems to be making Penelope miserable. Keats, the beautiful new boy in school, is absolutely perfect and painfully unattainable–at least at first. Then there’s Eph, Penelope’s other best friend, a boy who is either frustratingly endearing or endearingly frustrating. Pen is never quite sure.
In a year filled with changes and heartbreaks both small and large, Penelope will have to figure out how to move forward–especially when she knows exactly how fragile a heart can be in The Museum of Heartbreak (2016) by Meg Leder.
The Museum of Heartbreak is a charming debut with a sincere and authentic heroine at its core. Nothing goes quite as expected for Penelope during her junior year of high school, forcing her to admit that sometimes change can be not only healthy but necessary.
Although she and her friends are privileged children of wealthy parents (Penelope’s family lives in a brownstone near her father’s job at the Museum of Natural History–a status mirrored by Audrey, Eph, and most of the students at their private school), Pen’s New York is still a glaringly authentic one from grimy thrift shop experiences to being yelled at on the subway platform.
Despite these moments of reality, The Museum of Heartbreak still maintains a strong sense of wonder and appreciation for the unique opportunities and experiences to be found in New York City.
Penelope is an introspective and authentic heroine who will appeal to fans of Jenny Han’s Lara Jean series. Like Lara Jean, Penelope wants to grow up and fall in love, but she also likes hanging out at home with her friends and chatting with her parents. While straddling the awkward space between childhood and adulthood–a transition that leaves her feeling unsettled and ill-prepared for whatever is supposed to come next–Penelope tries to make sense of her changing perceptions of her parents and closest her friends.
The Museum of Heartbreak is a story of first loves and second chances filled with characters who sometimes stumble even as they learn to try again. The Museum of Heartbreak is a story about stepping away from what’s comfortable and finding something even better. Highly recommended.
Possible Pairings: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira; Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett; Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake; Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum; So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti; Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg; To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han; The Truth Commission by Susan Juby; Everywhere You Want to Be by Christina June; It Sounded Better In My Head by Nina Kenwood; Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella; The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen; The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart; The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord; Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta; Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills; The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson; The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood; This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales; Bookish Boyfriends: A Date With Darcy by Tiffany Schmidt; Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith; P. S. I Like You by Kasie West; The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
*An advance copy of this title was acquired from the publisher for review consideration*