Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Books I've Read: The Museum of Heartbreak

I wasn't expecting this book to be as delightful as it is.  The cover is adorable, and the book between it is just as good.

Penelope Marx is a New Yorker and this book is almost as much a love letter to the city as it is a story about Penelope's relationship attempts and failures.   It's also a story about friendship and how friendships grow and change as we grow up, sometimes even changing into something else entirely.

Each chapter begins with an object, usually something Penelope finds or is given.  At the end of the book, these are the exhibits in her museum of heartbreak - a trail of artifacts that mark the success and failure of her relationships with two boys.

First there's Keats.  Dashing, charming and handsome, he's Penelope's dream guy.  But he'd never speak to someone like her.  So when he does, Penelope's world begins spinning off its axis.  It's not long before she believes she's head over heels in love.  Just, why doesn't she enjoy being with Keats as much as she does with her best friends Audrey and Eph?

Then there's Eph.  Penelope's best friend since childhood, the son of her father's partner in the dinosaur department of the museum.  Talented, funny and fun to be with, Eph is suddenly acting in all kinds of confusing ways.  Yet somehow, he's always exactly where Penelope needs him to be.

Over the course of a year, Penelope navigates her feeling for these two boys, the fracturing of her friendship with Audrey and breaks out and finds new friends who share her interest in writing when she joins the staff of the school's literary magazine.

I read this book in a single day because I enjoyed it so much.  There's nothing very deep or challenging in it, but Penelope is a funny and charming protagonist - awkward, a little geeky, and a lot of fun to spend a few hours with.

But don't just take my word for it.  Here's the blurb:

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.


  1. It's good when a book lives up to its cover. It does look very cute.

  2. Definitely sounds intriguing. Sigh. My TBR stack is getting higher and higher, but this one could end up there. Thanks for the review.