by Meg Leder
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (June 7, 2016)
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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.I would like to devour this book so it could always be a part of me. So strange, I know! But this story was so amazing that I want it to permanently be a part of me so I won't forget! The main characters Penelope (Pen), Ephraim (Eph), Audrey, Keats and Cherisse are all well written. And seriously, those are their names!! All of Leder's characters are highly intelligent without being pretentious, which I loved. Plus a wide variety of literary references, carried throughout, are a lovely treat for avid readers!
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…
Written in first person through Pen's point of view, as readers, we watch in admiration as her perceptions of life change. The main character is a strong, smart, young woman who realizes that people and things shape us. Pen figures out that we are always evolving, so try to allow the bad to shape you just as much as the good (wish this book had been around when I was a teenager, could have saved me a ton of tears!).
The story begins with present day heartbreak. Pen is devastated by her first heartbreak at age seventeen, so she decides to start her own museum of heartbreak. Regularly, she keeps a memento from someone that she loves and documents its meaning. These items have more importance in her life than she realized. The bulk of the story has Pen reflecting on the months leading up to her big heartbreak. Pen is one of a trio of friends; herself, Audrey and Eph (a boy). She is smart, passionately loves words and not into conformity.
Eph has been Pen's sidekick/best friend since they were 6 years old. Together they love words, dinosaurs, comics, and one another. He is also not a conformist but an amazing artist.
Audrey came into the picture in 3rd grade and together they made three. These friends grew up together, they know and deeply care for one another. The story delicately navigates changes in friendship, growing up, and trying to love and learn from it all.
The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder had me laughing out loud, crying and reading at every spare moment. I read this story in one day but was inside Penelope Marx's head for a few months and loved every minute of her amazing evolution. This is a "must read again" on my list.