Release Date: June 7th 2016
Buy The Book: Book Depository
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.
We’re always given contemporary stories that show the protagonist finally getting that cute person they’ve been crushing on. But what happens when you get your crush, and they’re not what you built them up to be in your head? That’s exactly the issue Penelope is faced with in The Museum of Heartbreak.
Penelope meets new guy Keats and is immediately attracted to him. After going to his party and surprisingly managing to connect with him, the pair start to date. However, Penelope’s relationships with her best friends are changing drastically. There’s Ephraim, who she’s known since she was little, who’s been her closest friend since then, who’s now started acting strange when he’s with her, complicating her feelings. And then there’s Audrey, who’s increasingly becoming closer friends with Cherisse, Penelope’s archenemies and Keats’ childhood friend.
The plot of this story is featured around Penelope collecting items that have brought her to where she is in her life now, to form what becomes her own Museum. At the start of each chapter, there is a cute little sketch of the item and a bit of information about it. I really enjoyed the way the story was built upon this idea and these items.
So the characters in this book, I love them. A lot. We’re treated to a range of different personalities that collide in the best possible way throughout the story. Penelope herself is full of wit, and her narration of the story had me giggling a lot. She has been best friends with Ephraim and Audrey for a long time, but as their social trio begins to change, we get to see her meet new friends. Grace and Miles are different to the others, but Penelope feels instantly drawn to them and I adored watching their friendship develop. The two of them made a fantastic addition to the story!
We also get to see how Penelope grows and develops over the course of the story. We witness her realisations with her and can’t help but root for her to find the happiness she deserves. The changing of her relationship with Ephraim is believable and filled with emotion, and even though us readers can see what is happening between them, Penelope is blind to it for a while, so it’s great when she finally starts to see that their friendship could be more.
I also thought her friendship with Audrey was an important one, showing that yes, we change and drift apart from friends we were once inseparable with, but that’s okay. What matters is making the most out of the here and now, and it was touching to see Penelope and Audrey work that out together.
The story has great pacing throughout and there was never a dull moment. The way the writing demonstrates the changing of relationships at a crucial time in a young person’s life is honest and relatable. Not to mention there’s some brilliant humour and well-built chemistry between the characters. I utterly adored visiting Penelope’s very own Museum of Heartbreak!
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