Sunday, January 6, 2013

Novel Review: Me, Penelope by Lisa Jahn-Clough

Genre: YA Contemporary (Romance)
Rating (Out of 5): ~2-2.5
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Spoilers?: Minor?

Goodreads Synopsis:

Penelope Yeager is like a lot of sixteen-year-olds—she wants more independence from her crazy mother; she wants to get her driver’s license; and she wants to get out of high school, away from her town. More than anything, Lopi wants to find someone to really connect with, someone to love—but short of that, she wants to have sex. She’s already figured out how to graduate a year early, but the rest isn’t so easy. For one thing, her mother, Vivian, isn’t just crazy: she’s young, vivacious, and beautiful. No one can resist Viv’s charms, but Lopi knows it’s all just an act. Viv is only pretending to be happy, trying to ignore Lopi and the horrible accident that changed everything between them. Lopi tries to pretend too, as she navigates the murky waters of sex and love and growing up, but she can’t fool herself—Lopi has a secret that sets her apart: the accident was her fault, she is evil . . .

Available on Amazon.


I did not enjoy this book much at all. At several points, I would have happily stopped reading, but because I don’t like leaving anything unfinished, especially when the book is so short, I finished it.
I did not like Penelope, also known as Lopi. When the book first started, I thought that it would be a bit charming, that her whole wanting to find someone special and have sex with someone and her understanding that those things did not have to be with the same person, would make me like her. And that thinking last for, probably, a couple of chapters. And then I found that, actually, I did not like her.
First off, I understand her not liking her mother, what with how her mother is always trying to be fun and ignoring all the important stuff, like how her daughter needs some help. But beyond that, she loses all my sympathy. She’s a jerk to her mother, even when she doesn’t need to be, she’s a jerk to her only actual friend, Toad, and she’s constantly pushing herself at all these men that are not realistic for her. Plus, there’s the fact that, near the beginning of the book, which is only stated, like, once, she said that the person she has sex with and the person she loves don’t have to be the same person, and then she’s constantly trying to find those two things in one person. That doesn’t match up, if you ask me.
Now, Toad. I liked Toad; he was sweet and always there for her, even when I didn’t understand why, because she was a total dick to him. I didn’t love Toad, didn’t personally feel too much for him, really, but he was sweet and I understood that she was going to end up with him. But she was such a jerk to him, all the time, and he sometimes sulked a bit but was always there for her. I didn’t understand why he just took it and always came back. Particularly after they’d had a fight, and she got depressed about something else, but he showed up at her house to cheer her up. Why would he do that? She didn’t deserve it. He should have been at least a little mad.
At the end of the book, I guess Lopi got a bit better, but I just have a hard time forgiving her, or getting over, all the things she did at the beginning. The ending was good, and how she acted and what happened with Toad and with her mother makes me bump the rating up maybe half a star, but I just have a hard time really liking her.
I wouldn’t say that this book was painful to read, but I really didn’t enjoy it.

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