Saturday, May 28, 2016

the museum of heartbreak: stardust arc reviews

The Museum of Heartbreak
by Meg Leder

release date: June 7



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.

full review under the cut!

 thanks to netgalley and simon & schuster for providing a copy of this book to me :)

The Museum of Heartbreak was truly something delightful. I absolutely loved living in Penelope's world. This book is essentially about the little heartbreaks that happen to you while you're growing up. From romantic relationships changing, ending, or never starting at all, to friendships that hit bumps and snags and never regain a former rhythm, to parents and adults who let you down. All of this is taken, put in a blender and poured over the pages of this book. And let me just tell you: it worked. I felt immediately in sync with Pen and her personality, from her love of reading to her anxieties and worries. I just loved being in her mind. She's quirky and dorky and definitely not perfect, but she is so lovable and earnest and endearing. It was because of her voice that I basically couldn't put this book down. 

Penelope is sixteen/seventeen in this novel, and thinking back to that time in my life, this book really hit home. I think it's a time where you're trying so hard to figure yourself out, and sometimes it can seem like nothing is going your way. Friends who you've known forever are suddenly different, seeming to leave you behind, you feel out of place in your own skin, and everyone seems to be "falling in love" with someone new every other week. Frankly, I remember it being more exhausting than anything, and Pen's voice captures that, along with her trademark hopefulness. Because, while Pen is super relatable, she is also a bright ray of sunshine who wants to believe in goodness and fairy tales, and I loved that about her. 

Pen has two important people in her life at the beginning of this novel: her two best friends, Audrey, who has grown distant since befriending a classic mean girl type named Cherisse, and Eph, short for Ephraim, who is a handsome and infuriating artist. Throughout the book, Pen's relationships with these two change, due to shifting dynamics and outside forces. It's really tough to read, Pen dealing with the reality that friendships don't stay the same forever, and my heart went out to her. Even when she was being a little bit ridiculous, I was still 100% on her side, because she is just so earnest and means well. I really really loved Eph, he was so cute and sweet to Pen, always willing to help her. I thought it was so obvious that he liked her from the very beginning, and there is a certain scene in a thrift shop that just cemented that whole thing for me. I loved the way Pen and Eph's story ended, though I won't give anything away now :) As for Audrey, I thought that she was kind of the worst. I mean, her so called "best friend" Cherisse was blatantly horrible to Penelope, who Audrey had known since grade school, and also ended up being a homewrecker, but Audrey still kind of blew Pen off in the end. I personally disliked her, and I was glad that she wasn't in the action that much. 

Two people who I did love were Grace and Miles, and the whole idea of the literary magazine. Basically, Pen meets Grace and Miles, who are besties, randomly at a school carnival. She immediately clicks with them and joins them in working on the school literary magazine, called nevermore. I loved Grace, with her perpetual happiness, and Miles, with his snark but also his belief in true love. They were super fun characters to read, and I loved seeing Pen widen her horizons a little bit and find true friendship in these two. 

Pen's "love interest," Keats, was also the living worst, though I won't say too much about him. Let me just say that, at one point, he explains that "chick writers" are not for him, all the while waxing poetic about the merits of Kerouac. Ick. 

I loved the story in this book, how Pen struggles but ultimately finds that she has strength and love and hope inside her, and all of these things should be cherished. I love that she grew up so much in this book, but still didn't lose her spark. I loved how cute her parents were. I loved the theme of dinosaurs that ran through this whole book. And mostly, I loved how this is a story of heartbreak, but it isn't sad. :) 



  1. Great review! I couldn't agree more, I love that through everything Pen didn't lose her spark :)

    Patty @ BookishWanderlove

    1. thanks patty! I know, Pen was such a vibrant character :)


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