Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder made my heart squeeze with happiness

The Museum of HeartbreakTitle: The Museum of Heartbreak
Series: N/A
Author: Meg Leder
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: June 7th 2016, Scholastic
Pages: 256 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you so much to Scholastic for sending me this book to review! This has in no way affected my opinion of this book.
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. 


THIS BOOK MADE MY HEART SO HAPPY. Reading this book was like swallowing a dollop of magic and then finding yourself floating on clouds, dancing on rainbows and being filled with a giddy, dizzying kind of happiness. I started this book as soon as I finished my school work for the day and I read it in two sittings. I was swept up in this delightful story of first love, first heartbreak, shattered friendships and inevitable change. I loved this book. It was was funny, it was heartbreaking, it dealt with the tribulations of growing up and growing apart. It had a quirky, adorable main character, a charming, swoonworthy love interest and a unique concept that I utterly loved. I felt the full spectrum of emotions flashing through me, from anger, happiness, sadness, frustration and elation...this book made me feel everything, reducing me to tears one minute and laughter the next. It was a truly magical book that I was more than willing to lose myself in.

The thing that initially intrigued me about this book was the concept of a girl creating her own miniature museum that holds her own personal collection of items relating to the heartbreak she's suffered. I've never come across that in books/media before and I just found it such a fascinating concept and I loved how it came into the play in the book. However, that wasn't the only thing I loved - far from it.

I LOVED the characters as well! Penelope is a sixteen year old girl who is shy, bookish and has never been in love, she's innocent and naive and hasn't experienced a lot of the things that most teens her age have, hence she seems younger than sixteen which may annoy some readers but I found her character quite endearing. She doesn't like straying far from her comfort zone and she's more than happy to remain in her social triangle composed of her, Ephraim and Audrey and never venture from the security they provide. I adored Penelope. Penelope is me and I am Penelope. It was so refreshing and somewhat reassuring to read about a main character who is awkward when talking to guys, who's never been in a relationship, who doesn't like straying from the familiar and who is introverted and somewhat nerdy and not ashamed of it. 

I saw myself in Pen and I just related to her so much and I have no doubt that if she wasn't fictional, or, perhaps if I was, we would be the best of friends. BUT, despite her insecurities and fears, she still plucked up the courage to venture into the uncharted territory of socialising and falling in love and I must say, that had a profound effect on me and gave me the courage - despite my anxiety and fear of unfamiliarity - to attempt new things because something true and beautiful might come out of it.


Then there was Audrey, Pen's best friend. Her bosom friend who shares the same love for Anne of Green Gables and Gilbert Blythe as Pen does (SAME. Still one of my favourite books and Gilbert....MY HEART), the best friend who has been by her side since third grade and always been there for her. However much I tried to like Audrey, I just couldn't really warm to her. I liked her at times but there were several times where I just found myself quite frustrated with her. She's also best friends with Cherisse who just happens to be one of Penelope's enemies and Cherisse is not a nice person. Especially towards the end and I just couldn't quite understand how Audrey could still be best friends with Cherisse after what she'd done to Penelope. But maybe that's just me? 

Another character featured in The Museum of Heartbreak was Keats. UGH, Keats. At first he seems like an interesting, potentially lovable character with his grey eyes and his bookcases and his reading and his poetry but ugh, Keats. I will say no more but just be prepared to experience the sensation of wanting to smack a hardback of Lady Midnight against his head. 

NOW FOR MY FAVOURITE PRECIOUS PEANUT, Ephraim. Even now just thinking about him I get all giddy and fluttery - I FREAKING LOVED EPH. Him and Pen have been best friends since first grade, bonding over their love of dinosaurs and museums. I love Eph and how he would mercilessly tease Pen but would fiercely protect her if someone else did the same, how despite his teasing and purposefully annoying Pen, he cared about her so deeply and would do subtle, faint things in order to make sure she was happy and safe. I loved how he drew incredible pictures and read graphic novels and was always there for her and I JUST LOVE EPHRAIM SO MUCH AND I SHIP HIM AND PEN SO MUCH. I was basically a hyperventilating, squealing mess whenever him and Pen were in the same room together (my mom may be worried about my sanity now but whatevs). I seriously just love Ephraim so much, with his dinosaur drawings and knitted hats and loyalty and I JUST LOVE HIM SO MUCH.



I also liked the writing. I liked how it was basically written in stream of consciousness and all Pen's thoughts were laid bare for us to see which made me, as a reader, feel as if I was not only truly getting to know Pen but as if I were Pen.  

I loved the characters' quirks, I loved Ephraim, I LOVED the romance, I loved how this book dealt with the inevitable situation of falling in love, falling apart and rising like a phoenix from the ashes of cut ties and devastated hearts. I basically just loved everything about this book. I loved the banter, I loved the beginning, the middle and the end, this entire book made me feel so much and I felt as if The Museum of Heartbreak truly snatched me up and magically transported me to its world and I relished every second of it. 

Charming and adorable, The Museum of Heartbreak is undoubtedly one of the cutest, quirkiest contemporaries I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!

 - Slight swearing (a couple of f-bombs thrown in. Although I love Ephraim, he does swear a tad too much but WE CAN'T HAVE EVERYTHING AND HE'S STILL 1000% ALL KINDS OF ADORABLE) 
Because just like a a hapless old dinosaur innocently eating leaves or gleefully munching on the bones of its prey, if you have a heart, you too can be flattened by the metaphoric meteor known as heartbreak.
Sometimes the sheer fact of simply knowing Ephraim O'Connor makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the whole Milky Way.
"I believe in meant to be...that when you find the right person, it's a little bit like opening the door to Narnia - it's all lampposts and snow and Turkish delight. It's meant to be." 
Books were home.
"You're [Eph] copping out," I said.How is being in more than one costume copping out? I'm actually so invested in this, I am in an infinite number of costumes. It's meta and crap."

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