Thursday, July 21, 2011

Me, Penelope by Lisa Jahn-Clough

Title: Me, Penelope
Author: Lisa Jahn-Clough
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Release Date: April 23, 2007
Date Read: July 11, 2011
Rating: 2/5 stars 

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 . . .
Unfortunately I left writing this review until a few days after I'd finished reading it and no matter how many times I read the summary or my review notes, I couldn't for the life of me remembering reading this. Memorable? I think not. I feel like in all of my "under 3 star" reviews I always comment on the same things. A lack of creative characters, an unoriginal plot, and something literary that I didn't particularly like. 

Once again I beg authors to think about their parental characters. Not every parent is irresponsible, flimsy, rude, self-centered, or ignorant of the main character. It's very typical in YA books for grieving parents to completely disregard parenting their other children and just wallow in self pity for years. While this is a legitimate and realistic reaction to a child's death, it's boring to read over and over again. It would be awesome to have a strong, reflective parent or perhaps even a family that discusses events before the climax of the book? 

I found it very intriguing that Lisa Jahn-Clough chose to have a very sexually-driven plot and main character. Often in YA literature the protagonist is a virgin wary of sex. Instead Penelope is eager to "get it over with" and feels left out that all of her friends and classmates have already had sex. While her perception is obviously biased based on her own virginity and her friends' sexual lives, I'm glad that it was finally expressed that protagonists can be eager to have sex without being sluts or whores. Wanting to have sexually experiences can be liberating, and even if it's illegal at 16, there's nothing wrong with exploring those feelings and emotions,

Recommended: Leap (Jodi Lundgren), The Freak Observer (Blythe Woolston), Forever (Judy Blume)


  1. Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy this one! I've read quite a few books that weren't very memorable.:/ Thanks for sharing your honest review on this book!

  2. I don't think this is a book for me based on the content, but I like the honesty of your review - very powerful. :)

  3. Hmm, that's definitely not a good thing that you forgot reading this a few days afterwards. Thanks for the honest review!


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