I love new and upcoming authors along with books that get big buzz from major media outlets.
Penelope is a perfect combination of both those loves.
I’ve had difficulty finding a book that satisfied my literary needs lately; I think I’m in an awkward stage where I’m too old for typical YA Novels but too young for full out adult novels like Barbara Taylor Bradford or James Patterson.
When I heard about Huffington Post writer Rebecca Harrington’s debut novel, Penelope, about a Harvard freshmen’s journey through her first year at the famous Ivy League school, I knew I found my new read.
It didn't have the Young Adult coming of age feel but it wasn't TOO mature for 20 somethings. It was right smack in the middle, perfect for someone like me.
Boy was I right!
Penelope is a quirky, almost socially awkward college freshmen who travels to Harvard with really what seems like no motivation to do well in school or make any friends.
She has a pushy mother who only wants the best for her daughter but can tell that Penelope is a little on the strange side.
Penelope’s journey to Harvard doesn’t start out well; she is placed in the “reject” dorms across the street from campus, separated from the other freshmen, where she doesn’t live with the ideal roommates.
The protagonist lives with Emma and Lan; Emma is a go getter, the typical college freshmen who takes too much on at once and needs to get everything done, perfectly. She’s preppy and bubbly and wants to be the big gal on campus.
Lan is basically a freak who is anti social and hates everything that comes with institutions. She does almost everything to push Penelope along with some of the other characters away. Lan wants no part of Harvard.
Penelope meets more people in the dorms, all of whom she gives nicknames like Glasses, too. Ted is amongst those people; a cute boy who is basically the male equilvanet of Penelope.
The fact that Ted is in love with Penelope is so obvious but she is so oblivious to it that it makes you feel bad for Ted.
Then there’s Catherine, another preppy go getter who actually befriends Penelope in an odd way.
This book is filled with an eclectic group of characters accompanied by a very simple, realistic story.
Even though you might’ve not had the experience that Penelope had during your freshmen year at college, you can relate to this book.
It’s a fun, witty, clever read; it’s kind of awkward and the things that the characters do and say will make you cringe sometimes but it is really wonderful.
Penelope is a quick, easy read and is truly written fabulously. Rebecca Harrington did some of the best writing I’ve ever seen in a debut novel, or any novel for that matter.
This was a really great book and definitely worth the read.