Through to You
By Lauren Barnholdt
Published July 8th, 2014
Young Adult | Contemporary Romance
Source: received from Simon Pulse in exchange for an unbiased review (Thank You!)
About the book:
Opposites attract—and then complicate—in this romantic, relatable novel from the author of Two-Way Street and Sometimes It Happens.
It starts with a scribbled note in class: I like your sparkle. Harper had casually threaded a piece of blue and silver tinsel through her ponytail in honor of school spirit day. And that carefree, corny gesture is what grabs Penn Mattingly’s eye. Penn—resident heartbreaker of the senior class. Reliably unreliable. Trouble with a capital “T.” And okay, smolderingly sexy.
Harper’s surprised by Penn’s attention—and so is Penn. The last thing he needs is a girlfriend. Or even a friend-with-benefits. The note is not supposed to lead to anything.
Oh, but it does. They hang out. They have fun. They talk. They make out. And after a while, it seems like they just click. But Penn and Harper have very different ideas about what relationships look like, in no small part because of their very different family backgrounds. Of course they could talk about these differences—if Penn knew how to talk about feelings.
Harper and Penn understand their attraction is illogical, yet something keeps pulling them together. It’s like a crazy roller coaster—exhilarating, terrifying, and amazing all at once. And neither knows how to stop the ride…
I’ve never read anything by Lauren Barnholdt before. I didn’t even know she wrote anything before! It was only after reading a few reviews and seeing the covers of the other books that I realized, “Oh… those books…”
I didn’t care what she wrote before or what Ms. Barnholdt is going to write, I had an urgent, desperate need for this story. I had just finished a book that literally left my mind reeling, my soul shredded, and that little book-organ inside my body hungry for do-over, STAT! So I grabbed the closest YA romance and devoured.
Story / Tempo
My poor brain cells were immediately soothed with a cute literary device to open the story – a bit of foreshadowing to taunt and tease the reader. I liked it! Had me flipping back to the beginning frequently 😉
But now I needed my “comfort food” – the romance! And I got it in this short and sweet tale of boy who really needs to be smacked in the head to realize that he has to change or he’ll never be happy or get what he wants.
Penn Mattingly doesn’t want a girlfriend but he finds that he wants to be around this girl, Harper. He can’t help himself, but at the same time, he doesn’t want a girlfriend. Trust me, he has his reasons and I think they’re pretty valid. Not entirely necessary, but valid all the same. Wow… starting to live in the book world and I’m validating a character’s feelings… moving on!
The other half of the equation, Harper, is an interesting, slightly quirky girl who is studying to be a choreographer. She’s pretty strong willed but at the same time awed that the cute guy is noticing her. I really liked that she stood up to Penn when she had to.
For some reason, I didn’t fully connect with Harper, though. So maybe if you’re like me and you’re looking to “connect” with Harper, you may be disappointed. Despite being told in alternating point of views, I really think this story is supposed to be all about Penn. Although, you do get the romance from Harper’s side so there is that *swoon*. But I honestly never really connected with Harper and I think that was on purpose.
Of all the supporting characters, Jackson was by far my favorite. I crushed hard on him! At first I didn’t know what to make of him but by the end, I understood him for who he was to Penn. 😉
Harper’s best friend Anna and her friend Nico seemed kind of superfluous but every girl needs her best friend. I just wasn’t so keen on Anna and Nico’s side storyline. It was “meh”.
Completely suitable for the young adult audience, this short, mildly mind-taxing story served it’s purpose and restored functionality to my book-organ. I was smiling at the perfectly timed ending. I do kind of wish there was an epilogue. I have this other organ in my body called the closure organ that just craves for more and more of the story. It’ll never get enough of it’s fill.