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…
My name’s Lauren. I’m the author of books for teens and tweens, including TWO-WAY STREET, THE SECRET IDENTITY OF DEVON DELANEY, and FOUR TRUTHS AND A LIE. Feel free to friend me, leave a comment, or check out my website
Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is only my second Lauren Barnholdt book and I thoroughly enjoyed my first… I may have gone in with my expectations a bit high though. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like this book… on the contrary. I enjoyed it for the most part, I just didn’t love it.
We start at the end with this story, and we know that Harper has had her heart broken and that she completely blames Penn but what we don’t know is the why or the build up to that. And that story starts with a simple note “I like your sparkle” dropped on Harper’s desk by none other than Penn.
Did I mention that Penn is the resident Senior class heartbreaker – he’s most definitely NOT looking for a girlfriend but he finds that he’s a bit intrigued by Harper and he can’t resist pursuing her. And Harper is most definitely NOT looking for a boyfriend like Penn. But that doesn’t keep them from hanging out and getting to know a little bit about each other and hanging out eventually leads to making out… and then well… they’re both in a spot that neither expected.
Here’s why I struggled with this story… First and foremost, I went in kind of thinking this was going to be a lighthearted, sweet, summer romance. And while there was a bit of romance, it just wasn’t all that light-hearted or sweet. Don’t get me wrong… there were some moments But that wasn’t all… I just couldn’t click with the characters. Harper for as smart and strong as she is continually forgives this bad-boy behavior, brushing it off and putting it in the past. I’m a strong believer in forgiveness, but there comes a point when you just have to say enough and realize that people aren’t going to change for you. By the time it mattered, I was well past being a fan of Penn. Which brings me to his issues. I get it. He’s a teen boy. He doesn’t open up about his feelings and he doesn’t communicate well. But some of the things that happened between them… again, I just found I wasn’t really cheering for them when it mattered.
All that said, I will admit this… I really enjoyed the end, and while I didn’t really find myself emotionally attached to any of these characters, they were well-developed and the story was paced well. In fact, it was a pretty quick read for me with nothing too angsty or heavy to weigh the story down.
If you’re a fan of contemporary and like a majorly flawed character, definitely check this one out for yourself! I’ll be waiting for the next from Lauren Barnholdt while you do!
Thank you to Simon Pulse for the advance copy in exchange for my honest thoughts