Me, Penelope

Lisa Jahn-Clough, Author . Houghton $16 (208p) ISBN 978-0-618-77366-4

M any teenagers obsess about sex and Penelope (Lopi) Yeager, the 16-year-old girl at the center of Jahn-Clough's (Country Girl, City Girl ) latest novel, is certainly among them. Having grown up with her young, single mother Viv's revolving door of boyfriends, Lopi isn't exactly surprised by her own one-track mind (“I am so seriously screwed up. Never happy, never satisfied. Never alone, never together. I want so much”). Additionally, Lopi is burdened by her younger brother's death: her parents mistakenly ran over him when she was six years old, and she still believes it was her fault they divorced. Viv's current love interest is Josh; he's 14 years her junior and has all but moved in, making Lopi feel even more out of place. To hasten her independence, she strives to graduate high school a year early and leave her mother's watch behind (and to have sex as soon as possible). Although Lopi is able to put into motion the first half of her scheme, she finds the sex part of the equation less straightforward. She fumbles through awkward situations, frantically seeking sex and love, and hopelessly confusing the two. At times, the contrast between her naïve fits of desperation and her mature thought processes can seem too great, and teens may well grow frustrated with her rash and melodramatic behavior. However, Jann-Clough deserves credit for resisting the urge to wrap up Lopi's story too tidily. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 05/07/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Paperback - 200 pages - 978-0-547-07632-4
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-547-34779-0
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