Love, Penelope

Joanne Rocklin, illus. by Lucy Knisley. Amulet, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4197-2861-7
Ten-year-old Penelope Bach’s journal to her yet-to-be-born baby sibling forms the basis of Rocklin’s touching novel. Penelope’s entries, each beginning “Dear You,” offer advice and reveal her own growth over nine months. A resident of Oakland, Calif., Penelope has two mothers and passionately roots for the Golden State Warriors. Peppered with basketball trivia, the storyline coincides with the Warriors’s 2015 championship run—even non-fans will be swept up in the excitement of their winning season. Penelope faces challenges, some self-made—such as when she claims Native American heritage for a school project (only her nonbiological mother is Ohlone)—and some forced on her, including the homophobia her family endures. Rocklin (Fleabrain Loves Franny) also touches on racial prejudice: Penelope, who is white, initially reacts insensitively when her best friend’s older brother, who is black, is pulled over and treated unfairly by a police officer. Rocklin’s novel deals honestly with the ways even the best friends and parents can disappoint, creating numerous genuine and moving moments. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Holly Bemiss, Susan Rabiner Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/22/2018
Release date: 03/01/2018
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