Me, Penelope CL
By Lisa Jahn-Clough
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Hardcover, 9780618773664, 208pp.)
Publication Date: April 2007
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Penelope Yeager is like a lot of sixteen-year-oldsshe wants more independence from her crazy mother; she wants to get her driver’s license; and she wants to get out of high school, away from her town. More than anything, Lopi wants to find someone to really connect with, someone to lovebut short of that, she wants to have sex. She’s already figured out how to graduate a year early, but the rest isn’t so easy. For one thing, her mother, Vivian, isn’t just crazy: she’s young, vivacious, and beautiful. No one can resist Viv’s charms, but Lopi knows it’s all just an act. Viv is only pretending to be happy, trying to ignore Lopi and the horrible accident that changed everything between them. Lopi tries to pretend too, as she navigates the murky waters of sex and love and growing up, but she can’t fool herselfLopi has a secret that sets her apart: the accident was her fault, she is evil . . .
Lisa Jahn-Clough has written and illustrated a number of books for young children, including Alicia Has a Bad Day, My Friend and I, Missing Molly, Simon and Molly Plus Hester, and On the Hill, as well as her debut young adult novel Country Girl, City Girl. She is the chair of the illustration program at Maine College of Art and also teaches at the Vermont College Writing for Children and Young Adults program. She lives in Portland, Maine.
Lively prose, humorous situations, and certain quirks in the plot that surprise.
By the book's end, Lopi has truly come of age by reconciling her past, making peace with her present, and finding confidence in her future.
At once brutally cynical and achingly naive. . . . Jahn-Clough's prose is artfully stilted--reflecting Lopi's uncomfortable approach to life--but infused with startling flashes of beauty, while her doodle-y heart-themed spot art opens each chapter with thought-provoking visual symbolism.