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…
Lauren Barnholdt is an author on my auto buy list. I have read almost all of her contemporary YA. Some are more serious and some are like Through to You, a story filled with quirky characters, a fun plot, quick one liners and heart. Barnholdt first grabbed me with Two Way Street and crazy crackers Courtney, held me with Right of Way and off her rocker Peyton, and sunk her claws in with Through to You and cuckoo Harper.
Through to You is about Harper and Penn, two totally different high school seniors that end up entwined together by a random note written on a whim and some sparkle. What starts out as innocent hanging out quickly becomes Harper and Penn becoming inseparable. The only problem is that Harper lives to talk to what she’s feeling and bottles everything up until the point of exploding. No matter how close they get Harper just can’t get Penn to truly open up which can only lead to one thing for the two of them…heartbreak.
I keep seeing mixed reviews of this book and I can understand why. Penn is not really all that nice. I mean he shuts down when he doesn’t want to deal with something and runs away. But to be honest that is what I liked about Penn. Who doesn’t shutdown when they don’t want to deal? It’s human nature. Were his methods off at times acting like a two year old? Sure. But I got where he was coming from, his frustrations. He had a rough break with his family life and with his injury and no one had taken the time to push him to deal with it all, well at least until Harper.
Oh Harper, you quirky little cuckoo thing. I just loved her. Much like Courtney in Two Way Street and Peyton in Right of Way, Harper was insane, but in the best of ways. She said and did things that were just nuts and I loved her even more for it. Under all that crazy there was a loving girl that just felt everything. Was she 100% realistic? Nope. She was completely over the top a lot of the times. But that is why I love this kinds of characters. They make reading fun. And Harper and Penn were definitely fun.
There were a few things I didn’t like that brought this down from my usual Barnholdt book love. First it was super short which means everything moved super quick. I could have used a few more chapters at the end opposed to the slightly rushed feeling I felt. I also didn’t like that Penn’s family had serious issues that were never dealt with. That bugged me. I know they were for us to understand Penn and where he was coming from, but it just didn’t feel right that there was no conclusion to them. And I hated Harper’s friend Anna, she bugged the crap out of me. But those things aside I really did enjoy the story.
Through to You is a quick read. I took less than 24 hours to get sucked into these characters and their crazy lives and personalities. It wasn’t my favorite Barnholdt but it was a fun one. It had all the quirk I have come to love from her writing and I can’t wait for more from her.