You! Yes, you. Do you like extremely lovely books that make you feel all warm and snuggly inside, but without making you want to vomit in your own mouth? Do you want to read something that will make you smile until the people around you think you have been drinking? Of course you do. Who wouldn’t? And with that having been established, let me introduce you to your new favourite literary work of adorableness: The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder.
A quick synopsis before I explode in a mess of little hearts and glitter: Pen is a cool, slightly quirky girl with cool, slightly quirky friends with equally cool and quirky names (Audrey and Ephraim). Pen meets Keats, who is a teenage boy, not the Romantic poet, and falls in love. Keats is a bit of a knob. Of course he is: his name is Keats. In amongst all this, Pen does awesome things like working on a literary journal and spending lots of time wandering around New York and drinking hot chocolate. These are all things I like doing too, although, sadly for, I don’t live in NYC so I have to make do with drinking hot chocolate in the staff room at school.
Here are all the millions of things I loved about this book; Pen is super-cute in a completely non-nauseating way. She’s a bit immature but really this is just because she likes her friends and is resistant to change (hi, Pen! We are the SAME PERSON). She’s very funny so the first person narration is basically scrummy. Leder masters a brand of teen-speak which is convincing as well as entertaining and I really liked al the conversations between Pen and her friends. Eph is a delight. Yes, the development of the romantic storyline is predictable, but in that really nice way that a good teen movie is predictable; The Museum of Heartbreak reminded me of the feeling I get from watching Clueless, Get Over It or Pitch Perfect, when I know exactly what’s going to happen but it’s so right and perfect that this actually works gloriously.
I deeply envy anyone who got to grow up in New York and The Museum of Heartbreak made this problem about a billion times worse; Pen and her friends ping about on the subway, casually going to watch Frank Miller give a speech or buying perfect boots in a vintage shop, mooching around flea markets in Brooklyn and every bit of this made me green. I loved the way New York wasn’t just an incidental setting; it was a part of the story that received as much attention as the characters.
This book just really made me smile (and laugh. And almost cry a little bit). It’s a really feelgood story which made me heart sing a bit; I’ve not had this sort of reaction to a book since I read Becky Albertalli’s Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and I hope The Museum of Heartbreak goes on to receive as much deserved love as that book has.