Monday, July 21, 2014

Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt

Title: Through to You
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Opposites attract—and then complicate—in this romantic, relatable novel from the author of Two-Way Street and Sometimes It Happens. 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, smoulderingly 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 hand 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…

Summer is the season for all the contemporary stories, and so far, I am loving all the ones I am reading. This was no different with Lauren Barnholdt’s Through to You. I sped through this story, and it was a book I highly enjoyed.

Harper never thought that Penn knew who she was. She was never the kind of girl who caught the hottest guy in school’s attention. But when Penn casually drops a note on her desk, Harper starts to wonder what it would be like to know Penn better. Penn is just as surprised as Harper that he would ever be dropping notes on Harper’s desk. Now Harper and Penn are spending time together, not knowing what is happening. Any relationship between Harper and Penn seems illogical, they are two people who should not be together. Yet they keep being brought together and neither one knows how to stay away.

So this is where I’m honest: until I read Through to You, I hadn’t read any books by Lauren Barnholdt. I do own three of her other books though. Why haven’t you read them, you ask? Beats me. Lauren Barnholdt is some of my friends’ favourite authors and apparently that still wasn’t enough to motivate me to read some of her books. So that’s to say that because of all this, I had some pretty high expectations as far as Through to You  was concerned. I’m not going to lie, I really enjoyed Through to You, but I wanted more from it. Even though I tend to be a person who will take interesting characters over plot any day of the week, with Through to You I kept waiting for the story to happen. Sure there were things happening, Harper and Penn were going about their business and growing closer, but it felt like I kept waiting for more to happen and it just didn’t. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the overall story. I enjoyed seeing both characters deal with their respective issues and learn to open up to each other. So why I may have been let down by the story itself, I really enjoyed the characters.

I really enjoyed reading this story from both Penn’s and Harper’s points of view. In a way, I could relate to Harper, to how she was just going through high school with one or two really good friends, never concerned with the popular crowd. In that sense, I also understood the way she was intrigued by Penn, especially when he began paying attention to her. Though as much as I enjoyed Harper, Penn kept my interest more than she did. The only thing is, I’m a little torn as far as Penn is concerned. Every time I was reading from Harper’s perspective, I wanted nothing more than for her to stay away from Penn because he kept being a jerk to her. But then the story would change to Penn’s perspective, and all of a sudden I would start liking him a whole lot more. I was able to understand why he acted the way he did, and in some respects, I would start to root for him. So I was conflicted. As much as I wanted Penn to stand up for himself and get away from his less-than-ideal family situation, I also wanted him to stop acting like a complete jerk to Harper. In a way this ties in to how I felt about the story never quite taking off the way I thought it would, because I wish I could have seen more of what made the characters how they were, especially when it comes to Penn. 

Though Lauren Barnholdt’s Through to You didn’t quite live up to my expectations, I was still able to enjoy the story. And after having read this book, I am convinced that I need to go back and read those Lauren Barnholdt books that are sitting on my shelf, unread.

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