April 9, 2014

Latest Read: The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder

Here are the basics ...
The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder
Publication date: Apr. 10, 2014
Publisher: Razorbill
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC from Michelle (Thanks!)
Summary: Hannah and Zoe haven’t had much in their lives, but they’ve always had each other. So when Zoe tells Hannah she needs to get out of their down-and-out New Jersey town, they pile into Hannah’s beat-up old Le Mans and head west, putting everything—their deadbeat parents, their disappointing love lives, their inevitable enrollment at community college—behind them. As they chase storms and make new friends, Zoe tells Hannah she wants more for her. She wants her to live bigger, dream grander, aim higher. And so Zoe begins teaching Hannah all about life’s intangible things, concepts sadly missing from her existence—things like audacity, insouciance, karma, and even happiness. (Adapted goodreads.com)

The good
If I had to sum up The Museum of Intangible Things in one sentence, this would be it: two best friends go on the craziest, most unrealistic road trip ever.

Hannah and Zoe are best friends and have always had each other even when everything else around them was falling apart. Hannah takes care of herself and usually her parents too, instead of the other way around. She cares about school and her academic future. And when it comes to boyfriends, she doesn't have a lot of experience in that department. On the other hand,  Zoe is unpredictable (to say the least) but cares very much for her little brother Noah who has Asperger's and their mom does the best she can for them both. When it comes to school, she's pretty much just skating by and she's never had trouble with boys but I wouldn't say she's had the best of luck either. When Zoe's manic mood swings hits an all-time high and Hannah finds out her dad screwed her over big time, Zoe decides they should run away and against her better judgment, Hannah thinks it's the right thing to do too.

Despite how unrealistic this road trip was — I can't tell you how many times I wondered how they didn't get caught — I did enjoy it! The writing and dialogue was witty, I outright laughed or chuckled many times and I loved the friendship between Hannah and Zoe. Hannah is the quiet, follow-the-rules kind of gal and during this trip, Zoe tries to encourage Hannah. She shows her how to embrace "intangible" qualities like spontaneity, happiness, karma, dreams and more. (This is also something Zoe tries to do for her brother; a sub-plot I really liked and wish we had gotten more of). And ultimately, that's what this book was about. Beyond the antics of their trip, the heart of the story was these two girls trying to help the other be the best version of themselves.

Plus I just have to mention, they're from New Jersey! So automatic bonus points for that too.

(Some) reservations
The plot and the pacing got pretty convoluted as the book went on and to be honest, I wasn't thrilled with how the book ended. There are deeper reasons for Zoe's manic behavior and it plays a huge role in their road trip. I kept waiting for Hannah to take charge or for something more substantial to happen and it doesn't. There's also a romance which seemed so unnecessary in light of everything else. I wish the story had been more focused on the girls and their families and featured a more simplistic road trip.

Do I recommend?
This is the second Wendy Wunder book I've read and while there is something about her writing that I really enjoy, something seems to be always missing for me in the end. I'd recommend borrowing from the library first.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read a Wendy Wunder book yet, but this one sounds pretty fun. I do like reading about road trips. And best friends. I might just have to check it out!

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