Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: July 8
Genre: young adult, romance
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…
Penn, once-baseball star of the high school, drops a note on good girl Harper’s desk. All it says is I like your sparkle, but it sets off a flurry of excitement and second-guessing. Before she knows it, Harper finds Penn everywhere in her life, and she begins to wonder what it all means. As they circle around one another, attempting to make sense of whatever is happening between them, they discover a mutual attraction that defies logic and reasoning. Harper wishes Penn would open up more to her, but Penn isn’t sure where to begin. It all comes down to trust.
I’d imagine if I were in the right mood, this would’ve been a far more enjoyable read. That, or if I were into this good-girl-meets-bad-boy storyline in general. I’d hoped this book would show some depth and strength, span several months rather than a few weeks. I’d thought the issues Penn and Harper encountered would be on very serious matters, rather than Harper constantly pestering Penn with questions and drilling him as to why he isn’t talking to her about stuff. A part of me — freshman-in-high-school me — completely understood her thought process, but cringed every time she voiced her questions or jumped to conclusions. Harper was clearly forcing a relationship with Penn, imagining a future with the idea of Penn rather than with who he is in reality.
However, there were great things going for this book. Penn did have a bit of an unstable home life, and a precarious situation regarding college and baseball scholarships. I would’ve loved to dive deeper into his story. It felt like there was more for him to say. The two perspectives, immediately after one another in pivotal moments, made for an honest interpretation of events and hilariously opposite thought processes. While Harper is filled with racing thoughts, worries, concerns, and assumptions about every little detail, Penn stands there with point-blank thoughts that nowhere near match hers. Example: Harper wonders about the meaning behind his note and what he wants; Penn tells the reader he has no idea why he wrote it. An interesting look into typical girl and guy thought patterns.
While this book was not for me, and had potential to be something more, I’m sure another reader out there would enjoy something light and fun to read this summer.
Thank you, Edelweiss, for providing this book from Simon Pulse for review.
2 thoughts on “Book Review: “Through to You” by Lauren Barnholdt (ARC)”
I luckily was in the right frame of mind when I read this book that I managed to enjoy it–even if it wasn’t a very deep book. I would have loved if it had been but I read it right after a few serious reads so this one was a nice little break from all that. Great review! I definitely see where you had problems with it
Exactly! There wasn’t anything necessarily bad about the book. It just wasn’t my cup of tea at the time I read it, unfortunately.