Through To You by Lauren Barnholdt, Simon Pulse, 2014. ISBN: 9781442434639. Reviewed by, John R. Clark, MLIS.
It started when Harper’s best friend Anna convinces her to put school color tinsel in her hair as an acknowledgment of school pride day. When Penn, an aloof, but hot guy in her class drops a folded note on her desk, Harper is surprised and intrigued by what it says “I like your sparkle.” Right after reading it, she’s called to the nurse’s office for the mandatory physical she’s avoided all year. Instead of going these, she heads for the bathroom.
Meanwhile, Penn’s going through mental gymnastics, wondering what in heck made him write the note in the first place. He’s a mess inside, in part because his dad is a serious binge drinker and the family pretends nothing is wrong. Then there’s the issue with his shoulder, the one seriously damaged in a collision at home plate with his former best friend. Penn has been told there’s no way it can be fixed, but there’s a tiny ray of maybe in the form of a specialist in Boston, but getting in to see her is almost impossible. In short, Penn is a hurting unit who hooks up, but shuts down when anything close to feelings are involved.
For reasons he can’t explain, Penn gets a bathroom pass and follows Harper. Before either know it, he’s convinced her to skip school and ride around with him. Thus begins the uneasy and so very interesting not-romance between a budding choreographer who has never even been kissed and a player who is a world of hurt inside and runs when anyone comes close to getting him to open up.
How Harper and Penn navigate this teen minefield makes for a great romantic read. I particularly like the way the author sets you up with a prologue called ‘The End” that has Harper crying her eyes out in a hotel bathroom. Teens who like romance, who have had their heart broken or who have painful family secrets will all like this book a lot. It’s a definite add for both school and public libraries.