Through to You
By Lauren Barnholdt
Publication date: July 8, 2014
Simon Pulse, 256 pages
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, 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…
— Goodreads.com description
One of my biggest pros about Through to You is also a potential con: Lauren Barnholdt writes a spot-on teenage boy.*
Penn isn’t ready for commitment. He doesn’t know what he wants. He’s hiding things from his parents. And he is certainly not very suave with Harper. With so many YA novels these days writing a glorified teenage dreamboy instead of a realistic one, this was so refreshing.
On the other hand: Old Lady Syndrome. Yup, this old lady was like “OMG, Penn, grown up!” I’m a lame know-it-all when I read sometimes and it ruins everything.
Which is such a shame, because I adore Lauren Barnholdt — especially One Night That Changes Everything. And overall I did like it — I applaud Barnholdt for writing characters who made me remember what it felt like to be a teen. It’s just that that isn’t always easy to read, you know?
I also would have liked Harper to show a bit more passion. She says she loves dance, but I never quite felt it.
Overall verdict: I’m not raving but still do think it would be worth your time.
*Note: I originally wrote that as “Lauren Barnholdt really nailed the teenage boy here,” which has a different meaning entirely and is quite awkward. Ahaha, sorry, Lauren! This is why you always reread something twice before posting it to the Internet.