This book is easily my favorite teen read of 2016. In the past year Penny has lives two lives. The problem is, she doesn’t remember one of them. One day she is a drama geek with her group of friends and falling in love with Wes, next she wakes up in the hospital and none of them are her friends anymore. Instead she is the best friend of the popular Kylie. How did this happen? Before being struck by lightning, Penny is dealing with the public embarrassment her mother’s drinking has become. It is too painful to talk about, even with her best friends. The storytelling is excellent with a great slow reveal of what really happened.
I love that even though Penny struggles to win back her old friends, Kylie fights for her and shares the pain that she is also losing a friend. It is painful for Kylie to watch Penny not remember their friendship. Popular girls are often the villain of teen books. It is refreshing to see that character played a different way. I love that Penny can be friends with all of them. What a great message to send to teens. Why can’t we all be friends?
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
Describe why Kylie is a “safe” friend for Penny.
Discuss why penny rejected May and Wes when things became painful with her mom.
Discuss when Penny wonders “why guys have to make fun of a girl in order to interact with her.”
Discuss how Penny impacts May, Wes, Kylie and her mom.
Discuss why Penny’s mom blames her for everything.
Discuss how penny can be friends with everyone and not have to have one or the other.
Discuss the Shakespeare quote, “Hear my soul speak: The very instant that I saw you, did my heart fly to your service.”