Penelope is a young woman ready to start college, and falling in love with her best friend, Summer. The story is largely a continuous cycle of Penelope’s angst over being emotionally manipulated by her unavailable best friend. Penelope is finding herself, learning about asexuality, and meeting new friends.
The dialogue overall isn’t bad, but there are quite a few times characters speak like clinical psychologists instead of 19 year old college students. It could get quite mechanical and not particularly believable. The book is primarily about Penelope learning more about who she is, but everything about her feels more like a reaction to everyone else. She tends to move forward as a reaction against something, as opposed to an indicator of any personal growth until the very end. Secondary characters use emotional manipulation at some/many points in the book, which got tiring, particularly how quickly Penelope forgave them their transgressions. Additionally, there are some fairly drastic personality changes involving Summer and Penelope’s mother. It didn’t feel believable, as I didn’t get to watch any of their personal growth until they were suddenly very different people.
By the end, I felt very little empathy for any of the characters. Although at the beginning I did like Penelope (and her friends Alyssa and Nate), the ease with which she felt into the same trap over and over made me lose my patience with her. I think the general idea of the book was interesting and I was excited to read a book with an asexual character, although the execution of it was lacking.