For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.
Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.
When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.
SOURCE: finished copy
I hadn’t heard much about this one really but then I saw a tweet and something about an Eleanor and Park comparison so I started paying attention. Then I saw my beloved Rainbow blurbed it and it was a done deal for me.
I absolutely saw aspects of the story that mimicked the feel of Eleanor and Park for me so if you liked (or loved like me) E & P I definitely think you’d enjoy Sam and Penny’s story.
I loved that we see the end of Penny’s former life as an outgoing senior to her new start freshman year of college. Anyone can tell you transitions between to periods in your life can be difficult to navigate so seeing that struggle for Penny made her even more relatable than if I would have just seen a girl with some social awkwardness starting freshman year. Sam is absolutely a guy I would have and still would be into. The damaged, quirky guy who doesn’t even know he’s hot? Yeah, I think a lot of us would have fallen to his charms or even lack there of depending on how you look at it.
BUT. . .