Benedict Pendleton and Penelope Lupo are the unlikeliest of unlikely high school couples.
Intelligent and painfully socially awkward, 16-year-old Benedict lives life perfectly, as described by his father in his bestselling book, Being a Perfect Person. Foulmouthed, 16-year-old Pen is a cool girl with tight, black clothes and a popular boyfriend. Only this isn’t who they really are at all. It is only when fate intervenes and the two wind up at the same resort over winter vacation that dark-olive–skinned Pen and white Benedict both find each other and find themselves. Told in alternating and delightfully distinct first-person chapters, this novel is a profoundly open and honest exploration of teen identity, sexuality, and connection. There is also plenty of humor, particularly when it comes to Benedict’s inability to filter his thoughts and words. Secondary characters, such as Pen’s mother and Benedict’s father, add depth and will leave some readers reaching toward the pages looking for a neck to throttle. This is a novel that will surely arouse emotion. It will offend some who may not be prepared to embrace a young woman openly obsessed with sex, particularly with pleasuring herself. Some may be disturbed by the frank descriptions of sexual interactions between teen partners. Those readers are missing the point and depriving themselves.
A truly beautiful story about passionately falling in love with another and learning to love and share your true self. (Fiction. 14 & up)