Many parents are overprotective, but perhaps none more so than the Landlows with their daughter, Penelope, whom they forbid anyone even to touch.
They do have good reason for this rule. Penelope suffers from idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, a disease that can result in horrific internal bleeding at even the lightest touch. Complicating matters, the family profession is human-organ trafficking, which, though it can help those in need (and who can pay), is highly illegal and dangerous. When this danger culminates in horrific tragedy, Penelope suddenly finds herself alone in a world she's ill-equipped to deal with. Will she be able to handle real life and even save the man she loves from death? Schmidt offers a modern-day retelling of the “The Princess and the Pea” that attempts to cast the princess in a more proactive, less victimized role than is traditional. Penelope does manage to break free of her delicate-flower mode (with a little motivation from some bad guys), but she suffers so many setbacks and moments of doubt that readers will be forgiven for wanting to hurry up the process. The romance at the heart of the book is a sweet one, if slightly convenient, and offers a pleasant break from Penelope's primary struggle between her past and present selves.
A decent girl-power twist on an old fairy tale for thriller lovers. (Thriller. 13-18)