Review: Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt

July 7, 2014 Raquel Romero 0 ½

Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt
Publication Date: July 8th 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Format: eARC


Opposites attract—and then complicate—in this romantic, relatable novel from the author of Two-way Street and Sometimes It Happens.

It starts with a scribbled note in class: I like your sparkle. Harper had casually threaded a piece of blue and silver tinsel through her ponytail in honor of school spirit day. And that carefree, corny gesture is what grabs Penn Mattingly’s eye. Penn—resident heartbreaker of the senior class. Reliably unreliable. Trouble with a capital “T.” And okay, smolderingly sexy.

Harper’s surprised by Penn’s attention—and so is Penn. The last thing he needs is a girlfriend. Or even a friend-with-benefits. The note is not supposed to lead to anything.

Oh, but it does. They hang out. They have fun. They talk. They make out. And after a while, it seems like they just click. But Penn and Harper have very different ideas about what relationships look like, in no small part because of their very different family backgrounds. Of course they could talk about these differences—if Penn knew how to talk about feelings.

Harper and Penn understand their attraction is illogical, yet something keeps pulling them together. It’s like a crazy roller coaster—exhilarating, terrifying, and amazing all at once. And neither knows how to stop the ride…

I received this ARC for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My Thoughts

Ive read most of Lauren Barnholdts books and Ive always enjoyed them, so imagine my surprise at not being able to connect with this book at all. Truth be told, I wanted to give up on it after a couple of chapters, but I decided to keep going and see where Barnholdt would take me with her story.

To be honest, there isnt much of a story in the first place. No, scratch that. There is a storyit just wasnt developed or explored, really. Harper and Penn have seen each other around school, but theyve never actually talked, until Penn leaves Harper a note. They spend the day together, they kiss, and then not a word is exchanged in the next two weeks. Im sorry, but how am I supposed to become invested in that? After those two weeks, they once again spend a whole day together, and this time their relationshipif you could even call it thatlasts three weeks. After that theres drama, more drama, they stop talking (do you see a pattern here?), they miss each other greatly, they get back together. The end. And thats it folks.

I really wanted to connect with Harper, but I just couldnt find her that likable. She had some funny, stubborn moments where I wanted to high-five her, but other than those few moments in between, I was just uninterested. Theres not much of a background story with her, and while Barnholdt does give us a bit of depth in relation to Harpers dreams of being a choreographer, its not enough to set her up as a fully, developed character. Penn, on the other hand, had a lot of potential that was just waiting to be tapped into. His family home, his injury, his buildup anger and resentmentit all made for a really great three-dimensional character. However, most of those issues were just given a cursory glance.

It seemed like the book focused more on Harper and Penns romance than in anything else, and even that wasnt that great. I really couldnt see why Harper would be so invested in Penn after spending a couple of hours with him, when all he basically does in sulk. Wheres the swooning? Wheres the romance? Penn did have his charming moments, but it wasnt enough to make me actually care for him. Also, his increasingly irritating mood swings? Nope. It just made me want to bash my head in. Honestly, I didnt know how Harper was able to get past that.

As much as it pains me to say it, I would skip Through to You. While I think the cover is adorable and sweet, theres nothing in the way of depth to hold on to. I can tell that Barnholdt tried, but I just couldnt connect with either characters, no matter how much I wanted to. Hopefully, her next book will be an improvement from this one.


Leave a Reply