Review: Penny Dreadful

Author: Laurel Synder
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 28, 2010
Pages: 320

Source: Library
Why I read it: I had this on my Goodreads shelf and it seemed like a book that I could read quickly.

Penelope Grey lives a very comfortable and happy life in the city. But she wants more. She wants her life to be exciting and an adventure like in the books she reads. One day, she wishes for something exciting to happen and her father comes home and tells her and her mother that he has quit his job. The family also finds out that they have inherited an old house in Tennessee. Penelope and her family are forced to move there, because of financial concerns. When they arrive in Tennessee, they find out that not only did they inherit the house, they also inherited many tenants and a huge debt. Penelope gets to know the tenants and other various people around the small town and tries to help out her family.

This is a sweet, heartwarming book about the power of friendship. I actually liked this a lot more than I expected. The characterization is great. All of the characters are very interesting, with great back stories, and a lot of them even have hidden depths. There is even a lot of diversity in the book! I couldn’t pick a favorite character, because they are all complete individuals.

My favorite part of the book is the development that Penelope, later Penny, goes through. She is a lonely girl in the city, but learns to make friends and learns how the power of friendship can help overcome adversity. Even a lot of the other characters have their own small story arcs and development. For example, her mother, who was formerly a housewife, begins to work in an unusual job. Her father finds a hidden talent that he didn’t know he has. And even Penny’s new friends have their own small developments.

Very sweet and heartwarming book. Though this book is middle grade, I feel like even adults can take something away from the story. I also loved the illustrations, but wish there had been a few more!

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