Friday, April 18, 2014

The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder

Title: The Museum of Intangible Things
Author: Wendy Wunder
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: April 10, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Loyalty. Envy. Obligation. Dreams. Disappointment. Fear. Negligence. Coping. Elation. Lust. Nature. Freedom. heartbreak. Insouciance. Audacity. Gluttony. Belief. God. Karma. Knowing what you want (there is probably a French word for it). Saying Yes. Truth. Devotion. Forgiveness. Life. Happiness (ever after).

Hannah and Zoe haven’t had much in their lives, but they’ve always had each other. So when Zoe tells Hannah she needs to get out of their down-and-out New Jersey town, they pile into Hannah’s beat-up old Le Mans and head west, putting everything—their deadbeat parents, their disappointing love lives, their inevitable enrollment at community college—behind them.

As they chase storms and make new friends, Zoe tells Hannah she wants more for her. She wants her to live bigger, dream grander, aim higher. And so Zoe begins teaching Hannah all about life’s intangible things, concepts sadly missing from her existence—things like audacity, insouciance, karma, and even happiness.

An unforgettable read from the acclaimed author of The Probability of Miracles, The Museum of Intangible Things sparkles with the humor and heartbreak of true friendships and first love. 

I am so excited to have finally entered what appears to be “Contemporary Season.” Looking at my TBR pile recently, it seems like all the books I have coming up are contemporary reads and that makes me so unbelievably happy. And I was even more excited when I saw that Wendy Wunder’s The Museum of Intangible Things was going to be my next read. And as excited as I was, I was also not in the least bit disappointed by this story.

Hannah has always had relatively low expectations, this way she doesn’t get disappointed. In her small town in New Jersey, everyone is that way. The one person with ideas of grandeur is Zoe, Hannah’s best friend. But Zoe’s over the top feelings may be what will bring her down. So when Zoe suggests that they get out of New Jersey, Hannah goes along with the plan, knowing that eventually she will be able to talk down Zoe. But the further west they get, the more Hannah begins to think that there might be no coming back for Zoe this time around. While out on the road, Zoe makes it her mission to teach Hannah all about the things in life that will better her existence, all in the hope of getting Hannah ready for when she won’t be around anymore.

Though it’s been sitting on my shelves for the last two years, I still haven’t read Wendy Wunder’s debut, The Probability of Miracles (I know, bad), but after having read The Museum of Intangible Things, you can bet that I will be picking up the other one soon. Keeping up with a recent theme (or so it would seem), the Museum of Intangible Things wasn’t what I thought it would be, but I loved it. I loved that this was a story that focused on friendship, on how Hannah and Zoe have always been there for each other but how they also need to learn how to get on without each other. And of course I loved the road trip aspect, though it wasn’t always the sanest road trip. Though what I loved the most about that the ending didn’t really go in the direction I thought it would. Sure, stuff happened that I had guessed would happen or hoped would happen, but there was also a lot I didn’t necessarily see coming. And like I said, that made me love the story even more, because I love it when stories take me by surprise. But more than that, I just found the characters, especially Hannah and Zoe, endearing.

Hannah and Zoe couldn’t have been more different, but they worked perfectly as friends. Being what looked like complete opposites, they balanced each other out. Where Zoe was outgoing and adventurous, Hannah was more reserved and cautious, always thinking things out before acting. Zoe was the rule breaker, while Hannah was the rule follower. But this was a great friendship. I loved the dynamic between Zoe and Hannah, and how each girl could be exactly who she was around the other. But at the same time, they pushed each other to be better, to want more for themselves and for each other. Throughout the story, I really felt for Hannah though. Being that the story was told from her perspective, I got to know a lot more about her and her life than I did about Zoe. In that respect, I found that I could relate to many aspects of Hannah’s personality, especially her more cautious and thought-out side. And in some ways, I could also relate to what it feels like to have a very exuberant best friend, granted mine isn’t quite as extreme as Zoe, but still. Though what I loved the most about Hannah, was seeing her growth over the course of the book, how she really came into her own and started to get a better idea not just of who she was, but of who she wanted to be in the future. But to sound like a broken record, the friendship is what really did for me in this book.

Wendy Wunder’s The Museum of Intangible Things was a fantastic read, showing just how powerful friendships can be, how much they can mould and change you. If you are looking for a great story with a focus on friendships, then The Museum of Intangible Things is perfect for you.

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