The Museum of Intangible Things

First Lines: I am a freshwater girl.  I live on the lake, and in New Jersey, that’s rare.  The girls on the other side of town have swimming pools, and the girls in the south have the seashore.

I love when the library gets a new haul of books.  (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m all about libraries.  They are fabulous.)  This was, I think, the first book I grabbed upon entering.  I’ve been looking forward to this book since I heard Wendy Wunder was writing a new book.

Life hasn’t been kind to Hannah and Zoe.  Together, they’ve really had nothing good in their lives except each other.  So when Zoe tells Hannah that she needs to escape–their deadbeat parents, their awful love lives, their hardships–and head west, Hannah doesn’t hesitate.  Together, they go on an adventure to learn what life is really about.  Loyalty.  Saying Yes.  Lust.  Envy.  Fear.  Through experiences like storm chasing, Zoe teaches Hannah that there’s more to life than they’ve been living so far.  Dream bigger.  Do better.  Be great.

Alright.  So, straight up, this is kind of a weird read.  It doesn’t quite go the way you think it will at all.  You look at that summary and think, “Oh, it’s just a road trip between two friends where they have a lot of fun and learn a lot.”  WRONG.  (Well, not totally wrong, but close.)  It’s a bit unsettling, right?

Here’s the thing: Zoe is dealing with a mental illness.  That completely shifts the tone of the story now, doesn’t it?

I went into this book thinking it would be about friendship and somehow be funny and serious at the same time.  Well, the serious part was there at least.  But there wasn’t as much humor as I was looking for.  I needed a lot more humor than I got to break the tension.  I constantly found myself having to put the book down for a while just to clear my head/emotions.

I don’t really read many books where mental illness is a driving part of the story.  It doesn’t show up much in paranormal reads.  (There’s a lot of other stuff going on in those.)  So I was interested in this once it got going because I could never quite predict what Zoe would do next.

I really could understand Hannah’s plight.  Zoe’s her best friend, but Zoe’s not exactly stable either.  But some of the stuff the girls did while on their adventure just rubbed me the wrong way.  I felt my bristles go up.  They made choices that I know I wouldn’t have made at that age, and that I didn’t quite agree with.  It just made it harder to sink into the story when I didn’t want to be reading what I was reading in that particular scene.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad story at all.  I thought it gave a good portrayal of two girls who come from broken families and want more out of life than life has given them thus far. And it has some good lessons in it.  It just felt too serious for me, especially since I thought there would be more humor in it than there was.

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