A Lost Penny

We rated this book:

All her life, Elodie has looked up to her sister, Eva. Eva is beautiful, popular, charismatic… in short, she’s everything Elodie is not. What Elodie is, though, is talented. She has a gift for music and is able to replay songs after having only learned them by ear. Being raised by a single mom doesn’t give her many options, but her mother is able to find an electric keyboard for her and scrape together enough money for piano lessons. It’s not a comfortable life, but it’s hers, and it’s a pretty good one.

At least, it is until following along with one of Eva’s impulsive decisions lands Elodie in more trouble than she’s been in her entire life. At her wit’s end, Elodie’s mother decides to separate her daughters, sending Elodie off to live with her estranged father and his wife. In a wealthy neighborhood in New Jersey, Elodie finds not only a culture clash but also that money only gets rid of some problems. It actively creates others.

A Lost Penny is a sweet, heartbreaking story about navigating adolescence in two equally difficult settings. I fell in love with Elodie right from the start. Her naivete wasn’t always believable, especially when it came to teen slang, but her sweetness always won me over. I loved watching her grow over the course of the novel, and at times, I found myself wanting to swoop in and save her from her troubles. She’s a grounded protagonist that a lot of teens will see themselves in.

The reason I give this book four stars instead of five is because I felt the narrative could have stood to be tightened up a little. The story is solid and affecting, but the plot points at times felt misplaced, especially when it came to certain events involving Elodie’s stepmother. Some of the revelations felt hollow, as though we hadn’t seen enough of her to really earn them. The last section also felt rushed, skipping years ahead into what was more of an extended epilogue than a true final section.

Aside from that, though, there’s not much to complain about. This is exactly the sort of book that would have been good for me to pick up as a teen. It’s charming, powerful, and most of all, empathetic. With every page, I felt for Elodie, but more than that, I felt for nearly every side character. (In fact, I felt so much for a couple that I was disappointed they only appeared in a couple chapters.) Eason doesn’t always dive deep into the characters on the page, but when she does, you can tell she’s thought about them as full people. I highly recommend this book.

Reviewed By:

Author Rhonda Eason
Star Count /5
Format eBook
Page Count 328 pages
Publisher self published
Publish Date 01-Dec-2021
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Issue December 2021
Category Young Adult