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April 11, 2014

Review: The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder

Title: The Museum of Intangible Things

Author: Wendy Wunder
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Publication date: April 10, 2014
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Pages: 304
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,insouciancekarma, and even happiness.
I had really high hopes for The Museum of Intangible Things because I loved Wendy Wunder's previous novel, The Probability of Miracles (Review here). First of all, she is blessed with beautiful book covers as well as very memorable book titles! The Museum of Intangible Things first got my attention because of the road trip aspect. You guys know how much I love road trips in my books! also, it is a best friend novel and I sometimes love my friendship books, void of romance. Overall, I did enjoy this book but I did have a couple of issues with it that didn't allow me to enjoy this novel as much as her previous one. 
This book fails to mention something very important, that it deals with a psychological disorder. One of the friends, Zoe, has bipolar syndrome. The road trip.. wasn't a fun road trip, it was about doing whatever Zoe wanted, and Hannah following her and hoping she doesn't drive off the edge this time. I do like her loyalty to her best friend, it is something I admire very much, but I hoped the way everything was handled had been handled differently. Also, the road trip? took over 100 pages for it to happen. You guys know how much I dislike when the synopsis mentions something that doesn't happen immediately in the book. I would have preferred not knowing they'll be going on a road trip because I was waiting for it as soon as I started reading. Also, the writing made me a bit uncomfortable, maybe it was how true it was to what teenagers think and go through nowadays but I just disliked the way these characters talked and thought.. it made me like them a bit less (am I making sense) but maybe this is just a case of "it's not you, it's me" where the author purposely did this to not romanticize teens' lives because I know we all want our YA characters to live happily ever after. 
However there are things I highly enjoyed in this novel and the first is the labeling of every chapter. Through the road trip, Zoe is teaching Hannah to ease up on life and to, for once, think about herself instead of her sorry excuse of a dad and barely present mother. I really liked the connection between the two girls and how even in the middle of all the crap they're going through, they still stuck by each other and wanted the best for each other (yes, even Zoe who tends to get her way with things). It was basically two girls against the world and it was refreshing to read YA contemporary novel with minimal romance (yes, there is a very diluted romance in there). I would definitely recommend it to contemporary fans who want to try something different.

Check out my mini video review of The Museum of Intangible Things along with Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg


  1. Oh, wow. I'm so happy I read your review of this! I hate it when books say they're all about a certain thing happening (like the road trip) and it doesn't even happen until the book is already halfway over. And I had NO idea this had to do with bipolar disorder. It looks like just another fun contemporary book from the cover! Not sure I'll give this one a try. No romance either? I love my romance, so I'll definitely make sure I'm in the mood for a non-romance before reading this one. Great review!!

    -Jessica (Peace Love Books)

  2. I love this cover. So pretty and pretty awesome, hih. I'm sorry you didn't fully love it, but I'm glad you liked it :D I.. am not sure I would like it :p Sounds a bit boring. Sigh. Might be because I love Fantasy books the most, hih :) Thank you for sharing. <3 Awesome review sweetie :)

  3. OH! This onea ctually sounded super amazing and I ADORE Road trip books too! *high fives*

  4. I love the look of this cover, too! So, it's a shame you didn't love the book, I do like the sound of the friendship and I'm really interested to read this now and find out how I feel!

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

  5. I just finished reading this one the other day, I was so excited for the road trip between two best friends as well, but I wasn't expecting it to happen right at the beginning. I liked that there wasn't too much romance, while I love LOVE and seeing relationships develop, I'm glad that there wasn't too much of that in here. I was simply looking for the friendship aspect. In the synopsis it never said anything about Zoe's problems so when it was finally brought up I couldn't believe it. I think if it were in the synopsis, more people would be picking this one up.


  6. Usually, I like my road trip stories with a bit of humor, so I might not pick up this one. But still, it's seems like an intense read. Great review.

  7. I actually like the sound of this book more now I know it deals with the bipolar syndrome. I like my contemporaries to have more.. let's say depth, instead of only fluffiness and romance :D So I think I will that, but it's a shame that it takes so much time before the road trip starts.