Published by Penguin on 2014-04-10
Genres: Friendship, Social Issues, Young Adult
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
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. Destiny. 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 friendship and first love.
~ Takes place in a very small town in NJ where the local high school is woefully underfunded, so when we first meet Hannah and Zoe they are up in the attic of the local private school, eavesdropping on the lesson.
~ Well, Hannah’s eavesdropping on the lesson. Zoe’s lusting after private school hottie, Ethan.
~ Because their public school is just a broken down piece of shiz, the girls don’t have school in the afternoons, which is when they sneak into the private school.
~ Hannah and Zoe are pretty much opposites- Hannah is much more controlled and Type A personality, while Zoe is more wild, and has been diagnosed as bi-polar/manic depressive. Hannah keeps Zoe safe, and Zoe keeps Hannah from turning into a drone.
~ Hannah’s father is a recovering alcoholic and her mother is depressed. Her mother works hard but can’t afford college for Hannah, and her father simply won’t pay for it because she’s a girl, and girls get knocked up. Go ahead, you can think he’s a douchenozzle.
~ Hannah has a hot dog business, her dad’s idea so that she can afford eventually to pay for community college. Hannah works hard, and she’s a saver. She helps manage her mom’s bills since her father moved out, and basically Hannah is the real parent in this family. And yet she still loves her folks. Hannah is a much better person than I am.
~ The Museum of Intangible Things is something Zoe started to explain emotions/feelings to her little brother. The exhibits that she creates are brilliant.
~ Zoe cracks me up, and it’s easy to see why Hannah is so devoted to her.
~ Hannah’s mom was once a great mom, she taught Zoe to sew and she used to write books with Hannah, but she’s given up on life and pretty much works and sleeps.
~ Hannah has a secret red folder (like the Red Room of Pain, only a lot less skeezy), where she hides her secret dream to be a writer/illustrator, her plans to study abroad in Sweden (she’s obssessed with Sweden, which she envisions as a utopia) and her dream to possibly be Pippi Longstocking.
~ Honestly, this book is immensely quotable, which makes me sad because it’s an arc and I try not to quote from arcs, however I will say that Zoe herself quotes one of the best lines from Grease.
~ Zoe and Hannah have a system to help Zoe out of her depression, when she’s having audio/visual hallucinations, but after an incident at a party, Hannah is no longer able to use the tricks that have worked in the past.
~ Just as Hannah is re-connecting with Danny, a boy whom she’s crushed on for years, two things happen to severely derail her life. 1. Zoe gets very deep in her illness, and 2. Hannah’s father falls off the wagon, hard.
~ Zoe, on the run from her mom who wants to commit her, convinces Hannah that they need to take a road trip. She claims that it’s time she teaches Hannah about the intangible things that she doesn’t understand, because she wants more for her friend than Hannah wants for herself.
~ I’m not going to go into the trip, but it’s pretty epic and involves sleeping in Ikea, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons, penguins, amber alerts, tasers, and many other cool things.
~ It’s hard not to know where this book is going with the story, but it doesn’t take away from the journey it takes to get there. If anything, it helps prepare you.
~ What I loved most of all was that the ending gives you a real glimpse into the future, not just a few months after the end of the book, but well into adulthood.
~ Zoe has made me realize that sometimes I need to be more insouciant!
Hannah- our main character and narrator, responsible at a very young age for herself, and for Zoe.
Zoe- Hannah’s best friend, wild and bi-polar, she’s anchored by Hannah.
Noah- Zoe’s little brother, whom she teaches about emotions that his Asperger’s makes it hard for him to understand.
Danny- a sweet boy Hannah once kissed who seems to be back in the picture.
Ethan- a private school kid that Zoe is interested in.
Julian- the only member of Hannah and Zoe’s school’s GLBT club, until he joins the newspaper in exchange for Hannah joining the GLBT club.
Ms. Brennan- one f**king awesome teacher.
Tommy “Ice” Flanegan- prematurely gray, sells weed to the rich, private school kids.
Karen & Jen- two mom friends who are frequent visitors of Hannah’s hot dog cart.
It’s a strange one, but it’s one that I can picture so vividly in my mind- the picture Zoe takes as Kermit the Frog floats away. I can still see it.
Stop the Clock:
I loved this book, and the more I think about it the more I love it. Hannah and Zoe are characters who will stay with you, and both have quirks that make them real. Hannah’s relationship with Danny is sweet, and Noah is super smart and charming. It’s the kind of book that feels like it’s a friend.
Wendy Wunder— Website | Wendy Wunder, Author.
The Museum of Intangible Things gets a Midnight Book rating of: