Penny is a girl who has gone through her life just going through the motions and doing what was expected of her. That didn’t seem like a bad thing until she realized that she’s 18 years old and no one knows who she really is. She almost went to a college because her boyfriend was going there and said that she should… she almost majored in Chemistry because her father thought it was a great idea. After a horrible experience with her boyfriend Penny decided she’s had enough. She’s determined to change from spineless to strong and in order to that she’s going to go across the country for the summer. While she’s there she can check on her grandpa and practice being her new stronger self with people who don’t know her…”practice friends”. When Penny meets a couple new girl friends and a boy named Archer that she can’t help but be drawn to she wonders if it will be as easy as she thought to change. And how long will she be able to keep these new people in her life as temporary, practice friends?
I have to start of by saying that I am so glad that I received a copy of this book from the author because I’m not sure I would have found it myself and it was spectacular. If after reading my brief synopsis you’re like me and are thinking that this is another typical finding yourself type of YA story then like me, you’d be wrong. It’s so much more! Maybe it’s because I can see a bit of my 18 year old self in Penny but I just loved her. I think so many people can relate to what she’s feeling. That time after you finish high school and you’re expected to be an adult but your not even sure what that means yet is something I think everyone can relate to. I also feel like I should mention that Outspoken isn’t just a lighthearted story about a young girl finding herself and love. It does touch on several serious topics including: Alzheimers, postpartum depression, the visually impaired, and even rape. I know that seems like a lot of heavy topics but it’s handled well and not overwhelming at all.
Penny is looking forward to being on her own for the first time without her seven brothers and sisters but she quickly makes friends with Gwen and Marissa. I love how her friendship with them grows and all of their personalities make for fun reading. Penny quickly gets a job at the grocery store when she has her first encounter with the mysterious Archer. Yes, there’s a love interest. Their relationship grows naturally and in my opinion was not insta love at all. I loved their dialogue together and how comfortable and sometimes even sassy Penny is with him. I’m a sucker for a good love interest and Archer fit that role perfectly!
Whenever I’m thinking of giving a book 5 stars I often wonder if I’m just giving those out too often but in this case I knew I wasn’t. One of the things that really pushed this book over the edge for me were all the characters. Having a job as a delivery person at the grocery store gives Penny, and the reader, a chance to get to know so many wonderful characters and their stories. I loved that book isn’t just about a young girl finding love. It’s a young girl discovering who she is, building new friendships, and rediscovering her relationship with her grandfather. If even a tiny thing about this book has peeked your interest then I would say…definitely pick this one up!
Has this book found it’s way onto your TBR list? Have you read a book by a debut author that you just loved? Let me know your thoughts… I love all comments and questions. Happy Reading!