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When Penelope O’Shaunessy, “an incoming freshman of average height and lank hair” steps into Harvard Yard for the first time she has lots of advice from her mother: "Don't be too enthusiastic, don't talk to people who seem to be getting annoyed, and for heaven's sake, stop playing Tetris on your phone at parties." Penelope needs this advice. She is the kind of girl who passes through much of her life with coffee spilled on her white shirt, who can't quite tell when people are joking, and who, inevitably, always says the wrong thing. But no amount of coaching will prepare Penelope for the people she meets at school.
Gloriously skewering the social hierarchy of college, Penelope is the brilliantly funny story of one of the most singular, memorable heroines in recent fiction. 

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 04, 2012 – Harrington s debut is a wryly funny bildungsroman chronicling the titular character s freshman year at Harvard, and all the supplementary standard collegiate fare drunken parties and regrettable hookups, pretentious extracurriculars, friends with and without benefits, an incessant pressure to succeed, and the #1 question: Who am I? Relatively plotless, the novel still works in a meandering, searching way. Penelope is sweet but socially awkward, and woefully prone to let little things spiral out of control during a drunken dance, a boy kisses Penelope, mostly with his incisors, before vomiting on her shoes; and a favor for a roommate leads to a long-term commitment to a stage production of Caligula. While navigating the perilous social tides of the sea of her privileged peers, Penelope s heart floats between Ted, whose romantic involvement with Penelope s friend Catherine is ill-defined, and eccentric Gustav, who uses words like darling and bourgeois, and prides himself on being as primed for disease as an Indian. Penelope s candidly deadpan neuroses provide plenty of humor, and while the well-off kids of Harvard Yard might seem too aloof, in Harrington s hands they re entertaining company.

Customer Reviews


This book was cute. I felt the awkwardness of Penelope. I enjoyed reading the book.

So in credibly pointless and boring

If you're looking for a book which examines awkward young adults in a prestigious collegiate setting - please, skip this book and go read either PREP or CHARLOTTE SIMMONS- you'll be saving yourself a regretful taste in your mouth when or if you ever finish this book. This book isn't even accurate- at least do research about "finals clubs" before you write about them- seeing as they aren't finalS clubs actually but FINAL clubs. This book was a waste of my day, from start to finish.

A 21 year old female who attends a prestigious college

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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Aug 07, 2012
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings