{Review} PENELOPE MARCH IS MELTING by Jeffrey Michael Ruby

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

Penelope March Is Melting
  YEARS AGO, scientists spotted a strange iceberg floating a hundred miles off the coast of Antarctica. That part of the world is full of icebergs, so one off by itself in the middle of nowhere isn't so odd. The odd part is what the scientists found when they studied satellite images of the iceberg.

It was hard to tell from the grainy photos, but there appeared to be people living on the iceberg. A whole town, with roads and cars and houses. A school and a church. One image seemed to show a man walking a dog.

Three countries—the United States, Argentina, and Japan—sent explorers in small planes to the coordinates where the iceberg had been spotted.

All three found nothing. The American and Argentinean planes returned with no answers; the Japanese plane never returned. Whether the iceberg had continued to float farther out into the ocean, or sunk, or melted, no one knew. But it was gone. As disappointed as they were, the scientists moved on to projects more sensible than populated icebergs.

(pg. 1-2, US Paperback ARC Edition)

“I see a chance for a strong girl to prove herself, if she works hard enough"


People will often ask me why I enjoy reading Ya and Middle-Grade books so much. My answer is the same every time. There is a magic in books meant for young people that I just cannot find on the other shelves in the store, they hit me with nostalgia, with humor, with sadness, they bring me back to those past ages of myself and they are often absolutely soaked with heavy handed imagination and vibrant imagery. PENELOPE MARCH IS MELTING by Jeffrey Michael Ruby, is the perfect example of a middle-grade book I loved reading so much I'll probably be purchasing a finished copy for my bookshelf collection.

The story follows a very special town, Glacier Cove, situated atop a large iceberg that never melts, and has managed to never be discovered by other humans. This is normal, everyday life for the residents of Glacier Cove, and they are a quiet people who don't question what exists beyond the edges of their town. In fact, no one really seems to question or show signs of concern when the weather starts to shift and Glacier Cove begins to melt. No one except Penelope March, our fabulous leading lady. God do I love her. She reminds me so much of me as a middle-schooler, observant and quiet bookworm with a fervent itch to be like the heroes and heroines in  her stories. I think we can all relate to that feeling of restless longing, that hunger to prove yourself against fantastical feats and save the day, but like Penelope most of us resign ourselves to the idea that such things will only ever be played out in our imaginations. But as she finds herself racing the clock to figure out what is happening to her home, Penelope steps into the role of heroine with such a slow and steady ease it surprises her when she has occasion to notice it, and made me tear up like a proud Mama screaming YES BABY GIRL, LOOK HOW STRONG YOU ARE. And Penelope isn't the only great character in the story! As an only child I always have a super soft spot in my heart for sibling dynamics, and Penelope's relationship with her brother is so sweet and momentarily sour, and then sweet all over again and I pretty much lived for it. Buzzardstock is the Glacier Cove version of that "harmless but kooky" neighbor who lives in the house every kid in town thinks is haunted. He seriously became one of my favorite characters because he takes that "don't ask questions" sentiment of the town and uses it to push forward and explore instead of hiding from magic and adventure and mystery and problems.

What I love the most about the storyline is that Penelope gets answers and backstory for some of the many questions that come up, but some things she has to learn to just take on faith. When a bunch of ice penguins come to life and tell you that you have to journey with them under the sea to retrieve a magic ice shard that will save your home, you can't be sure you believe your own eyes or your own heart, but desperate times call for brave acts without a promise of success. Also the penguin crew is comprised of the cutest personalities ever and they pretty much had me giddily grinning anytime they graced the pages. At the core of this fantasy filled with magic cookies, submarines, and shape-shifting villains, is a story about friendship, inner strength, and the knowledge that we are all capable of so much more than we think. The pacing is PERFECT, not too fast, not too slow and balanced with beautiful internal banter and gorgeous exterior imagery. AND all the ice makes this a perfect read for the winter season.

Grab a glass of turnip juice, a copy of PENELOPE MARCH IS MELTING and dive into this whimsical, sweet, beautifully written debut!

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: G ( No romance really present )
Language: G ( No cursing or harsh language )
Violence: PG ( A few battle scenes with a little blood at times )
Other: --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I am in LOVE with this cover. The style of the art feels both fun and exciting all at once. The ice house is gorgeous, many of the pertinent characters are present which makes it easy to visualize them as I'm reading, and the attention to detail is just top  notch. Do you see the little ice penguins, do you SEE the creepy sea monster tentacles? The cover tells you that you are going on a quirky adventure, but some of the dangers are absolutely serious.
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Jeffrey Michael Ruby
Release Date: November 14th, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Received: For Review


An icy-cold mystery adventure to warm your heart--perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library!

Something sinister has come to Glacier Cove, an icy-cold town that sits on top of an iceberg . Nothing bad ever happens here. Until now. And it's up to Penelope March to stop it.

Mmm-hmm, that Penelope--the bookworm who lives in the ramshackle house with her brother, Miles. The girl with the mom who--poof!--disappeared. The one everyone ignores . . . except strange Coral Wanamaker, a tiny thing with raven-black hair and a black coat.

When Penelope meets someone who seems to know secrets not only about Glacier Cove but about Penelope herself, she and Miles are pulled into an ancient mystery. Together, they'll face the coldest, cruelest enemy ever known. Looks like the girl who only reads about adventures is going to start living one.

Magic cookies! Volcanoes! Penguins! Sea monsters! And a girl hero with the strength and imagination to spring into action.