Check in with Team LC reading The Museum of Heartbreak

Welcome to our next Book Club Check In for our latest read, The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder! If you’ve been following along, we had you read up to page 141, or to the end of the “Red Cowboy Boots” chapter. We’ve been reading through main character Pen’s collection of items and are left in suspense at our stopping point. If you couldn’t help yourself and ended up reading ahead, that’s OK too (we might have!). Let’s just say that Pen’s relationships have been taking unexpected twists and turns. That being said, we can’t wait to hear what you have to say in response to our discussion questions!

Below you’ll find five questions that we found ourselves asking after reading the first 141 pages in The Museum of Heartbreak. Read them over and then fill in your answers in the comments below. Feel free to answer each other’s questions regarding the book as well! And scroll down to the end of this blog post for details regarding our upcoming live Twitter chat with the author. Let’s get to it…

Reader Questions:

1. Audrey talks to Pen about expanding her social circle. Do you think it’s fair for Audrey to expect Pen to be friends with Cherisse? How would you handle this situation?

2. So, are we team Eph or team Keats? Pen finally snags a date with the hot new guy. But is it love at first sight or excitement over how cute and mysterious he is? Do you think that their date will be a turning point in their relationship?

3. Who do you think will be the first to settle the friend dispute, Pen or Audrey? Why?

4. Pen stops by Eph’s house before they head off to the comic book store. She witnesses an awkward exchange between Eph’s parents that makes her feel uncomfortable and suspicious. What do you think is going on between Eph’s parents?

5. The “Red Cowboy Boots” chapter ends with Pen’s unexpected first kiss. What do you think the kiss meant to both Pen and Eph?

Book Club Check In with Team LC

Our Answers: 

1. Sure, Cherisse may be annoying at times, but we think that Pen needs to be open to meeting new people. Even if Pen doesn’t end up being best friends with Cherisse, she should challenge herself to branch out and be friendly to new acquaintances.

2. Our opinion on Keats may change once we see how their relationship evolves. We get the obsession over the “hot new guy in town,” but it’s always a cute love story when BFFs end up together! We wouldn’t be mad if something happened between Pen and Eph.

3. We can tell that their strained relationship is wearing on Pen. She’s constantly wanting to text Audrey to update her on big moments in her life. Pen probably needs to be the one to settle their friendship dispute because she’s being the stubborn one in this situation. Pen needs to be more open-minded about their friendship and bringing new people into their social circle.

4. It’s pretty clear that Pen witnessed something deeper than just an argument between Eph’s parents. We think that Eph’s mom must be really heated over the fact that his dad has been working late, or that something else big is happening beneath the surface.

5. We were so surprised when Eph volunteered to be Pen’s first kiss! After he pulls away it’s obvious that he thought that the kiss was something special. We were disappointed when Pen ruined the moment by saying something that upset Eph. We’re hoping that this is the beginning of something good between them instead of potentially driving them apart.

Now it’s your turn to answer the discussion questions! Make sure to leave your responses in the comments below and feel free to get the conversation going with your fellow LC.com readers!

You are now free to finish reading the rest of The Museum of Heartbreak! Mark your calendars because we will be holding our live Twitter chat with the author for the entire book on Wednesday, July 27th at 1pm PST. We can’t wait to answer all of your questions!

XO Team LC

This book club was proudly sponsored by…

Photos: Jessi Burrone for LaurenConrad.com
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  • shohneilein

    1. While I understand Audrey’s desire to have all of her friends get along, that is probably
    unrealistic and maybe even a little selfish. I can’t blame her, but in my
    experience not everyone who enjoys your company will also enjoy the company of
    your other friends. Also, Audrey needs to take note of the treatment Pen is
    receiving from Cherisse – it isn’t all in Pen’s head. I would handle the
    situation exactly as Pen is – graciously. She understands and accepts that she
    cannot change or control others, and frankly I don’t think she wants to deep
    down. She is slowly accepting the changes in her relationships and rolling with
    the punches, whether she knows it or not.
    2. TEAM EPH!!! Sure, Keats is new and hot and mysterious, pretty flirtatious as well.
    BUT – his intentions are probably not sincere and I predict a major heartbreak
    in Penelope’s future if she opts for Keats. I’m not really sure what to make of
    their “date” at this point. I wasn’t under the impression it was even a date – I
    think he’s fooling with her. He may have picked up on her school-girlesque
    attraction to him and intends to use it to maintain his ego. I don’t trust him.
    3. At this point, Pen is making new friends and she is consumed with the potential she
    sees with Keats. She also has her trusty pal and, dare I say – love interest
    (unbeknownst to her), Eph to keep her company. On the other hand, Audrey has
    Cherisse and all the boys she dates from other schools and such. I see their
    relationship naturally dying off. They will always hold a special place in one
    another’s hearts, but the time to move on and grow has inevitably come.
    4. My guess would be an affair – Eph’s dad working late on a Friday and Saturday, the
    reaction of his mom to that news, her excessive drinking to disguise her
    unhappiness.
    5. Pen doesn’t like to openly admit her deep, romantic feelings for Eph, but the kiss,
    although awkward for her, was special. Eventually she will see what is right in
    front of her. Eph on the other hand, seems to recognize and accept his deep
    love for Pen. I think the enjoyment of the kiss may have been unexpected for
    him, but he cares deeply for her and isn’t afraid to show it.

  • 1. She doesn’t expect Pen to be friends with Cherisse, she expects Pen to be less judgmental and standoffish, which seems reasonable. Pen is incredibly immature in her reactions and attitude towards Cherisse and while Cherisse is rude at many points, Penelope only exacerbates this with her excessive immaturity.

    2. They’re both annoying in their own unique way. Considering Penelope all but fell in love with Keats after one crappy date in which he constantly reference his ex, she’s fallen in infatuation with an attractive but unappealing Keats. He’s not mysterious–he’s an open book and his entire character has already been spilled out but she just chooses to ignore all of his blatantly obvious flaws and misgivings. Their date is not a turning point, there’s no turning point because this relationship clearly isn’t going anywhere. Penelope needs to get a clue.

    3. I think Penelope will settle the dispute first because she’s more pathetic and desperate for friends while Audrey seems to be holding her own just fine. Penelope is stuck in her childhood mindset and she needs to branch out and get a clue.

    4. Eph’s parents have clearly had marital issues since they were first introduced. It doesn’t take a detective to figure this out.

    5. This kiss was frustrating and ridiculously over-exaggerated. Considering the predictability of this book, I’m guessing Eph and Penelope will end up together and this will be the MAGIC first kiss that began it all! Penelope’s reaction to Eph’s offer to be her first kiss was pathetic at best, I’m not sure why she was so excited for something that was essentially a pity kiss. Penelope takes small things and blows them up to epic proportions in all aspects so I’m assuming she’ll overthink this kiss and drag it out ad nauseam until her and Eph eventually end up together….so shocking! The best guy friend who’s been there all along ends up with the protagonist! Wowza!

  • So excited to read this book!

  • Iana S.

    1.)Yes Pen should open up to accepting new people into her and Audrey’s life. If I were Pen, I would give Cherisse a chance because it is important to Audrey and Audrey is obviously trying to remain friends with Pen.
    2.)Right now TEAM EPH! At this point in the book, we know more about his character than Keats. Keats seems like a challenge for Pen and a mystery to her, which is why she is so interested in him. I believe that after their date, she might realize that he’s not meant for her.
    3.)Audrey will probably settle their friendship since she feels like she did something wrong and she seems more mature than Pen.
    4.)The issues with Eph’s parents are most likely due to differences in views or overlapping work schedules. Possibly financial reasons.
    5.)I was surprised when Eph offered to be Pen’s first kiss.However, I’ve noticed that Eph has been acting a little grumpy since Pen started getting closer to Keats, but it may also have to do with issues at home. This could have been his way of trying to say that he’s into her. For Pen, I don’t think she really thought of Eph as being more than a friend, but that may start to change.

  • Eden

    I love this book. I won’t give away too much because I accidentally finished it over the weekend… oops! But I am definitely Team Eph and also hope that Pen and Audrey work everything out.

    And can I just say, that first kiss scene—-wow!!!!!!!!!! That was so sweet and romantic.

  • Brooke Francis

    I completely agree Pen should reach out more, and I also was so surprised that Eph offered to be Pen’s first kiss!! Cant wait to finish this book and be apart of the live twitter chat on the 27th!!

  • Tali L

    Ahh I’m loving this book so far!! Honestly, it takes a good book to really get me to read the whole thing through, and I can’t put this one down. Loved this discussion and hearing what thoughts everyone else has as well. 🙂

  • Fallon

    1. Audrey talks to Pen about expanding her social circle. Do you
    think it’s fair for Audrey to expect Pen to be friends with Cherisse?
    How would you handle this situation?
    I do think it is fair to expect Pen to be friends with Cherisse. I don’t think Audrey should expect them to be close as Cherisse is very unkind to Pen; likely she feels threathened by her as Audrey and Pen have years of friendship leaving Cherisse feel like she has something to prove. I would make an effort with my friends-friends. I would show that I was open to new people; but that I would expect respect in return.
    2. So, are we team Eph or team Keats? Pen finally snags a date with
    the hot new guy. But is it love at first sight or excitement over how
    cute and mysterious he is? Do you think that their date will be a
    turning point in their relationship?
    I am leaning towards team Eph.
    Keats gives me a bad vibe; like he is unwilling to form lasting relationships with girls because he is to stuck on himself. Cherisse may have her faults but it obvious that he mistreated her.

    Eph also has trouble forming lasting relationships with girls but I think that is because he harbors a secret crush on Pen which she is oblivous too. He always puts her first which gets in the way of the relationships he gets involved in while waiting for her to notice him.

    3. Who do you think will be the first to settle the friend dispute, Pen or Audrey? Why?
    I think it will be Audrey as she seems more mature than Pen. Pen feels resentment towards Audrey because of her new friendship with Cherisse and also the ease she exhibits with transiting into her new role at school.
    4. Pen stops by Eph’s house before they head off to the comic book
    store. She witnesses an awkward exchange between Eph’s parents that
    makes her feel uncomfortable and suspicious. What do you think is going
    on between Eph’s parents?
    I think Eph’s father James is having an affair.
    5. The “Red Cowboy Boots” chapter ends with Pen’s unexpected first kiss. What do you think the kiss meant to both Pen and Eph?
    I think that to Pen the kiss might have made her realize that Eph isn’t the little boy who she was forced into an easy friendship with. That he is a someone who could be a good match for her. I don’t think she will be ready to deal with her feelings though; until she dates the mysterious boy who she will have little in common with.
    To Eph it meant a lot more. It solidified his feelings for her which he tries to overlook as he doesn’t think she feels the same.