Blog Tour + Review + Video: Penelope March is Melting by Jeffrey Michael Ruby

Title: Penelope March is Melting
Author: Jeffrey Michael Ruby
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy

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.

This was a wildly imaginative story about 12-year-old Penelope March. I fell in love with her from the first page especially since she's an avid reader, and so was I at that age. She looks up to the daring heroines who save the day in the stories she reads and really, this is a journey of her accomplishing just that as she faces the unknown dangers that come with trying to save her town.

Glacier Cove is a town that sits on top of an iceberg and it is melting. Now I have to say, I don't know if it was the author's intention to make this whole story one giant metaphor for everything happening with our environment these days, but it is absolutely brilliant to weave these elements into the story.

When Penelope meets her quirky neighbor and finds out why things seem so off in the town, she will work with the quirkiest sidekicks around, including a fellow lonely girl, to save the town and maybe, herself. One of the more fantastic parts of this story was the emphasis on the importance of family and I loved Penelope's relationship with her brother - which is evident from page 1.

So as you can tell, I absolutely adored this book. So many elements were such great moral stories for children without going into "preachy" territory. And it was just so much fun! Let's not forget the fact that they live on top of an iceberg(!), the townspeople are so vividly written and have the kookiest names and each one stayed imprinted in my brain long after I finished the book.

I recommend this for children in the "upper" middle grade age range as there are some sinister forces at play, and there are tough subjects dealt with (but in a delicate, not-in-your-face type way) such as the dad's drinking, and some minor violence when Penelope and her brother finally have to fight the enemy of the town. Overall, I implore you guys to read this one - and to recommend it to the pre-teens in your life - as it has made my "top list" this year.

Happy reading!

JEFFREY MICHAEL RUBY (@dropkickjeffy) is the chief dining critic of Chicago magazine. He is the coauthor of Everybody Loves Pizza: The Deep Dish on America’s Favorite Food, and has also played college basketball in Ireland, assisted in an autopsy, and sumo wrestled in front of 20,000 people in New Jersey. He lives in Chicago with his wife and three children. Penelope March Is Melting is his first novel. Visit Jeffrey at and @dropkickjeffy on Instagram.


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