Penelope Perfect: Quiz Questions and Complicated Crushes by Chrissie Perry (Hardie Grant Egmont) PB RRP $14.99
Reviewed by Liz Ledden
In the fifth instalment of the Penelope Perfect series, Quiz Questions and Complicated Crushes, Penelope is perplexed when crush fever takes hold.
Penelope finds the concept of crushes a ‘Great Mystery’. She feels confused when her older brother Harry sits squished on the couch with the neighbour she dubs ‘Annoying Ava’. Her brother’s acting very strange all of a sudden - didn’t he think Ava was annoying, too? When Penelope arrives at school the next day, mean girl Rita Azul flaunts her latest boy band crush, and makes it quite clear that Penelope just doesn’t get it. At least Penelope has her platonic friendship with nature-lover Oscar, until she notices he’s acting a little strangely, too.
Penelope tries to make sense of the crush phenomena in her own, very methodical way. She develops a quiz to determine whether someone definitely has a crush or not (a fun addition at the back of the book). Along the way, she realises some quite strange feelings of her own.
Throughout the story, Penelope grapples not only with crushes, but her strong emotions. She tries to contain her outbursts, though in her quest for perfection, they sometimes boil over. Angst aside, there’s lots of humour throughout, from Oscar’s earnest search for a rare beetle as Penelope tries out her quiz, to discovering that crushes may even extend to old people’s homes. This is a fun read that explores the sometimes confusing feelings of the pre-teen years, with big doses of fun and heart.