Outspoken by Lora Richardson
Published: August 18th 2015 by Createspace
Rating: 3 Stars
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance.
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
Penny Beck is a girl who says yes when she means no. She keeps to herself, follows the rules, and does what she’s told. After a disastrous experience with her boyfriend, she’s determined to change from the spineless person she’s always been into the strong woman she wants to become. All she needs is a little practice. On a cross-country trip to check on her grandpa, she strives to become bolder and more outspoken with the strangers she meets. Penny’s plan is to practice saying and doing what she wants without worrying about what anyone else thinks. Then she meets Archer, an introspective loner to whom she finds herself drawn. She realizes she does care what he thinks, very much. Will Penny be able to stick to her plan, or will she revert back to her people-pleasing ways?
I received a copy of the eBook from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Penny Beck is the kind of girl who puts everyone’s needs before her own, this means that more often enough she says yes when she means no. Having graduated from high school, Penny decides that she no longer wants to be the girl that bends to everyone else’s will and embarks on a journey that takes her away from everything she’s know so she can finally find her own voice.
“I’ve been whoever people want me to be. Done what they wanted me to do. I allowed that, my whole life. I don’t know how to be me.”
Penny reminded me a lot of myself. Growing up I was always the person that said yes when I meant no. I let people walk all over me and I never seemed to be brave enough to voice my own thoughts and opinions. I could definitely identify to Penny’s struggle and the way that she didn’t really know herself and what she wanted. By making this journey across the country to visit her grandfather, Penny has the freedom to be the person she hopes to be and on this journey she meets an array of strange and wonderful characters that help her discover a side to her that she longed to find and a place that makes her feel like she belongs.
Out of all the new relationships Penny establishes, my favourite was the connection between her and Archer. At first glance, Archer seems very emotionally detached from the people in his life. However, the more he and Penny spend time together, the more we realise that he’s battling his own demons as the weight of his families past actions continue to weigh heavily on his mind.
However, there are moments in this book that made me feel very disconnected to the plot. I think this is because some of the moments in this book were almost staccato like and we were just going through the motions of Penny’s day to day life. As a result of this, I found that I couldn’t connect as much to Penny’s friends, Gwen and Marissa, who proved to be quite interesting characters but I felt that we had only scratched the surface with their struggles and doubts.
Overall this is quick, enjoyable read that explores the theme of identity and self-doubt. It’s a solid debut and I look forward to reading more of Lora’s work.