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Penelope March Is Melting

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"A marvelous and magical debut!" --Pseudonymous Bosch, New York Times bestselling author of the Secret Series and the Bad Books

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.

320 pages, Kindle Edition

Published November 14, 2017

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Jeffrey Michael Ruby

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5 stars
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17 (21%)
3 stars
23 (29%)
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Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
Profile Image for Audrey.
999 reviews152 followers
December 26, 2020
Perfect for both boys and girls of any age. It’s full of fast-paced adventure and borders on the absurd. I agree that it would appeal to most fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Glacier Cove is a society on an iceberg. It’s always cold, and nothing grows but turnips. They don’t know anything of the rest of the world but still have schools and cars and books and speak English.

If there was a larger world out there, they certainly didn’t wish to brave the icy waters to find out. Instead, they ate their turnips and wore their coats outdoors and indoors. For twenty-three hours and fifty-nine minutes a day, they bundled up in gloves and hats, shivering and sniffling. The other minute was even worse, because that was when the other people of Glacier Cove showered. During that dreadful sixty seconds, off came layer upon layer, which smelled like a mix of dried sweat and rotting turnips. The typical Glacier Covian would turn on the shower, which spat out thick blasts of freezing water, and he would jump around and shriek like a blind baboon while he fumbled for the soap, which also smelled like turnips, to rub against various unpleasant parts of his pasty skin that ended up splotchy and irritated, angry at even a minute of exposure to the brutual air. You don’t want to know about their baths.

Penelope and Miles March are sister and brother dealing with normal kid stuff as well as big challenges like mortal peril. You’re never sure who to trust in this book. It’s a fun, fast book. The following gifs are a glimpse of what to expect.

Language: None
Sexual Content: None
Violence: Some; not too graphic
Harm to Animals:
Harm to Children:
Other (Triggers):
December 28, 2020
This book was so good! I was cold the whole time reading lol such descriptive writing & so atmospheric! The whole concept of this story was just so original, creative, & fascinating. I loved every minute of it. This was my 1st of my winter reads after finishing my Christmas reading. So glad I started here. It definitely set the bar. Penelope is our main character. Her & her brother Miles live in Glacier Cove w/their dad. Their town is ice cold & on top of an iceberg. Penelope has always hoped for something different to happen, especially something she could be the one to save the day from. Boy does she get her wish. Some strange things start to happen to the town. Something is wrong. Her & her brother meet Buzzardstock, who is AMAZING! I loved him w/my whole heart. He seems to know the secrets the town has, as well as a lot about Penelope herself. It’s up to her & her brother to face & defeat an ancient enemy & save their town. So good. So much mystery, suspense, magic, & adventure. In related so much to Penelope & her love for books. How she flies through them, & just gets lost in their pages. The ending was perfect. It wrapped up so nicely. There was one tiny part at the end that made me think there could be a sequel. But that’s probably just me wishing lol oh! The penguins! My heart!🥰 They were the BEST! So we have penguins, volcanoes, a sea monster, Magic cookies, & a brave heroic girl just to name a few amazing things. Highly recommend! This cover is so absolutely beautiful too.💜
Profile Image for Suze.
1,878 reviews1,311 followers
November 2, 2017
Glacier Cove is a peaceful town on top of an iceberg. The people there are living happily in their frozen world, but something bad is going to take place. Penelope knows what it is, but will she be able to stop it? Penelope loves books more than people, she has no friends and the only person she likes hanging out with is her brother Miles. She sometimes tolerates her classmate Coral because she's being teased and bullied as much as Penelope. Penelope is destined to meet a stranger who will change her world, who will this person be?

Penelope has to save her town, but how will she do it? She has to fight a cruel enemy, someone she can't easily find. Together with Miles and a pile of strange cookies Penelope is going on a mission. What is Coral's role in this difficult endeavor and what will they find when they reach their destination? Will Penelope and Miles be able to save Glacier Cove and its inhabitants?

Penelope March Is Melting is a fabulous funny story. Penelope loves books, she isn't very popular and she also isn't terribly happy. She's a curious girl and an adventure is exactly what she needs to make her life a bit more interesting. However, saving her whole town is a lot of responsibility for a twelve-year-old girl, so I couldn't wait to see where that would lead. I felt bad for Penelope that she doesn't have any friends, but she and Miles are close and I loved the bond between the siblings. Jeffrey Michael Ruby describes it in a wonderful warm way filled with little jokes and small gestures of affection, which often made me smile. I love a good sibling story and Penelope March Is Melting definitely falls into that category.

Jeffrey Michael Ruby has a fantastic sense of humor. Penelope March Is Melting is a book full of surprises, terrific jokes, original elements and bizarre situations. It's exactly the kind of book I like, I love reading something unusual. The story is fast-paced and action-packed. There's a nice amount of magic, there are monsters and there's plenty of entertainment. I especially loved how Jeffrey Michael Ruby focuses on details. People in Glacier Cove eat turnips, there's a teacher with constant hiccups and much much more that constantly made me laugh out loud. Penelope March Is Melting melted my heart, it's a gorgeous charming, captivating and lively story.
1 review
July 18, 2017
An icy world awaits in a book with huge cinematic potential. Book will appeal to the middle reader and lover of a mystery from a young girl's point of view. There is a sense of foreboding that keeps the reader unsure what to expect. Excellent family and friendship issues of loss, faith, betrayal, and trust woven into the plot. Many idiosyncratic characters come at you and it's exciting to take this trip to the icy world of Glacier Cove with so many layers of history that unfold. Captivating!
Profile Image for amelia.
245 reviews47 followers
November 20, 2018
This book was so awesome, I couldn't stop reading! (that's probably why I finished in 2 days.)
Profile Image for Stephanie Tournas.
1,996 reviews15 followers
February 22, 2018
What begins as a typical kid's angst about middle school and bullying, ends with a triumph over a force of evil in the guise of a shape shifting sea entity. Whew! A lot is going on in this fast paced novel. Penelope lives in Glacier Cove, which is an island iceberg in the middle of the sea, with her brother Miles and her father. The dominant food is turnips, which is the author exploits to comic ends. There is foreboding early on, however, of terrible happenings beneath the island, and Penelope learns of an ancient sea spirit named Makara Nyx who is causing Glacier Cove to melt. A multitude of characters provides lots of possibilities for who is in cahoots with the baddie, and the suspense builds until a final apocalyptic showdown. I like that the characters have emotional depth and diversity, and that there are tobacco chewing female penguin SEALs.

What I didn't like - the epic battle between Penelope and Makara Nyx is underwhelming, quick and lacking in detail, so it is a bit of a letdown.

Profile Image for Scott Pearson.
2 reviews
January 16, 2018
Penelope March is Melting is an auspicious foray into YA literature for Jeffrey Michael Ruby. My first impression after reading is that it's clear the author has a wide variety of interests that are presented in the novel in detail...clearly lovingly researched, which gives the book a little bit of something for every reader to connect with. Magic/Escapism, military (particularly nautical) protocol, ice sculpture, penguin zoology, are all present and accounted for. This eclectic mix helps keep the reader engaged as the plot unfolds.

I believe there are a lot of opportunities for expansion of this universe in additional novels...Who is Ore9n Buzzardstock, what made him who he is, and what's his connection to the main antagonist? How does his magic work, and what are the backstories on his sculptures? The followers of the antagonist, and what atrocities did they commit to further their agendas? Needless to say, there is a lot of fertile ground to explore other facets of world building for this series, which speaks to good planning from the author.

Hoping to hear more from Mr. Ruby, as he's certainly got ideas that can capture the imagination of both young and old readers alike.
Profile Image for ☘Tara Sheehan☘.
580 reviews19 followers
November 14, 2017
Just in time for the holiday season we get a story that shows how much warmth exists in the cold.

Ruby’s sense of humor really shines through this funny story perfect for kids and the adults who need a little return to the magic of childhood. The jokes he sprinkles about his story, the side of compassion and love he integrates between his characters will all bring a smile to your face as you work your way through this delightful tale.

As avid readers we can all connect to Penelope in some way thanks to her curious nature and sense of adventure. Children will find themselves rooting for her success and hoping she find some happiness and connection in her life as she doesn’t seem to have much in the way of friends. She does have a wonderful relationship in Miles so all is not lost.

The action and fast pace will make it easy to stay glued to the pages so you can discover how exactly Penelope is going to shoulder her responsibility of having to save a whole town. Despite its length it felt like a very quick read so I wouldn’t let the number of pages scare off any of the younger readers.

It’s written for and geared towards middle school, older elementary age children and for them it’s written perfectly. I think adults may have some problems but if you have to remember it’s not written for you and the things you find lacking kids think are cool.

I always run these kinds of books by my kids and let them help me review them and they loved it so I based the above opinions on their feelings. They would love to go on more adventures with Penelope.
Profile Image for Elissa Schaeffer.
387 reviews9 followers
February 17, 2018
While I very much enjoyed this, I had--no doubt due to my grown up brain--a bit of a struggle to suspend my disbelief. I guess I wanted to know the whys and hows of the world, which I thought was intended to be a part of our own, and not having that left me feeling slightly dissatisfied. Grown-up brain aside, I thought the story was fun and fast paced. I would have liked Coral's character a bit more fleshed out, but I enjoyed Penelope's character a great deal.

Overall, recommended for grades 4 and up--especially if they have an easier time suspending disbelief than me.
Profile Image for laura c.
63 reviews2 followers
December 2, 2017
This book was a little immature and fast-paced.

The overall story appealed to me, and the main character was someone many people could easily relate to. Also, since the story takes place on a glacier, it would seem like an interesting place to live. Right? Well, the main character tells us about how it really isn't so fun to live on a giant glacier, and how she is all alone in her books.

Overall, this book was a quick, okay read.
Profile Image for Jon Belonio.
1 review
December 27, 2017
Penelope March Is Melting is a book rich in character and heart. The characters from Glacier Cove and beyond go on an adventure that all readers would enjoy. Ruby's voice is definitely heard throughout the tale and he is an artist of words, a master of storytelling. I highly recommend.
Profile Image for Aeicha .
832 reviews100 followers
November 15, 2017
Twelve year old Penelope March is a self proclaimed bookworm whose best friend is her brother Miles. Together, Penelope and Miles live with their distant father in a barely held together shack in the nothing ever happens here town of Glacier Cove. Glacier Cove is your average little town, with shops, a school, and gossips...except Glacier Cove is located on a isolated iceberg floating in the middle of the ocean. And when not so normal and kind of freaky bizarre things begin to happen, Penelope finds herself immersed in an anything but average adventure featuring a kook with a chainsaw, a strange girl, military penguins, magic cookies, and a mysterious and terrifying monster!

Jeffrey Michael Ruby’s Penelope March Is Melting is an imaginative and exciting middle-grade debut! Bursting with a freezer full of laughs, heart, and thrilling adventure, this is certainly a page turner.

With fast-paced action, whimsical and amusing storytelling, a quirky setting, and engaging characters, Penelope March Is Melting is fresh, unforgettable, and captivating. Ruby expertly weaves a story that is anything but predictable, with its zany and wonderfully outlandish twists, turns, and surprises that will thrill young readers. Glacier Cove, the shouldn’t-exist-but-totally-does town on an iceberg, makes for a truly unique and awesomely wacky setting.

Ruby offers readers an eclectic and fun assortment of characters! From bookish, brave Penelope to sunny Miles; mysterious Coral; wackadoodle Buzzardstock; and the most unusual and likable bunch of penguins you’ll ever meet, young readers will be mesmerized by the humor, heart, and strangeness of them all.

With an out-of-the-box setting, exciting adventure, and unforgettable characters, Penelope March Is Melting will make even the hardest to please bookworms smile!
Profile Image for Stormi (StormReads).
1,733 reviews154 followers
November 19, 2017
A whole village lives on an Iceberg and seem for the most part pretty content. Penelope March is sort of an oddball at her school and she loves to read. She wants to ba heroin like the one in her favorite book and she soon will get her chance because something sinister lives under the water and sometimes it even lives on her iceberg.

One day Penelope gets up enough courage to check out the ice house that everyone is afraid of and she meets a very eccentric man named Buzzardstock who likes to make ice sculptures. He tell her and Miles, her brother a story about the sea monster named Nyx who has been melting icebergs for a long time and Buzzardstock fears they are next and he might be right as it seems their little town is melting.

Buzzardstock has some cookies he makes called dream cookies and when she eats one she sees things that happen in the future and they are a very vital part of helping Penelope and Miles towards the end. Penelope is going to get her chance to save her little town and be a heroine.

Penelope is a bit odd but she has a good imagination and I think that helps her along the way. She is quick thinking over all an interesting character. I really feel sorry for them cause they only have turnips to eat and that just doesn’t sound like a great survival food…lol. It has some really eccentric side characters that are a lot of fun!

I thought it was a fun read though at times I got a bit bogged down in the details but if you have young readers who like fun adventures then I think they will enjoy this one!
Profile Image for Nan.
533 reviews2 followers
January 10, 2018
This is a great adventure to save Glacier Cove led Penelope, a funny girl who has read a lot of books with plucky heroines. The story includes my favorite oddball-old-man-in-a-mansion character (Buzzardstock), a fabulously grouchy, mysterious lurking girl (Coral), and many many penguins.
Profile Image for James Garner.
Author 29 books92 followers
May 11, 2018
A wonderful YA tale about a bookish young girl who lives a rather drab, frigid existence on an iceberg. Yes, in the town of Glacier Cove, where it's always frigid and the only staple of the diet is turnips. But when her home is threatened with destruction, she has to screw down her courage and battle an ancient evil with her brother, her local ice sculptor/magician, and a submarine crew of penguins. Fun from beginning to end.
Profile Image for Andréa.
11.2k reviews94 followers
Want to read
April 20, 2021
Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Profile Image for Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*.
6,001 reviews176 followers
February 13, 2019
Penelope March is Melting by Jeffrey Michael Ruby, 310 pages. Delacorte (Random House), 2017, $17.

Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence G



Penelope March seems like an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life on an iceberg. Yep, iceberg. This iceberg has a town with roads, cars, and houses, (though I wondered where the cars came from). Anyway, ordinary Penelope discovers through an eccentric ice-sculptor named Buzzardstock that her town of Glacier Cove is in grave danger from an ancient evil. Penelope also discovers she may have the unique skills to save her town so they don’t have a meltdown. Literally.

Read this book with a cup of hot chocolate or a blanket, because Glacier Cove is cold. Although the premise seems truly weird, Penelope is a likeable character and Glacier Cove is a unique setting that plays well into the storyline. I liked the story more than I thought I would because it addresses some universal themes of fitting in, family issues, and relationships, though the storyline gets pretty bizarre as it wraps up.

Michelle in the Middle, Teacher
Profile Image for Danielle Bush.
884 reviews14 followers
April 12, 2020
I don't normally read middle grade books, but I'm so glad this one caught my eye.. I read it in one sitting, and definitely gave me vibes of the Wayside school series.. with the quarky characters..
I really enjoyed this book and would definitely pick up more from this author in the future..
Profile Image for Barb .
444 reviews33 followers
December 18, 2021
Whimsical fantasy complete with an ice house, magical cookies, a Navy of penguin submariners, and a scary, mystical sea shapeshifter who is out to destroy the world.

I enjoyed it and especially loved the sibling relationship between Penelope and Miles. I'd recommend it for your young reader.
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews

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