Title: The Lonely Hearts Club
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher: Point – Scholastic, Inc.
Release Date: December 29, 2009
Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows: no more. It’s a personal choice. . .and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born: The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways . . . which is too bad, because there’s this certain boy she can’t help but like. . .
This is possibly the best book I’ve reviewed all summer, and not (necessarily) in a screaming, I-need-a-sequel way, either. Instead, this was a cute, sweet, and clever novel with realistic characters, a mostly light-hearted theme, and a fantastic story that left feeling happy after I finished it. Pure romance novels, even for young adults, aren’t my favorite books, but this book certainly pulled out all the stops. Plus, the whole coming-of-age aspect to it and the focus on friendship, not just romantic entanglements, made it super easy to read – in just a few short hours (like, 2), I went through the book, and am seriously considering making this the next book I buy – and I don’t buy nooks often!
The characters were awesome. I loved Penny and her family; she had so much voice and personality as a narrator, which made it so easy to fall into the story, and even though her family is only in a few scenes, it wasn’t at all hard to fall in love with them, too (and I love the whole Beatlemania that comes into play, not only with her family, friends, and romance, but also in setting the stage for the readers with the lyrics intertwined with the writing, the title, the sections of the book, even the cover modeled after the Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover – can you tell I love the Beatles? Although not, I may add, as obsessively as the Bloom family). Her friends Tracy and Diane were awesome, too. I loved how their friendship grew and developed over the course of the book as Penny changed – it’s rare to find that in books, but Eulberg does an excellent job of it. Plus, all the other girls in the Club were wonderful. I loved the whole premise of the book, but without those girls to pull it off, this book could have been a terrible read. Luckily, Eulberg is a freaking fantastic writer, and her publishers let the world know with this book.
I’ve completely ignored the guy characters, though. Ryan, of course, is amazing: great personality, and even when he and Penny are fighting, he was my second-favorite character (right after Penny herself). And then the other guys – Principal Braddock, Todd, and Mate, mostly – even though they were jerks, made great characters and intensified the emotion that came out during a lot of scenes in the book – mostly righteous anger and indignation, but then that made the warm and fuzzies even more special when they came along, too (like the ending)!
As predictable as some of the relationships and plot points were, I loved it – the writing really sucks you in, despite knowing some of what’s going to happen. As a reader, blogger, and attempted writer, I give Eulberg my highest commendations and hope that continues to publish stories like this – light, happy, romantic reads that perpetuate happiness. These books definitely make the world a better place.
~ Yours Truly
*Note: Due to mild language and some sexual references, I do not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 13.