Title: The Lonely Hearts Club
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Series: The Lonely Hearts Club #1
Publisher: Point, an imprint of Scholastic
Publication Date: January 1, 2010
Age Group/Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary, Romance
Love is all you need… or is it? Penny’s about to find out in this wonderful debut.
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. . . .(Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)
Get Your Pitchforks…
This was my first Elizabeth Eulberg book to read, and I know that a lot of my friends and fellow bloggers LOVE her books. But I have to say that this book just really didn’t do it for me. I didn’t hate it by any means, but I had some issues.
I loved that The Lonely Hearts Club had its own automatic soundtrack. Every time a Beatles song or lyric was mentioned, that song would play in my head for a while, and all the songs became a sort of mental soundtrack as I read.
I also liked the fact that Penny wanted to make that year about herself, and that she was seeing the guys in her school in a new way, and also seeing the other girls in the school do nothing but fawn over all the other guys. It’s so true that females, especially in high school, waste too much physical energy and mental energy on potential boyfriends. And I loved that Penny recognized this and wanted to stay away from it. But…
While this book is about girl power and becoming your own person without needing a man, I felt like it didn’t reach its full potential in that aspect. While Penny does kind of get out of the “I must have a boyfriend” funk, her friend Tracy keeps pulling her back in that direction. And while some of the time Penny observes what Tracy is doing with a new clarity, other times she just goes along with it.
And at the club meetings and when they get together at lunch, etc., most of their conversations are about boys. Sure, there are snippets where they talk about things like Diane quitting cheerleading and trying out for basketball (Diane was really the only girl who took the “living for me” attitude to heart), they always went back to talking about boys.
I am totally for women putting themselves first, and figuring out what they want to do with their lives, regardless if they have a significant other. And I loved that this book put a spotlight on that. And I do firmly believe that if you start putting yourself first and stop trying to find a relationship, sometimes a relationship will end up finding you, because of that self-confidence that you have gained. And I liked that The Lonely Hearts Club showed that as well.
[SPOILER ALERT] But I also feel that, with the fact that Penny ended up with a guy in the end (as did other girls in the club), it didn’t really show that it is OKAY to NOT find a guy. It’s perfectly okay and normal to NOT have a boyfriend in high school or college. It’s OKAY to be 50 and not married. I think I would have enjoyed it more if Penny had ended up on her own, and was 100% fine with that. Then again, it’s a young adult book and I realize that most young adult books have some kind of relationship in them, and most people who read these kind of books would want Penny to end up in a relationship. But, it’s also a perfectly normal and acceptable thing for girls to not have significant others in high school, and I want to read a book where that is highlighted. I thought maybe this book would go that way, but it didn’t. [END SPOILER]
I also had a few other issues, but they were minor, so I won’t go into them here.
My rating for The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg:
3 stars. It reminded me of Shut Out by Kody Keplinger, but I enjoyed The Lonely Hearts Club more. I just wanted more from this book, and I felt like it didn’t live up to its potential. But be sure to check out some of the reviews I’ve listed below–they all really enjoyed this book!
Disclaimer: I purchased this book myself. I was not compensated in any way for this review.