Sunday, May 26, 2013

Review: THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB by Elizabeth Eulberg

Author: Elizabeth Eulberg

Publication date: January 1, 2010

Publisher: Point

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. . . .


I can sum this book up in one word: CUTE.

Penny Lane is, yes, named after a Beatles song. All of her sisters are actually, but she considers hers to be the weirdest. Instead of rebelling and getting sick of anything Beatles, she turns to them for comfort or enjoyment of any kind. Thanks to her parents, she knows every Beatles song and probably knows every Beatles fact. Then comes the heartbreak. After catching her longtime crush and short-time official boyfriend cheating on her in her own home, she vows to be off of boys. The only boys allowed are, of course, the Beatles. She calls herself the Lonely Hearts Club and decides to stop dating until she gets out of her high school, which, to her, is filled with brainwashing pigs as guys.

In the amiss of all that, we meet her best friend Tracy, who is so obsessed with getting a boyfriend that she makes a huge list of potential candidates every year. Unlike Penny, Tracy has never had luck with capturing a guy and is a bit desperate. However, that's what made her likable. She wasn't perfect. She was acting like a normal teenager girl (which is pretty sad actually) with a sprinkling of weird. However, I did not like her saying, "What to the evs." It made me twitch.

Another reason why Penny thinks that boys are nothing but trouble is how her falling out with former best friend Diane came to be. After Diane started dating Ryan in seventh grade (seriously?) and continued to date him, Diane started ditching Penny, altering her social life around her boyfriend. Even though Penny doesn't particularly like to be around Diane, we are let known through Tracy that Penny has somewhat flirting conversations with Ryan and player Todd with her being unconscientious about it.  In the beginning of the book, Penny and Diane make up thanks to Ryan and Diane breaking up and Diane apologizing profusely.

While I get an old friendship can be picked up quickly, I felt that part was handled unrealistically. They haven't had a true conversation in years, their relationship was abandoned and so was Penny due to a guy, and suddenly Diane wants to be friends...and it happens? Penny definitely was against it at first, but it didn't take her long to declare that it was easy to be best friends again. Huh.

After each girl close to Penny start hearing about her club and coincidentally has their own frustrating experience with a guy, she starts to gain more members. The club becomes a hot topic at school with some people joining for fame or wrong reasons while others turn their noses up at it, thinking that the girls are pathetic and lonely. Of course, it also doesn't set well with the guys in school.

I loved Penny's narrative and how she tries to organize her life, set boundaries with Nate, and make sure she keeps her friends a priority. I love her relationship with her family and sisters, even if we don't see much of them. Sad novels without parents (If I Stay, maybe?) are good too, but I love the feeling of reading a book where the character has a great relationship with her parents, especially if there's some wit in there. With Penny's narrative, there's definitely wit because she made me smile many times. I love how cute it all is. I especially love how each chapter starts with a Beatles song quote because I adore music. This novel received my love. 

My mother was a small woman, but she carried the wrath of God in her. I didn't like to make her angry. You wouldn't like her when she's angry.

BUT I had a couple negatives. One was the overall boys aspect. Firstly, I disliked how Penny and all the girls claimed that all the boys in their school are jerks/idiots/pigs/etc. Generalizations are unfair and pretty much just suck. It's like picking a couple YA books that treated you badly in the terms of writing or relationships or some pet peeve you had and then declaring that all YA books are the same and that they need to be banned. Ridiculous. I wanted to go walk around Penny's school and find the nice guys that are being lumped into this generalization and give them free ice cream. They didn't deserve it. Thankfully, near-ish the end, Penny realized this as well and tried to mend her wrong ways.

He was a guy. A guy guy. As far as I was concerned, he probably had the dead bodies of small children and puppies hidden in his locker.

On the other side, Todd and some jerky guys were being morons. They guffawed and behaved even worse when the club starting getting popular. I see their indignation, but as a girl, I wanted to spit on them. In addition, I wanted to do even worse to the principal. The principal, who is a guy and I do not think that's a coincidence, was vehemently against the club and claimed that Penny was causing trouble and disrupting the order of things, blah blah blah. Just because you're a guy and a principal gives you no excuse to interfere on a non-school club and try to punish her. I wanted to applaud for her parents who didn't even hesitate to stick up for their daughter.

For the actual jerks who were horrible to their dates/girlfriends.
The last issue I had was I felt that the club was unrealistic. I might be wrong, but I don't see it all rapidly happening like that in a high school. There were a few other instances that was cheesy movie-worthy. You know, where everyone forms together and cheers on someone and miraculously, the person overcomes some obstacle because she had people cheering her on. Whatever. I'll excuse it, Ms. Eulberg, because I enjoyed your novel.

The family closeness, cuteness, song references, and the fun aspect of this book made up for the unrealistic elements, jerks, and eye-roll-worthy actions and statements. Like I said, it was cute.

Verdict: a fun, cute novel that sucked me in with a couple irritations, but was a really great break from reality. 


  1. I LOVE ELIZABETH EULBERG! I actually still have to read this one by her, but I love love love all of her other ones!

  2. Yep, I pretty much agree with everything here. It was highly unrealistic, but very much a fluffy and enjoyable read. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, because I tend to round up halves. It was really about a 3.5 for me. Everyone needs a candy read from time to time. They're just plain fun!

    And Tracy's little catchphrases drove me INSANE!!

    1. AGREED! Oh my goodness, I wanted to strangle her whenever she said her catchphrases.

  3. This does sounds cute and a little cheesy, Sunny. I'm happy to hear that the parents are not dreadful in this YA read. A refreshing departure from so many YA novels lately. I'm so glad they stuck up for their daughter to the principal! Glad you enjoyed this overall, even with some issues. You gave me a giggle when you said you wanted to spit on these boys! Great review! :)

  4. I love the Beatles so much! I NEED to read this!

  5. I've had this on my shelve for literally 4 years, no jokes. And I've decided its time to read it. Lovely Review, I love your GIFS.

  6. Cute sounds amazing, I need to add to tbr

  7. I love CUTE books, especially with the warmer weather upon us. Sounds like a great sitting-on-the-porch-reading-in-the-sun type of book. :)

  8. I LOVE The Beatles. :) I have a couple of Elizabeth Eulberg novels on my shelf just 'cause they sounded cute, but I haven't gotten to them yet, but I kind of think I might want this one to be my first of hers. Especially if this is her debut. :) Great review, Sunny! I'm glad you had such fun with the book. It sounds absolutely adorable!

  9. This book definitely requires suspension of disbelief, but it is so fun that it somehow works.

    Penny condemning all boys really is annoying, though. While it is part of the plot, her ideas about them could have been written a little more realistically and in a way that did not make me want to shake the main character. I am constantly calling books out on stereotyping.

    However, this book really is enjoyable and I am glad you liked it better than the author's most recent title. :)

    1. Yes! I hated stereotypes in the first place, but after my sociology class, I hate them even more.

  10. Oh, yes! This book is really cute, but yeah it's pretty stereotypical. I did enjoy it, though. Awesome review, Sunny! (: