The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: The Lonely Hearts Club

Author: Elizabeth Eulberg

Published: January 1st, 2011

Number of Pages: 304

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

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… [From Goodreads]

Quote:

I tried to remember what Rita had said about being a bigger person. I could either calmly tell him that he was mistaken or let him have it. I could be the bigger person or I could be like any normal sixteen-year-old.

Like there really was a choice.

“First off, you ever call me a babe again and no medical team on earth will be able to tell that you were once a guy.”

I was only sixteen after all.

Review:

A friend of mine (who is probably one of the most mentioned people on my blog), Miranda Kenneally, recommended The Lonely Hearts Club. I think she knew it was the sort of quaint, unusual story that would interest me. She was right.

The Lonely Hearts Club as a title alone is adorable – after all, who can resist the Beatles? – but it’s really the premise that I think attracts teenage girls. How often do we read about girls in undesirable relationships or stuck in awkward situations because of guys? How often do we hear/read about/see girls pining after boys who are actually total nimrods? And the girls are oblivious?

Often.

And along comes a book about girls who are avoiding said awkward and undesirable situations. What’s not to love? The Lonely Hearts Club is interesting and other boring adjectives of the sort (please excuse my lack of creativity), but ultimately, it’s charming.

Penny Lane Bloom (don’t you just feel the love?) is the ideal protagonist. Feminist but not obnoxiously so, determined, and a teenage girl who has had her fair share of heartbreak and crushes, she’s the sort of person girls my age look up to. I loved reading about the actions she takes to rid herself of those demons she believes are disguised as high school boys. Meanwhile, she unearths a terrible truth – they’re not all that bad. I always enjoy characters whose philosophies are forced to change over the course of the story. I do believe in standards and belief systems, but certain opinions can morph into stubborn prejudices. I admire characters who remain open to other possibilities.

The supporting characters – a majority of which are girls, understandably – are lively and diverse. The two who play a major part in the story are Tracy and Diane, Penny’s closest friends. I loved that these three did their very best to discover the best qualities in the others and help them to nourish and develop those qualities. In fact, that’s what the whole club is about – girls coming together, standing by one another, and working toward the shared goal of happier lives for all. The greatest thing about this scenario is that Elizabeth Eulberg pulls it off without being overly preachy and thereby turning the reader off. I wanted to join!

Clearly, I adored the key concepts of the novel, but there were a few factors that lowered my final rating, namely the prose and some paths the story took. I often found myself unsurprised by the way certain events played out or the actions of particular characters. Sometimes, characters are predictable because they are always in character. Other times, it’s just colorless. People are infamously inconsistent.

In regard to the prose, there was a particular pet peeve of mine present in the book that soured the reading experience for me. Two pet peeves, actually. Eulberg tended to summarize events that had passed. I understand that not everything deserves a full-blown scene, but I felt that the summaries jumped off the page and screamed, well, “Summary!” The other peeve of mine is the overuse of words like “started” and “began.” These two things impede the flow of a sentence, and I end up having to reread them. Aside from these minor annoyances, I have no complaints about the book.

When I finished, I immediately moved on to Eulberg’s Prom and Prejudice. She has a talent for adorably out-of-the-ordinary premises. I’m eager to see what ingenious idea she’ll scrounge up next!

The Lonely Hearts Club is a charming and darling book. I’d recommend it to anyone, but I especially hope a lot of teenage girls pick it up. It’s a story of empowerment on our level – we can all relate to the mess the girls find themselves in and learn from the way they band together to create a web of friendships that really is extraordinary.

2 Commentsto “The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg; Review”

  1. When I was reading this I didn’t really notice the caveats you mentioned, actually, but I totally agree with you on how more girls need to read this kind of book! The Lonely Hearts Club is definitely empowering, even though I haven’t heard any Beatles songs before. 😛

  2. Awh, this does sound really charming! Penny Lame Bloom– love it, plus I'm adoring that cover and the whole Beatles vibe I'm getting 🙂 Lovely review as always

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