Posts tagged ‘thelonelyheartsclub’

July 20th, 2011

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Prom and Prejudice

Author: Elizabeth Eulberg

Published: January 1st, 2011

Number of Pages: 288

Rating: 3/5


After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be — especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.

Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk — so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?

Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? Whatever the result, Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club, has concocted a very funny, completely stylish delight for any season — prom or otherwise. [From Goodreads]


It was bad enough to see friendship and love in terms of politics. But seeing it in terms of business was even worse.


DISCLAIMER: This book is based on Pride and Prejudice and should therefore be judged leniently and not critically compared to the work of Jane Austen. (Duh.)

Because, let’s face it, there’s no winning in a situation like this one. Some people would take one look at Prom and Prejudice and run for their lives. How can a book written in the twenty-first century and written for a teen audience ever compare to the epic Pride and Prejudice? Yet, somehow, my initial doubt faded as I read this book.

Elizabeth Eulberg must have a wide range of interests. I’ve read another of her novels, The Lonely Hearts Club, and it includes tons of references to Beatles songs. Beatles to P&P? Clearly Eulberg’s brain is an interesting specimen, and I admire her for it.

The most enjoyable part of this novel was identifying the parallels between Pride and Prejudice and Prom and Prejudice as I read. Which events correspond with each other? How does Eulberg take a nineteenth century character and shove them into the twenty-first? Does she give them an iPod, North Face jacket, and a vehicle with an engine? I loved seeing my beloved Pride and Prejudice reborn, but not recorded over. It’s evident that Eulberg respects Austen’s version of the story and didn’t want to violate it, but make it more light-hearted and easier for the teens of today to relate to. I’m definitely planning on recommending this to a friend of mine who would as soon read the original version of the story as pee her pants (Honestly. The other day she said to me, “I don’t do Jane Austen.”).

While Prom and Prejudice is a wonderful adaptation of the original, I did have some problems accepting it. For instance, I kept getting caught on the awkward phrases and vocabulary. The characters seem confused as to what time period they’re supposed to be in. Their way of speaking was unnatural. Their sentence structure and vocabulary was modern one second and then, jolt!, some nineteenth century lingo wiggled its way in. The mixture of the two time periods wasn’t as seamless as I had hoped. However, I don’t think many could have done better.

Additionally, there were a few events that are sadly missing in Prom and Prejudice that occurred in Pride and Prejudice. While I understand that this isn’t Austen’s book – it’s Eulberg’s – I did notice and miss the scenes that this book is lacking. There is no Catherine de Bourgh, for example. On the other hand, I was surprised multiple times by the way Eulberg tackled certain storylines. She managed to condense and/or twist things to fit her version of the story, and it all worked together brilliantly in the end. I admire her for the ingenious way she made the tale work for her.

I know that the entire experience was enriched by my prior knowledge of Pride and Prejudice, and I seriously recommend reading Austen’s version first (or at least watching the long movie). I had so much fun drawing comparisons and found much more to admire about the book because I know how difficult the plotting must have been. Eulberg had a lot to live up to, and ultimately, she did an impressive job of remodeling the classic love story and creating something fresh and appealing to both fans of Pride and Prejudice and those people who just don’t do Jane Austen.

May 16th, 2011

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


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]


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.


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?


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.