Rating: 3 out of 5
After her childhood love takes her heart and stomps on it, junior Penny Lane Bloom is finally done with those brainless, inconsiderate, selfish jerks known as boys. She starts the Lonely Hearts Club that she will no longer put boys over herself or her friends. News of her club spreads, and suddenly Penny seems to have started a revolution, with over 40 girls from all grades at her school wanting to join.
The girls of the Lonely Hearts Club become good friends and hearty supporters of one another as many of them venture to do things they’ve always wanted to do but we’re afraid to due to peer pressure and societal conventions. Penny should be proud of the “us first!” movement, but there are some romantic snaggles she still needs to work out. Like, what if not ALL high school guys are worthless? Will Penny sacrifice a chance at love just to stay true to the club’s original creeds?
Elizabeth Eulberg’s debut novel THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB is undeniably fluff—but it’s the best kind of fluff, with a likable and realistic protagonist, a predictable yet sweet romance, and an avoidance of typical fluff gender stereotypes.
Penny’s character was deep, no-nonsense, and thus extremely enjoyable. Unlike the typical protagonist in this genre of YA, Penny is happily free of the tendency to obsess over boys or freak out over every little mishap. In fact, the very concept of this novel made sure that it was fluff without the usual “I am nothing without a guy” feel of this genre. Freed of this trope, Penny becomes a remarkably astute, clever, and strong girl, and we like her so much as a result.
The secondary female characters were mostly flat stereotypes and rather annoying. They fail to act as nice counterparts to Penny’s well-developed character. (For the record, “what to the ev” is NOT spoken in real life. And if it is, please stop.) On the other hand, I thought that most of the male characters were interesting to read about, even if their negative qualities tended to be slightly exaggerated in order to justify the formation of the Lonely Hearts Club.
Readers can probably almost instantly pick out Penny’s eventual love interest, but thankfully Penny is not the “love/lust at first swoon” kind of protagonist, and instead we can see the cute, gradual development of their romance and her realization that the original rules of the Lonely Hearts Club can be modified. Most of the plot points contributing to Penny’s eventual eye-opening are cheesy and clichéd, but the strength of the main characters makes sure that this book does not disintegrate into another tries-too-hard-to-be-hip-and-YA chick lit feel-good novel.
Despite the fact that the characters and the plot are rather forgettable, the feeling that this book elicits will stay with you. The core of it is, after all, a story of staying true to yourself and not giving up your identity for the sake of a boy. If anyone wants a quick and easy lighthearted read, I will not hesitate to recommend THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB. A great “fluff” debut!
Kate Brian (Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys)
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5
Cover discussion: 2.5 out of 5 - It's a little too Beatles-y for me, as I am somewhat of a purist and dislike gimmicky things, but the overall composition of the cover is cute, from the girls' outfits to the layout of the font. Definitely cute without being too overboard.
Point / Dec. 29, 2009 / Hardcover / $17.99
Thank you, Chelsy, for sending me a copy for review!
A Guest Post by Elizabeth Eulberg
Best Overall Concert Experience: Without a doubt, if I could only relive one concert experience over again it would be seeing Paul McCartney at Citifield this past July. First because he’s Paul flippin’ McCartney. Second, because every song he played was a classic. Sir Paul performed for nearly three hours (most of the bands I see hardly even play for two!). There were several instances in which I almost cried (especially when he played “Blackbird”) and it will forever be one of the most amazing concerts ever.
Best Concert, non-Beatles category: This was really tough, but seeing Prince at Madison Square Garden a few years ago was fantastic. By the fourth song, I turned to my friend and shouted “Best. Concert. Ever.” I could hardly talk the next day because my voice was so hoarse from singing along to all his classics. I grew up on “Let’s Go Crazy,” “When Doves Cry,” “Kiss,” etc. My favorite part of the show was when Prince was alone on stage with his acoustic guitar and played stripped down versions of several of his songs. That really reminded me of what an accomplished musician he is (and how hopeless I am at the guitar). Runners up: Muse, Green Day, Bruce Springsteen, U2
Best After Concert Experience: I’m a huge Snow Patrol fan. I happen to know someone in their management team and got to briefly meet them last year. This September, they did a concert in New York City and I got to go backstage after the show. The tour manager brought me and my friend to their private room where they were hanging out with their friends. It was very surreal. I have a bit of a crush on the lead singer (that’s an understatement) and he was sitting two seats away from me. We were both having a drink, so I turned to my friend and said, “I’m considering this a date.” They were all very cool and nice guys (especially drummer Jonny Quinn), which is always a relief when you look up to somebody. I waited until we were all leaving to get pictures as I didn’t want to intrude on their personal space. But the best part was when I talking to Gary, the lead singer guy I just had the imaginary date with, he gave me a kiss and said he loved me. So, how can you really top that?
I’ve already got a ton of shows lined up for 2010 and am hoping for a lot more memories. Although I have learned that I need to start wearing earplugs, because what’s the point to going to concerts if you can’t hear the music anymore?
Thanks for the fun (and funny!) guest blog, Elizabeth! Don't forget to check out The Lonely Hearts Club, available in stores and online now. The next stop on Elizabeth's blog tour will be at Presenting Lenore's on January 4, where Elizabeth will blog about her favorite Beatles songs (how can you resist that?) and host a Beatles-themed giveaway! To see the whole blog tour schedule, which runs until January 20, 2010, check out Elizabeth's blog. Thanks for stopping by today, everyone, and have a happy New Year!