Penny Lane (yes, as in The Beatles song) is just sick of guys. After one particularly nasty break-up with her childhood friend Nate, she forms The Lonely Hearts Club and resolves never to date another high school guy. After all, all they do is jerk you around, treat you like dirt, make you change who you are, and cause you to abandon your true friends. What Penny doesn't expect is most of the girls at her school happily flocking to her new club...and people (namely, the principal and the guys) getting angry at her. And then of course, there is the tiny matter of a certain very nice, very cute boy that Penny can't seem to get off of her mind...
The Lonely Hearts Club is a kick-butt, fun, and powerful read that isn't just about the romantic ups and downs of teen dating and swearing off guys, but about friendship and loyalty and never allowing a boyfriend to compromise who you are or make you give up your girlfriends. The many dating dynamics in the book are so, so true, which makes it an easy and enjoyable novel to get into, and Penny's witty voice will make you laugh and cringe with her at the same time, especially as the many girls share their dating woes (who knew guys could be so mean?). Penny's club is unconventional, but it is so fantastic to see how she turns her pain at rejection by guys into something positive and fun for the girls in her school, and it won't fail to entertain at the same time as despite her best intentions, Penny just can't stop liking guys. The Lonely Hearts Club is not about moping around; it's about boys, The Beatles, picking yourself back up again and coming out stronger, and being the better person (most of the time). It'll leave you downloading The Beatles' music and wanting to form your own Lonely Hearts Club. Thank you, Elizabeth Eulberg.
Cover Comments: I love, love, love this cover! The Abbey Road spin-off is cute, and it's very fitting considering all of the many, many Beatles references. I also like how the tastes of each girl are as varied as the characters. The only thing I don't really care for is the font of the title. It's just too swirly for me, and since the rest of the cover has such a presence and attitude, it just doesn't fit. Other than that, this book really stands out!
on February 21, 2010
At some pivotal moment in their life, every teenage girl will come to the point where she will become fed up with boys and their typical immature shenanigans. Some might even go so far as to completely swear off the male sex for a certain period of time. A very few others will possibly not only stop dating boys, but they will encourage all their friends to do so and will then create a club where they can celebrate their self-induced single-ness with other like-minded females. Our hero, Penny Lane Bloom belongs to the last category.
After finding herself with a broken heart yet again, Penny decides to swear off boys (except the Beatles) until after high school, choosing instead to focus on herself and her girlfriends by creating The Lonely Hearts Club (so named after the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album). Penny couldn't be happier with her new found freedom, even if she is only a club of one. But word of Penny's new club spreads quickly among the girls of her school who are also eager to shed their boy-troubles and Penny quickly finds herself on the outs with nearly every boy, some particularly catty girls, and even her principal.
There were several things to love about Elizabeth Eulberg's debut novel The Lonely Hearts Club. First off, any novel that takes not only its title but several character names and a 'date' to a Beatles impersonators concert from the Fab Four cannot help but be entertaining. Additionally, I adore the lighthearted cover with its modern girly Abbey Road inspired cover. I also applaud Eulberg for creating some strong female characters who recognize the futility of centering their lives around the whims of immature males who go on to get good grades, join sports teams, and who understand the value of female friendship. Thank you for that.
As much as I enjoyed Penny and the girls, I often found myself wondering if The Lonely Hearts Club had been written about eight years ago after listening to Penny's best friend repeatedly say "what to the ev" (gag) or how the girls applied shimmer powder before going to party. Shimmer powder? Yeah, that kind of stopped happening with anyone over the age of 10 after 2006. And those are only a few small details. I had issues with the basically nonexistent parents who were essentially present only to lend Penny her Beatles infatuation and the unbelievably unsupportive Principal who would have been slapped with several lawsuits quicker than you can say "advanced placement." And as much as I was rooting for Penny, though many of her exchanges with friends could sometimes be described as light and fun, they were usually awkward and extremely after-school-special unrealistic. Which I found extremely sad since all the components for making The Lonely Hearts Club into something really entertaining were right there. In the end, Penny and her club just failed to turn it into something more than a predictable 90's sitcom.
Penny's parents are Beatles fanatics - in fact, they love the Beatles, so much, they named their daughters Lucy (in the Sky with Diamonds), Rita (the Lovely Meter Maid) and Penny Lane after Beatles songs.
When Penny discovers her boyfriend cheating on her, she decides she's sick of boys and all the aggravation they cause her. She swears off boys (until she's out of high school, anyway) and decides to form a club. What better name than The Lonely Hearts Club since she's grown up in a Beatles culture? To be a member you must:
* stop dating boys while you're in high school
* attend all couple events (such as Homecoming, parties, etc) as a group
* attend Saturday night meetings
* be supportive of friends, even when they make bad choices
The Lonely Hearts Club turns out to be more popular than Penny ever imagined, but it also causes problems. The boys at her high school aren't crazy about it and the principal thinks it's disruptive. Things really start to heat up for Penny, though, when she starts to like a certain boy. Penny and her club learn a lot about life in just a few months.
The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg is delightful YA book! I thought Penny was a great character. Sure, she makes mistakes, but she picks herself up and moves on with her life when she does. Her friends are great, too - each with their own strengths and weaknesses. I really enjoyed the time I spent with the members of The Lonely Hearts Club. I also enjoyed all the Beatles references throughout the book. Having said that, you don't need to know a lot about the Beatles to enjoy this book.
I love the message that this book gives young girls. It lets them know that it's great to have a guy in your life, but it's fine if you don't. It encourages them to be themselves and not try to be who they think someone else wants them to be. It tells them they should support each other and not abandon their girlfriends when a guy comes along.
There is a little bit of talk about sex in The Lonely Hearts Club, so I would probably recommend it for 7th or 8th grade and up. (I may be off on this, though, since it's been a while since I've been around a middle schooler.)
on February 21, 2014
This book is actually the reason I read Prom & Prejudice (my first Elizabeth Eulberg book AND one of the first books I reviewed when I really started blogging!) But... I had never actually read The Lonely Hearts Club! I bought it for my middle school library when it came out. I put it on my "New Books!" shelf and a student checked it out. She loved it and told a friend to check it out. They did. Then they had another friend read it and so on and so forth. Pretty soon it had a hold line. That has never happened with a book I didn't book talk before (or since!) I knew I had to read it... and I finally have!
First, I feel like I should mention that I am a huge Elizabeth Eulberg fan. She is a Wisconsin girl like me (check back for more on that tomorrow!) I've met her a number of times and she is super fun to be around. Plus, her books are awesome. The Lonely Hearts Club is no exception. I would have adored it even if I'd never met the author.
I think one of my favorite parts about Elizabeth Eulberg's books is the humor. This one was no exception. I loved the main character's Beatles obsessed parents (and how the obsession was past to her, too!) I loved the jokes and banter between the girls. I loved the idea of the nondating club! It was all so fun! It really made the story fly. I read it in one sitting, almost without stopping. Eulberg's writing is fresh and I just really enjoy her style. It left me feeling very content when I read the last page (not that I wouldn't love more Penny Lane and company!)
The friendship between the different girls in the story was another aspect I loved. High school can be so mercurial. Friendships and relationships can change by the hour. Who didn't know someone who dropped plans with her friends for a guy? Or someone who was just doing what everyone expected of them? I liked seeing how the events of this book and having the support of The Lonely Hearts Club helped the girls really focus on who they wanted to be and what they wanted in their lives. Be who you want to be, not who others want to see! That's a message I want my students to walk away with!
If you're looking for a delightful read full of friendship, romance and everything that comes with the two, The Lonely Hearts Club is for you. Also, how awesome is that cover?!?!?
on June 2, 2013
I tried starting this book a long while ago, and stopped because I didn't like it. I started it again, thinking to at least get through it, and found that what I didn't like about it before didn't bother me, but something else did.
At first, I didn't like the writing. I thought it sounded very immature teenager. I didn't think so on my second read. What bothered me the second time, though, was the message being sent.
So, Penny gets her heart broken and decides she's done with boys. And then she pushes her friends into joining her in a club that is very anti-boy, named after a Beatles song. At first, some of her friends are wary, but then they get hurt in one way or another by a boy, and so they join. Because, of course, boys are horrible creatures, right? Not even human, really. They're the problem to everything.
Okay, so there isn't actually very much boy-hate talk going on. But, while this sounded like it could have turned into a `go girls!' feminist type of book, or even one where the message is that women don't need men and can feel completely whole without them, that message wasn't really pushed, nor did it really even come to a head. The only thing that seemed to last, was that the girls decided that they weren't going to choose boys over their friends anymore. And I don't really think that's quite as powerful or important. I understand that not choosing a boy over your friends is important, but I don't think that's as important to push as not to choose anyone over yourself, which wasn't really even mentioned.
And, yea, it really annoyed me the way some of the girls jumped to the conclusion that men are horrible, devil-spawns, to blame for everything. Especially when some of the girls jumped to that conclusion much too quickly. For instance, when one of the girls decides that this boy she likes doesn't like her, without even having a conversation with him, she gives up and joins the club, deciding that boys aren't worth it. And I just didn't understand her reasoning, or believe it, and I thought that it was dumb. A lot of their talk and reasons, to me, were kind of dumb. And kind of pissed me off at times.
Also, the club gets very big, and we met a lot of different girls. And I guess we were supposed to actually remember a lot of them, know who they are, get the hints about their personal lives. I didn't. There were too many with too little time shown to them.
Then there was the fact that a lot of the boys were complaining, and Penny got in trouble with the principal at one point because of what she was doing, even though it was none of their business. Her mother stuck up for her at that point, though, which was very nicely done.
The only reason the rating isn't as low as it could have been, is that I did like the ending. And I liked the boy. Also, I liked Diane, an old friend of Penny's, who starts finding herself after breaking up with her long-time boyfriend. I actually liked Diane and her relationship with everyone, including her old boyfriend, more than I liked Penny.
I don't have a whole lot else to say. The feminist part of me just raged a bit at this book. But I liked some of the characters, and I liked the ending. I'm not very eager to read any of Eulbergs' other books, but I might pick one up at some point.
[This review is also available on my blog, among many others.]
"Think for yourself 'cause I won't be there with you." -- George Harrison, 1965
You've just got to love the cover, which is a spoof of the Beatles' 1969 Abbey Road album cover. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but I think I did when I judged that this would be one I would like! It's a riot!
Penny Lane, who shares her name with a 1967 Paul McCartney with the Beatles classic is so over boys. (Her two sisters are Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds and Lovely Rita. I'm surprised one wasn't named Michelle). After a traumatic breakup with her former boyfriend Nate, she forms The Lonely Hearts Club minus Sgt. Pepper. She swears off high school boys as she feels they don't show proper respect for women. Other girls join her club in droves. Her school principal, who is a man naturally chafes at the club as do the male students. Penny Lane does have a change of lonely heart when she meets a boy with a Beatle haircut. Something in the way he moves, perhaps? "I left you far behind/The ruins of the life that you have in mind./And though you still can't see/I know your mind's made up/You're gonna cause more misery." George Harrison, 1965 from "Think For Yourself"
Penny and her Hearts are in-your face and live by John Lennon's credo in "Instant Karma" about how Instant Karma's gonna get you, gonna knock you right in the face. She is somewhat Lennonesque with her in-your-face rebellion and delightfully zany wit. Like John Lennon, she and her fellow Hearts refuse to compromise their true voices and identity and swear off pretending to agree with someone just to win them over or pacify them. Any time somebody gives up their honest voice by pretending to be something they are not and by saying they agree with something they do not, they are stifling their identity. I hate that kind of toadying behavior and Penny and her Hearts wisely empower themselves to dodge that self-defeatist behavior. John Lennon's 1971 "Crippled Inside" is a good anti-toady song. At no time do the Hearts sacrifice their voices. That makes one think of John Lennon's greeting, "John here, speaking with his voice!" from the 1963 Beatles' Christmas album. What an empowering statement!
The Hearts' theme song could be Paul McCartney's late 1977 hit, "I've Had Enough! (I can't put up with any more)." All Long & Winding Roads lead to the Beatles and that is what makes this book such a treat.
"Although your mind's opaque, try thinking more if just for your own sake.
The future still looks good and you've got time to rectify all the things that you should." -- George Harrison, 1965 from "Think For Yourself"
The sheer genius of this book, with its empowering story, strong characters and WONDERFUL plethora of Beatle references will delight readers, whether they are Beatle fans or not. Beatle fans will especially enjoy this because not only will they "get" the Beatle references, they will love them! Aspie Beatle fans will love Penny's parents who, while the word is never mentioned are plainly Aspies with the Beatles as a special interest.
Penny is delightfully funny and she bravely shares some horrific experiences. To make a good thing even better, she was born on Beatles' Day, February 7, the anniversary of the day the Beatles came to America! The daughter of two ardent inveterate Beatle fans, Penny develops a love for the Beatles early and even wants a Hey Bulldog for a pet. The social dynamics and social hierchy are given in plain terms and the story is one that pulls you in right away. You will travel down the Long & Winding Road with Penny Lane and her fellow Hearts as they get by with a little help from their friends as they learn that in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. The Hearts convert "A Hard Day's Night" into a "Good Day Sunshine" and soon are singing "I Feel Fine." The Beatles remain a comforting presence throughout the book and a driving force that impels Penny and her fellow Hearts as well.
A heartfelt kudos and thank you to Elizabeth Eulberg. These delightful characters are wonderfully empowering and the Beatle humor brings big smiles to readers' faces. No doubt readers will take some ideas away after having read this book. If you listen to the Beatles while reading this work by this gifted Paperback Writer, you will increase your reading pleasure.
John Lennon's 1970 "Instant Karma," Paul McCartney's 1977 "I've Had Enough" and George Harrison's 1965 "Think For Yourself" underscore a good portion of this book. So do these Beatle classics: "I'll Be Back," "She Loves You," "This Boy," "It Won't Be Long" and "The Long & Winding Road" which are the soundtrack of this book together with "I Want to Tell You," a 1966 George Harrison classic. This gets a high endorsement and a hearty yeah, yeah, yeah from me! I love this book!
on July 28, 2011
Sometimes I really want a light-hearted book without all the angst and drama of a lot of the popular YA books/genres out there right now, and to get a good girl-power message - even better. That's exactly what I got with Elizabeth Eulberg's debut novel, THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB, plus I got a little Beatles nostalgia along with it. I was drawn to it as soon as I heard the plot summary, but of course, the cover sold me on getting it in hardcover - it's so fun!
This book is a story with an independent high school junior girl main character who gets treated badly by a boy she's had a crush on for a long time. The girl - Penny Lane (a Beatles song of course since her parents are huge fans) - decides she's not going to deal with one more boy treating her badly, so she swears off dating for the rest of high school. Thus starts the lonely hearts club (inspired of course by the Beatles' Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band). Once word gets out, other girls decide they don't want to deal with immature boys who treat them badly either, and they see how much fun the girls in the club are having, so the club gets a reputation around the school.
There's a really important message coming out of reading this story - it's not just about not dealing with the boy drama, but it's more about what it means to be a good friend to the girls around you. It's about keeping your friends honest, being there for each other, and not letting boys change your priorities. The club's rules say that a girl can't change who she is for a guy, she can't ditch her friends for a guy, she can't let a guy take over her whole life and forget about her friends - what a great message to send teen girls who need to remember that when they get to high school and boy drama and pressure becomes so much more of a part of their lives.
I think the highlight about this book for me was that even though it deals with the typical boyfriend drama of high school girls, it's done in a unique way in which the girls still get to be strong characters. I do wish some of the secondary characters had the chance to be developed a little more fully because they had the potential to really add to the story more than they were able to with the length of the book, but it was it will be an accessible book for many adolescent girls - and it doesn't cross the line into mature content. I loved this book for it's light-heartedness, great message, and fun story (with a Beatles twist) and am glad I found it.
Review originally posted on Heise Reads & Recommends
on March 28, 2011
When Penny Lane Bloom's heart is broken by the one person she never suspected, she swears off guys ... forever. Or at least until she's out of high school, which ever comes first. Enter The Lonely Hearts Club - a club that focuses more on strengthening the bonds between friends than strengthening relationships with the opposite sex.
Penny Lane doesn't set out to make a statement, instead she sets out to find out who she really is, and to make the most of her remaining time in high school. But when the word of The Lonely Heart Club spreads, she has more club members than her basement could fit, a statement is exactly what she makes.
But when romantic sparks start to flare between Penny Lane and a friend, will it mean the end of The Lonely Hearts Club, or will it mean the end of the Penny Lane we've all come to know and love?
Elizabeth Eulberg's debut novel is unforgettable. Its full of honest emotions, laugh out loud moments, and most of all a lot of heart. The Lonely Hearts Club is extremely well written, and is full of characters that are insightful, smart, and one of a kind. Readers will be able to identify and sympathize with Penny Lane and her fellow Lonely Hearts Club members.
It's a real girl powered read, and one that any music fan - especially a Beatles fan - could really appreciate!
on November 4, 2012
The Lonely Hearts Club is about girl power and being a die hard Beatles fan. That's pretty much it. The heroine Penny Lane has sworn off boys for the rest of her high school career (she's a junior) because Nate, a boy she loved and trusted broke her heart.
So she decides to create The Lonely Hearts Club for girls who are sick of guys breaking their hearts. OK, what to the evs? (as Tracy would say but who talks like that?) You know right off the bat that swearing off boys is no easy task but Penny makes it sound like it's a simple walk in the park. And while I can see how some girls would join this club to get a break from dating it's totally unrealistic for pretty much all the girls in the high school to join a club that swears off boys. That I just cannot see happen.
Also Penny Lane just annoyed me. She's a walking contradiction and doesn't make sense. She says she will never date again in high school but she secretly likes Ryan but denies this countless times when it's so freaking obvious that she likes him and he likes her from the get go.
Penny and Ryan's friendship is also something that is contradicting and confusing to me. It's because of Ryan that Penny lost her best friend Diane and while Penny pretty much avoided Diane for the past four years, she would talk to Ryan and even flirt with him that does not even make sense when he's the reason she lost her best friend to begin with.
Penny's talk of "all boys are the scum of the earth" got old really really fast. I just hated how she sounded all high and mighty when she acted just like the boys she claimed were scum. She's mad when Tracy's crushes won't give her a second look but Penny does this to Tyson a guy she thinks isn't worth a second glance but clearly he is. In all relationships the girls are innocent victims while the guys break the girls' hearts.
This book just had too much girl power in it and the girls were abusing it. In addition, all the Beatles references were used way too much. I think all the readers get it, Penny and her family are die hard Beatles fans so the author could have gave the Beatles a rest once in a while instead of mentioning them every couple pages.
So I'm sad to say that while a tiny part of me liked this, the rest of me just couldn't. I give this book two stars.
on August 2, 2015
Genre: YA Contemporary
Read: August 1, 2015
As opposed to my 3-star rating, this book was not necessarily horrible. The trouble is, this book reads more of a middle-grade rather than Young Adult. I am a huge fanatic of YA contemporary, and have read so much from the genre to compare this book to. Where other contemporary novels focus on family and character development, this story focuses on the pettiness of relationships and the bashing of boys which I found entirely juvenile.
The main character, Penny Lane, was just way too immature and I found her and her group of friends a gossipy/ backstabbing bunch. To me, the love interest was quite obvious when the book first started even if the character is sworn off boys. Plus, i found nothing special about the guy and he seemed too perfect to me. In fact, all the characters were exaggerated and completely unrealistic. Penny is a complete Mary Sue and everyone is crushing on her. Her friends are over reactive and act as if everyone cares what they do. Penny's parents were also flat characters and seemed like cardboard cutouts. Also, I dint see why a main character has to fall in love with their best friend. Can't there be any platonic relationships between boy/girl in YA?
The premise did seem immature, but I assumed since it was a YA novel that it'd have background messages like feminism. However, the story just feel flat. The author could've done so much with this topic to move people, but that didn't happen for me. The concept had so much potential, but the author deliver. Iv'e read one of Elizabeth's books Better Off Friends, and completely loved the story and characters, and would recommend it anyone reading YA Contemporary. Compared to Elizabeth's other book, this book is very shallow and on-the-surface, where the other is deep and lovely.
Overall, this novel had potential and could've conveyed so much if not for its predictable story line and over-the-top characters.
Recommend: To middle school students.