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...
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Everyone! Except maybe guys...
High point: Penny Bloom's positive and fresh attitude
Low point: Not having a Lonely Hearts Club at my high school
Reader maturity: 13+
The Lonely Hearts Club is one of the few contemporary YA novels that I fully and wholeheartedly recommend. It's fun, vibrant and fresh, with a voice that almost everyone can relate to.
In short, the main character, Penny Lane Bloom, fed up with guys and their games, decides not to date until after high school. This causes some problems among the boys, but the girls find a sense of peace and self. One of the things that makes The Lonely Hearts Club stand out from the crowd is that Penny Lane is a moderate leader; she doesn't participate in guy-bashing and she's willing to consider compromises and changes to the rules as needed to accommodate the evolving ideology of the group. She works hard to create a positive environment for her fellow girls and reacts to the nay-sayers with poise and dignity. She makes some mistakes, of course, but while she never falls into the immature adolescent trap, neither is she a stick in the mud or too old for her age.
The girls she surrounds herself with are phenomenal. A relationship with an old enemy was pulled off smoothly, and I was so, so pleased with the outcome. The spurned guys in the novel felt so real in their immaturity and general high-school-guy-ishness. They weren't evil or stupid or plain boorish; Elizabeth Eulberg made them feel like real people too, albeit with evil, stupid, boorish tendencies. Enjoyably, the novel has an undercurrent of humor based on everyday high school observations, and I laughed aloud more than once, gulping the entire book down in one sitting.
I ended the novel wishing that there had been a Lonely Hearts Club at my high school. I think everyone would have benefited from the camaraderie and friendship. The Lonely Hearts Club is not only a great book for YA readers of all ages, it's also appropriate for everyone who might be interested.
Title: The Lonely Hearts Club
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Genre: Fiction - Contemporary
Book Source: Won from Reading Angel