Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

I enjoyed Eulberg's second novel, Prom & Prejudice (reviewed here), so when I saw this - her first novel - at the library, I decided to bring it home. (After checking it out - I am such a geek that I felt it necessary to make it clear that I was not swiping books from my local library - what is with me? *headdesk*)

The Lonely Hearts Club tells the story of the unfortunately named Penny Lane Bloom, child of devoted Beatles' fans (with sisters Rita and Lucy). The book starts during the summer between Penny's sophomore and junior year and ends just before Christmas - but what an interesting handful of months are covered, as Penny gets her heart broken and decides to swear off boys for the duration of high school - or at least for most of the duration of the book.

After Nate, Penny's long-time crush, turns out to be a rat - first pressuring Penny to have sex, then being already occupied (ahem) when she decides to surprise him and give in - it's no wonder that she's off boys. And when she gets back to school and we meet guys like Todd, who is horrifying, it's little wonder. Still, it's obvious pretty much from the start that Ryan Bauer (who must be Jack Bauer's younger brother, I'm guessing - heh) is actually a good guy - something that becomes crystal clear well before the middle of the book.

Penny, however, has already formed The Lonely Hearts Club - initially a club with a membership of one, but that rapidly mushrooms to include quite a number of high school girls. And one of the basic tenets of the club is "no dating boys" - so Penny obviously can't date Ryan, right? Well . . . lets just say that complications ensue.

I found the book entertaining, and admire how well Eulberg wove her Beatles references in. The underlying "girl power" message is a good one - all about the importance of not giving up your friends or yourself in order to appeal to a guy, and I think that's why I liked it so well. (My one criticism, which applied to Prom & Prejudice as well, is that the eventual kissing scene is so scant as to be unsatisfying - although I was actually almost okay with it in this book, whereas I really think Prom & Prejudice would have benefitted from a significant smooch at the end. But I digress.)


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