Penny Lane Bloom is convinced that she and her childhood sweetheart, Nate Taylor, are destined to be together. Nate has been a lot of firsts for Penny: the first guy she kissed, the first guy with whom she held hands, and the first guy to give her a Valentine’s Day card. Each summer Penny Lane eagerly anticipates their family’s joint vacation and the many hours she will get to spend exclusively with Nate. As both Penny and Nate grow up, her feelings for him intensify and Penny decides it’s time for them to experience another “first” together. When Penny walks in on Nate half-naked with another girl, all of her hopes and dreams go up in flames.Penny begins to ponder on all of her past relationships, coming to the conclusion that guys just aren’t worth it. Inspired by her love for the Beatles, she forms The Lonely Hearts Club and becomes its sole member. All around McKinley High, other girls relate to Penny’s heartaches and want to join her club – including Penny’s ex-best friend, Diane. Before she knows it, Penny has a huge following. The girls will soon learn that it’s not so easy to ignore the objects of their hearts’ desire. Even Penny herself cannot ignore the growing feelings she’s experiencing for a jock who is so much more than he seems. Will Penny and her friends stay true to The Lonely Hearts Club, or will they give love a second chance?
The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg explores not only love and heartbreak, but also the bonds of female friendship. With so many teen books revolving around backstabbing friends and catty lead characters, Penny Lane and her friends are a refreshing change. Even though Penny and some of her friends get a romantic happy ending, they still respect and honor The Lonely Hearts Club and all that it has meant to them. When given the opportunity to spend time with a boy or their girl friends, so many teens will often choose the boyfriend over their best friends. If there is only one thing a teen takes away from reading The Lonely Hearts Club, I would hope for it to be a lesson about friendship.
Even though The Lonely Hearts Club was 290 pages, the story within was satisfying. I enjoyed the banter and flirtation between Penny and Ryan, and applauded Penny for putting her grudge against Diane behind her and working out their differences. As an adult reader who loves Young Adult fiction, I found this to be one of the best YA books I have read in the last year. Not only did Eulberg create an engaging story, but she created characters that adult readers’ younger selves would have easily related to.
For more information, please visit Elizabeth Eulberg’s website.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Big Honcho Media. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.