By Elizabeth Eulberg
Date Published: December 29, 2009
Love is all you need...or is it? Penny's about to find out. 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 non-dating ways...which is too bad, because there's this certain boy she can't help but like.....After reading Prom and Prejudice and now The Lonely Hearts Club, I can conclude that maybe Elizabeth Eulberg just isn't the author for me. I found that I didn't cringe while reading The Lonely Hearts Club as much as I did with Eulberg's sophomore effort, but this novel still felt empty. It was typical young adult fare, running on dialogue that was cheesy and forced, even for teens (for example: "what to the evs"...) and descriptions of everyone's outfits, from that "sequined belt" to that "white fitted tee and navy blue corduroy blazer."
Also, I know that "anyways" is accepted colloquially, but it really bothered me seeing it in print so many times. The use of "anyways" instead of the proper "anyway" is sort of a pet peeve of mine, so the fact that Eulberg uses it in more than a couple of instances really stood out and threw me off.
But I would be lying if I didn't admit that I did enjoy parts of this book; the writing definitely picked up in the latter half, though it remained completely predictable. I did appreciate how Eulberg stresses the importance of friendship and girl power. Too much of YA these days stresses the importance of romance over familial relationships and platonic friendships. And while The Lonely Hearts Club ends up the same way most young adult novels do (SPOILER: with the girl getting the guy... which isn't really a giveaway at all), it does a good job of making sure that Penny, the heroine, is firm in staying true to herself and maintaining her friendships. She isn't letting her new relationship take over her life.
What initially interested me in this book, and kept me interested, was its many allusions to the Beatles. I loved The Lonely Hearts Club, Penny's eccentric Beatles-obsessed parents, Abbey the stuffed walrus, the song references. I have Eulberg to thank for my rediscovery of the band, and I'm definitely blasting their music right now!