The Lonely Hearts Club
By Elizabeth Eulberg
Point, 2011. 290 pages. Young adult fiction.
Penny Lane Bloom (named after an album by her parents' favorite band, the Beatles) is tired of having her heart broken by boys. So she decides to take action. Using the Beatles for her own inspiration, she starts the Lonely Hearts Club, a support group for girls who are ready to give up on the high school dating scene and wait until college, when boys will be more mature and treat them with respect. Before she knows it, girls are flocking to her Saturday night meetings, eager to meet up with girls who want to be able to be themselves and not just hang on the arm of the cutest guy at school. But things start to get out of hand when the Principal bans the club as exclusionary. And, even more problematic, Penny discovers that her best guy friend may be trying to ask her out - all to the outrage of the Club. Will the Lonely Hearts survive the crisis?
I love Elizabeth Eulberg's writing and this book was an adorable example of her ability to get into the heads of teens and see what is really happening. The characters are likeable and believable and it is enjoyable to see Penny evolve as she comes to understand that her initial broken-hearted anti-man stance may have been a little precipitate. But it also shows how important it is for girls to have girl friends and a firm understanding of who they are. Overall, it was a fun read with a really good message.