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“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
Summary: Penny Lane is the kind of girl most aspire to be: independent-minded, free-spirited, and as charismatic as they come. Much like the song her Beatles-crazed parents named after her, nobody can seem to get her out of their head. Every guy falls for Penny. Three young men try to woo her. She is in their ears and eyes, but not always with a nod toward respect. After her childhood sweetheart breaks her heart again, Penny vows that she will quit boys cold turkey. No more falling in love and the suffering that comes with it. Penny's best friend Tracy (who is equally boy crazy) is wary of Penny's claim. Diane, Penny's ex-best friend who just broke up with the seemingly perfect Ryan after a long relationship, joins Penny in her cause. They create The Lonely Hearts Club, named in homage to the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. promise to embrace their individualism and interests outside of romance, as well as give up the pressures to please boys. Before long, lot of high school girls pledge to be lonely hearts. How long can our heroine (and boy-crazed teenager) Penny carry on alone? In this coming of age novel, a high school girl gets more than she bargains for when she
Type of Reading: independent reading, reluctant reader, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 10 and Up; yourself: 12 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: The Lonely Hearts Club is a sweet, semi-cynical examination on the romantic fixations of teenage girls and the plight of being an independent woman in testosterone-heavy high school halls. My biggest praise for the book is that Eulberg manages to empower women and show female friendship, but not to the exclusion of an authentic love story. There are times, though, when she is clumsy with the plot. I was surprised at how quickly Diane managed to gloss over the fact that her best friend is dating her ex-boyfriend mere months after their breakup. despite the lighthearted and often distracted plot, the story at heart is charming and shares a vital message to impressionable young female readers.This sweet and charming novel is ideal for women 14 years and up.
Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Pros: Teen girls will see themselves in Meg and her friends. The story is charming and offers a nice contrast to the "pairing off" culture that pervades youth media.
Cons: There are several mild sexual references, as well as a scene with underage drinking. Penny is not the drinker, but it is discussed.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a great alternative to countering shows like Mean Girls and Clueless, where girls are constantly given the message that they are nothing if they are alone.
If You Liked This Book, Try: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins; Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen; How to be Popular by Meg Cabot
Educational Themes: This is an excellent selection for teen counseling and mother-daughter book clubs. Topics such as media, social and peer pressure; friendship, and self love are among the few that can be drawn out for discussion.
Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from their local library.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, friendship, family, coming of age, realistic fiction, contemporary
Date(s) Reviewed: August 2017
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.