Estelle: The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg
Publication Date: December 29, 2009
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 290
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: Breakups, girlfriends, Beatles, cheating
Format read: Borrowed from the library.

Summary: When Penny Lane is betrayed and disappointed by the only guy who has had her heart, she decides to take a stand against all of this bad treatment and start The Lonely Hearts Club (based on the song by the Beatles) and stop dating until high school is over. When the club starts to accrue members and its only set of rules, the whole idea becomes something Penny could have never imagined. But soon she starts to wonder how realistic her “non-dating” rule is when someone catches her eye. Maybe not every guy is as bad as she thought…

For any girl who has been forced to reevaluate her feelings for a guy based on their nonsensical and asshole-ish behavior, this is the book for you. (Hello every girl in the world.) After Penny makes a horrifying discovery about her childhood love, she decides not to sit around and wallow but to do something about it and forms The Lonely Hearts Club. (She and her family are HUGE Beatles fans.) She vows to remain single for the rest of high school and focus on herself, and after a bit of time she is no longer a club of one.

I instantly clicked with Penny Lane. I’m actually not sure if I’ve connected with a character quite so quickly but I easily related to her being head over heels for a guy she’s known since she was young, a guy that has caused her to fantasize so much about their happily ever after that no one seems to come close. I was also disappointed by that same guy. Not in the way Penny was but it hurt like hell. (And continued to for a long time after.) I loved her go-get-em spirit and the way she took a bad situation and turned it into something bigger. In fact, there were many moments in this book where I wished I had started the same kind of group.

I was also reminded of Kody Keplinger’s book, Shut Out. Girls forming unexpected friendships when they band together for the same cause. But Eulberg took the club and the characters to new heights. They were dimensional, so far from cliche and their mission felt relatable. I could SEE girls in my high school (unlike in Shut Out) concocting this crazy plan. And it was crazy. It’s apparent once the rules are set in stone and their group gains notoriety that something’s going to blow up and go wrong. But that was a lesson these girls needed to learn for themselves. They were hurt and created something with zero flexibility to stop that hurt from happening again. They needed to get to the point where they were ready and willing to take a chance in a new relationship.

Because *newsflash* despite the duds, there were nice guys out there.

Penny is enthusiastic, strong, and brave, and I think she discovered a lot about herself once she establishes TLHC. She is able to reconnect with her ex-best friend, who had become one of those girls we hate — so into her boyfriend she loses her identity and drops her old friends. I say BRAVO to Eulberg for including this character. Because this trap that Diane fell into is JUST SO COMMON (hey, I did it too) so I’m happy to see awareness brought to this kind of issue. Diane actually turned into one of my favorite characters. While it’s important to understand a main character, I love with an author takes the time to create supporting characters who are able to leave an important impact on the reader as well. Eulberg did this many times over.

There were also a multitude of great guy characters in this book (the villainous and the good). Undoubtedly, Ryan, the ex-boyfriend of Diane and one of Penny’s good friends, is swoon worthy and epic amongst potential love interests. I don’t want to give too much away but I loved how Eulberg was able to introduce Ryan and each time it felt like a bread crumb leading to a more significant occasion.

I could probably gush about this book forever. I thought it was a true depiction of high school with characters who were so like the ones I spent my school years with. In fact, I had a huge yearning to go back to those days of planning and getting ready for dances with my girlfriends. Those were just the best times and I think The Lonely Hearts Club captured what is so important and amazing about the friendships of women. They require forgiveness, flexibility, understanding, and most of all, support.

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10 thoughts on “Estelle: The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

  1. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    Oh I am so happy to see that you enjoyed this book. I read it before I started blogging, so I never gave it a proper review. But I’ve always recommended it. The message is just so, so good. My only flaw with this book: that damn blurb on the cover! Why on earth are they comparing it to Twilight?! What the crap. It is so far from that. So strange that they would do that. It’s basically saying, “oh hey! here’s a YA book! Read it!” Um yeah.

    Fab review Estelle 🙂

  2. April Books & Wine says:

    I love when you give books I already own but haven’t read good reviews because it’s kind of motivating for me and makes me want to go out and read this.

    Also, word. I totally know the feeling of building someone up in your mind to be someone great but then they totally SUCK. Ugh. Ugh. I get real life shudders over that.

    Anyways, I’m going to have to read this one soon!

  3. VeganYANerds says:

    So glad you loved this book, Estelle! I thought it felt very realistic as well, and you’re so right about Diane, every girl had gone through that point in her life when she realises she’s ditched everyone for her bf (guilty!). Love your review!

  4. elena says:

    All your gushing made me REALLY want to read this book! As a Beatles and contemp fan, this sounds adorable. I love that there’s such a wide variety of characters, good and bad, because that’s realistic and yay for unexpected friendship forming. Fantastic review, E!

  5. The Bumble Girl says:

    I loved Elizabeth Eulberg’s Take a Bow, and have been meaning to pick this one up ever since! It sounds like there is an amazing cast of characters and a wonderful plot to follow here. I am really going to have to track this one down soon.
    Thanks for sharing your review 🙂

  6. Sharon @ Fictionally Inclined says:

    Hey, I *just* read this book the other day! In fact, it’s sitting beside me right now, waiting for me to write down my quotes for the review. It was a good one! And I don’t even like the Beatles.

    I loved how Eulberg was able to introduce Ryan and each time it felt like a bread crumb leading to a more significant occasion.

    Well put! That is EXACTLY how it was. I may have to quote you in my review. 😉

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