We Can Work It Out by Elizabeth Eulberg • Estelle Reviews

We Can Work It Out by Elizabeth EulbergWe Can Work It Out by Elizabeth Eulberg ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: 1/27/2015
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Pages: 320
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: friendship, romance, organizing a club, Beatles
Format read: Purchased.

Summary: Penny Lane is dating Ryan and running the Lonely Hearts Club but as things get more serious with Ryan and the club begins to grow beyond their high school, Penny finds herself in a predicament. As great as all of this is, she cannot seem to find a fair balance between the two.

When it was announced that we would be getting another book about Penny and her Lonely Hearts Club, I couldn’t be more ecstatic. My warm feelings for the original book all stem from the fact that the characters felt like girls I went to high school with and I couldn’t wait to experience that again. I’m very happy to say that We Can Work It Out did not disappoint. Here are a few reasons why you should pick it up:

  • When two people start dating, there is always so much thought about how much time she is spending with her significant other (mostly too much) but I love how Elizabeth Eulberg turns this on its head. In We Can Work It Out, Penny is spending less time with Ryan because of her allegiance to the club and also because she doesn’t want to turn into the girl who ditches her gal pals for her boyfriend. It’s so important to be aware of this infraction but when it’s starting to become a problem in your new relationship… it’s time to rethink things.
  • Penny is tense about PDA in the halls and isn’t great about letting Ryan in as much as she lets in the members of the Lonely Hearts Club. I remember feeling weird about kissing my boyfriend in public when I was a sophomore and struggling to feel comfortable with other people undoubtably catching us together. For those reasons, I’m glad it was touched upon in this book because going from liking someone to being naturally physical is not so seamless.
  • I couldn’t have been prouder of all the girls in the Club. It may have started as a tactic to grow stronger after some jerky guys broke their hearts but the focus has totally turned to being there for your girlfriends through thick and thin — for those you know and those you don’t. Their commitment to one another was lovely, and, most importantly, they were able to widen their views when it came to “the rules”. Eulberg shows how these girls are truly in flux, feeling out who they are, and accepting that they don’t have all of the answers. I wish girls showed each other this kind of love and understanding all the time.
  • Penny and her parents are as hilarious as ever with their devotion to the Beatles. I love how the Blooms are such supportive and awesome parents (in fact most of the Lonely Club parents are) and I could not but smile when they pulled out tribute after tribute to those four boys from Liverpool.

We Can Work It Out was like hanging out with your best girlfriends at the diner, you haven’t checked your phone or watch once, and the cheesy fries just keep on coming. It’s a feel-good hooray for the ladies read that understands what makes ladies tick and why friendship is so important.

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Previous review of THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB

Estelle: The Bridge from Me to You by Lisa Schroeder

The Bridge from Me to You by Lisa SchroederThe Bridge from Me to You by Lisa Schroeder ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Pages: 336
Target audience: young adult/verse fans
Keywords: senior year, family secrets, pressure from parents, football, small town
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)

Summary: Lauren is suddenly living in the small town when her aunt and uncle take her in. Colby is a star on the high school football team and as pressure to pick a college mounts, he wonders if anyone close to him knows him at all. A friendship forms between Lauren and Colby, unable to go any further but as they both have difficulties to face, they may need each other more than they think.

The two things I really love about verse books done right is how swiftly they move, and how much emotion they can evoke in a short block of words. Schroeder took an different angle with verse in The Bridge from Me to You: Lauren got the verse chapters and Colby’s was written in regular prose. This is where I wish I would have read a finished copy of this book because the formatting of Lauren’s pages were all over the place and I didn’t realize it was poetry vs. prose until a bit of the way in.

Anyway. Lauren and Colby are two really nice people. Even though Lauren has been shipped off to her uncle’s by her mother and Colby lost his mom, they are both people who are positive, fiercely care about their friends and family, and are determined to have great futures. It’s all the other factors in their lives that are affecting those happy endings. Not only has Lauren been cut off from her mom but her younger brother, and Colby can’t seem to stand up to his dad about his desire to study engineering in college and retire his football jersey for good.

Despite a great time hanging out the first time, Lauren and Colby’s friendship isn’t instantaneous. When Colby’s best friend gets in a terrible accident, he’s distracted and distant and it takes time before they find themselves in the same place. Colby and Lauren are very at ease with each other; I think it helps that Colby has someone to talk to who isn’t associated with their small town and vice versa, Colby doesn’t know Lauren’s mom. For both, it’s a blank slate.

Focused on having something instead of nothing, Lauren and Colby decide to focus on friendship even though they clearly want more. On each side, there is building pressure as Lauren must come to terms with the truth about her family and Colby has to make some serious decisions about what he will be doing next year. Verse and prose combination made the 300-plus pages fly by so fast, and I loved getting to be a part of this tiny football-loving town for a little while.

That being said, the writing style of the book made the characters feel younger than seniors. I wonder if Lauren’s poetry should have been a supplement to her own prose because there could have been so much more meat to her story. Same with Colby. With his best friend in the hospital and the trouble he has being honest with his dad, there was definitely more of an opportunity to dig deeper in this story. All “issues” seemed to solve themselves pretty quickly, and I would have loved to get more from the secondary characters.

The Bridge from Me to You was a welcome break to a long-string of prose books. In fact, it’s the first verse book I’ve read all year. It was a sweet, feel-good read, and the many mentions of junk food and baked goods (berry pie!) made me wish I had one by my side at all times.

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Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy on B&N | Magan’s review of Falling Into You by Lisa Schroeder