Penny Lane is sick of boys and sick of dating, so she swears off it all and starts The Lonely Heats Club. What penny doesn’t realise is just how many of her friends feel the same way and want to join her club. Even some girls she’d never have thought would care, want to sign up. Then the unthinkable happens…
So what do you do when you’re the founding member of an anti-dating club and you start to have feelings for a guy who obviously likes you back?
Penny is your average, normal everyday girl. She passes school, has her best friends who are there for her and a family who is normal. Well, normal if you discount the intense love her parents have for the Beatles. So intense, that they named their daughters after their favourite songs, went vegetarian because that’s what Paul McCartney did and refuse to listen to anyone else singing a Beatles song, except the Beatles themselves. And it’s the summer where Penny starts to think that she might get what she wanted. Nate Taylor.
Penny has known Nate since they were five; the Taylor’s are her parent’s longest friends after all. Nate was the only person Penny looked forward to seeing on her summer, her mind fixed on what they could do. This year, there is something more underneath the flirting. There is promise of what might be. Penny is thinking that all her dreams are going to come true. She has finally decided that Nate is the one, that he will be her first. That is until she finds him in the basement with another girl. A girl that is missing quite a few clothes. Suddenly, Penny knows what it is like to have a broken heart. Nate was all she ever wanted, and he lied to her and betrayed her, the one thing he said he would never do. Penny does the only thing she knows how to – turn’s to the Beatles for comfort, and inspiration.
For hanging on her wall is a poster of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Lonely. Hearts. Club. It’s an idea that changes the rest of Penny’s school year. Penny decides that she has had enough. Enough of guys that cheat and lie, enough of getting her heart broken and enough of the jerks that go to McKinley High. She starts a club that has her swearing off guys for the rest of her high school life. No dating, ever. It’s a decision that has her friends thinking she is crazy that is until they decided that they too, want to join.
Before she knows it, Penny’s club is the hottest thing at McKinley. Girls from all grades are want to join, and not always for the right reasons. And as the club gains more popularity, Penny is dancing closer to the edge of the line that could see her lose her best chance at a guy that could actually be right for her. For her decision to stick by the club rules, could not only affect her own life, but those of the people around her.
The Lonely Hearts Club is debut novel from Elizabeth Eulberg, who just like Penny, was sick of having to change herself to get a guy. It was this idea and an experience with a past friend that inspired Eulberg to create the story of The Lonely Hearts Club. It is something different, a romance where the rules have changed. One where friends try to understand who they are, and exactly what they want, not always with the best outcomes. The plot is easily relatable too – who hasn’t thought they found the perfect guy, only to discover that he defiantly wasn’t the perfect boyfriend. Who has lost a best friend to their new boyfriend, someone they haven’t known for long but is suddenly much more important than the friend they have had since year four. It’s a story of a group of friends brought together through the common trait of being single. Yet it is a celebration of finding yourself, of staying true to your friends and discovering that there are the good guys out there, but it might take a while for you to find them.
The characters that Eulberg constructed are instantly likeable, albeit at times a little frustrating. Penny as the founding member makes the most discovery and growth. From someone who doesn’t know who she is or what she wants, she turns into someone that decides exactly what she is going to do. Yet, getting there wasn’t easy, and Penny made her own fair share of mistakes along the way. Tracey provided the comic relief in a way that made you wish you knew her in real life. Tracey was always there, being supportive and knowing the right thing to do, even Penny didn’t know it herself. Diane is the friend that we have all seen, the popular cheerleader whose life all revolves around her boyfriend. That is, until she breaks up with her boyfriend. Diane becomes the second member of The Lonely Hearts Club, and comes to discover exactly what she was missing out on.
The Lonely Hearts Club is one of those easy, enjoyable reads that leaves you feeling good at the end of. A great debut from a promising writer.
Publication date: 2010
Teaser quote: “And, Nate? You kiss like a sobering dog, you have bad breath, and you wouldn’t know how to push the right buttons on a girl if we came with manuals. Happy Thanksgiving, Jackass.”
All right, I am going to be a bigger person starting right now.