Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Release Date: Already on shelves
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Love is all you need...or is it? Penny's about to find out in this wonderful debut.
Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows - no more. It's a personal choice...and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born; The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways...which is too bad, because there's this certain boy she can't help but like...
Ye be warned: By the end of this novel you are guaranteed to be singing along to The Beatles songs in your head. And there are plenty of references to the band sprinkled throughout the novel that you can't help but appreciate, no matter your level of love or non-love for them. I'm not really a fan, but I still can't get "With A Little Help From My Friends" out of my head!
That said, it doesn't matter if you're a Beatles fan or not - this is a fantastic contemporary novel that you can't help but be sucked into from the first page.The main thread that weaves together Elizabeth's debut novel is friendship. And what a refreshing change of pace it was! Penny Lane (yes, named after a song from The Beatles.. didn't pick up on that until she told the reader LOL) has had her heart broken for the very last time. No more boys. No more dating. Ever. Well... for the remaining two years at McKinley High School. She's sworn off being jerked around by the evil creatures known as males and so forms her own no-dating club - The Lonely Hearts Club.
It doesn't take long before she starts gaining members, even those who were initially skeptical or else mortified of the idea of no-dating eventually came around. What then formed was a beautiful group of friends who supported each other, laughed together, cried together and shared their own personal stories of how the opposite sex has wronged them. What was so inspiring about this book was the message it brought across. Of friendship, of individuality, of not letting your life be dictated by a guy or your feelings for a guy - not ditching your friends, your dreams, your goals, your interests or giving up what makes you YOU. The girls gave up boys and gained not only an inspiring support network of friends, but a greater sense of self.
As the Club grew in size and stability, soon some of their rules become complicated. Because the one thing that drew them all together, the evil jerkiness of the male species, began shining the spotlight on some of it's more respectable young bachelors. Penny in particular is conflicted by the nice boy gene - she swore off boys, founded this Club that has become an integral part of her life and made such amazing friends because of it, but now she's falling for her friend, Ryan Bauer. And he's made it quite clear the feeling is reciprocated.
There are bumps and hurdles along the way, but as with life, everything grows. We all learn and grow and while Penny started the club believing that all guys pretty much sucked, she finds herself slowly regaining her faith in them and realising they won't all break her heart.
I recommend this book to all girls (and you guys out there too!) - it's warm and inspiring, funny and sweet. It encourages you to put yourself first, never to ditch your friends for any guy, no matter how hot he might look. And it shows us that no matter how badly the breaking and stomping of your heart, it's pretty darn strong. It will survive, it will go on beating and the next guy that comes along might just do more nurturing that stomping.