The Lonely Hearts Club
By: Elizabeth Eulberg
Narrated by: Khristine Hvam
Penny Lane Bloom (yep she's named after the Beatles song) has sworn off boys. After being cheated on and humiliated by the boy that she thought was hers forever, Penny Lane has decided not to date. She gathers up a few friends who are also sick of the slim pickings at their high school and they form The Lonely Hearts Club. Rules include hanging out with the club exclusively on Saturday nights (only exceptions are for family and bad hair days) and immediate withdrawal of membership for dating a boy before graduation. As their club picks up steam, they also pick up problems including a budding relationship for the founding member.
Audio Review: This was my first title by Khristine Hvam (I'm saving Daughter of Smoke and Bone for a very special occasion). And I have to say that I was really impressed. This is a title that I'm not sure I would have made all the way through if it weren't for her. She has a great diversity of voices, channels a teenage energy, and breezes through some of the more cheesy dialogue. I can't wait to hear more of her titles!
Book Review: The Lonely Hearts Club was fun, and pretty cute. I enjoyed the Beatles connection through about the first half of the novel, and then admittedly got a little tired of it. More so because of the real airiness of Penny Lane's parents. If they had just been a little less enthusiastic about the Beatles and a little more involved in Penny's non-Beatles activities, it probably wouldn't have reached annoyance level.
Honestly, who hasn't sworn off boys at some point or another in their life? (Maybe you currently are?!) But, I can definitely get Penny's motivations for starting the club, and actively recruiting her friends. I thought Eulberg did a great job of not making the club all about hating males, but more about spending time with friends and enjoying being a teenager. The Lonely Hearts Club could have been formed at my high school, for sure.
Two areas that were a miss for me were the dialogue and the sheer number of characters. Some of the characters spoke with slang that was a little too old for the book (what to the evs), and it outdated even now, and the book was only published in 2009.
As the club grows, new characters are added to it. Some of the names are only mentioned once or twice, and are not meant to be remembered. (Literary cannon fodder, if you will) Every once in awhile there is a massive name bomb that goes off, and many new characters are introduced never to be heard of again.
However, my main gripe was something that has bothered me in contemporary novels for a very long time. The name dropping of colleges and brands. A character in the novel who is a talented musician is applying to Julliard. And, a gift of jewelry is from Tiffany's. I feel like little tidbits like this are just a shortcut to characterization.
Was it a fluffy feel-good read? Yes. But part of me wished that it had had a little more dimension and flavor. As it is, it probably wasn't substantive enough to stick to my brain for long.