Sometimes I really want a light-hearted book without all the angst and drama of a lot of the popular YA books/genres out there right now, and to get a good girl-power message - even better. That's exactly what I got with Elizabeth Eulberg's debut novel, THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB, plus I got a little Beatles nostalgia along with it. I was drawn to it as soon as I heard the plot summary, but of course, the cover sold me on getting it in hardcover - it's so fun!
This book is a story with an independent high school junior girl main character who gets treated badly by a boy she's had a crush on for a long time. The girl - Penny Lane (a Beatles song of course since her parents are huge fans) - decides she's not going to deal with one more boy treating her badly, so she swears off dating for the rest of high school. Thus starts the lonely hearts club (inspired of course by the Beatles' Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band). Once word gets out, other girls decide they don't want to deal with immature boys who treat them badly either, and they see how much fun the girls in the club are having, so the club gets a reputation around the school.
There's a really important message coming out of reading this story - it's not just about not dealing with the boy drama, but it's more about what it means to be a good friend to the girls around you. It's about keeping your friends honest, being there for each other, and not letting boys change your priorities. The club's rules say that a girl can't change who she is for a guy, she can't ditch her friends for a guy, she can't let a guy take over her whole life and forget about her friends - what a great message to send teen girls who need to remember that when they get to high school and boy drama and pressure becomes so much more of a part of their lives.
I think the highlight about this book for me was that even though it deals with the typical boyfriend drama of high school girls, it's done in a unique way in which the girls still get to be strong characters. I do wish some of the secondary characters had the chance to be developed a little more fully because they had the potential to really add to the story more than they were able to with the length of the book, but it was it will be an accessible book for many adolescent girls - and it doesn't cross the line into mature content. I loved this book for it's light-heartedness, great message, and fun story (with a Beatles twist) and am glad I found it.
4 1/2 STARS for THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB