Penny is completely disillusioned when she finds her boyfriend, whom she has been in love with almost her entire life, cheating on her. She's sick and tired of the way that none of the boys in her life have ever lived up to what she wants and expects. Convincing herself that all guys are jerks, she forms the Lonely Hearts Club (yes, from the Beatles song--after all, her name is Penny Lane) with herself as the founding and sole member. But when an old friend, who ditched Penny long ago for a boy, is dumped and wants to make amends for putting Ryan first, above their friendship, Penny finds herself sharing the concept. And slowly this club of one becomes the club to be in with members across all four years of high school vowing not to date for the duration of their high school careers, go to dances and social events as a group, attend Saturday night meetings, and always support their friends. But it's not that easy, with guys who are bitter about being ditched for a group of girls, a principal who is against the club, despite it not being either official or meeting on school property, and girls who are catty or just joining for the status. Hardest of all is the fact that Penny might have found a guy who's not a jerk, one who she might really like to go out with.
This is a very cute story. Eulberg has captured high school and teens pretty well. And her tale of female empowerment and sisterhood is one that so many girls these days need to hear. Penny is, of course, the best fleshed out of the characters while the rest of her friends, even her inner circle are much more superficially drawn and act mostly as foils so that Penny isn't talking to herself. Penny's parents are eccentrically simple and offbeat, being big enough Beatles fans to not only name their daughters after Beatles hits, but to become vegetarian simply because Paul is. Perhaps as would be expected, they don't figure much in the story either but the bits where they do appear, they are supportive and understanding. The burgeoning love story is sweetly handled and Penny's renewed friendship with Diane is maybe a bit too easily achieved but over all this is a nice anecdote to all the mean girl books out there. Being popular doesn't have to mean being a snot and having boys draped all over a girl. It can also mean being content with friends and happy in your own skin, as Penny is. A good lesson to share.
Thanks to Chelsey at Big Honcho Media for a review copy of this book. Also, check back here on Monday for a giveaway and more author information.