Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Point (January 1, 2011)
Buy the book: Amazon
This is one of two books I've read in the last couple of weeks where the main character's name is Penny Lane. Yes, that's from the Beatles song, and there are Beatles references throughout. (The other was The Cupcake Queen)
Penny Lane is a sixteen-year-old girl who has been in love with the same boy since she was practically in diapers. She believes that he is the greatest thing on this earth, and her one true love. Soon, however, Penny discovers that her Prince Charming isn't all he's cracked up to be.
So, Penny does what any heartbroken girl would do....she forms a club. The way Penny sees it, all guys are jerks who will use you, treat you like dirt, then move on to the next girl. And the girls that go out with guys, desert all of their friends and lose their identity in the process. The Lonely Hearts Club starts as Penny's personal commitment to swear off guys, but soon grows to include half the girls in her class. The Rules of the Club are simple: No dating guys while still in high school, and be there for your girlfriends when they need you. Although this club is fantastic for the girls, and it teaches them the true meaning of friendship and support, it does nothing but anger the guys in the school. And then Penny encounters something she doesn't expect at all....someone who challenges everything she's come to expect from the guys in high school. Someone she can't get off her mind.
I really enjoyed this book for many reasons. The beginning of the book starts with Penny's decision to finally give in to her boyfriend's nagging "request" because she believes they love each other and this will make him happy, only to find that he is otherwise engaged with another girl, (yes, that's what they were doing) in Penny's basement, where he's staying. BUT, the overall message of the book is a really good one, in my opinion. Penny, and her friends, learn that sex is not the answer, and that having a boyfriend does not define you. It's also about friendship, and the powerful bonds between girls. It's about loyalty, and never letting a boy change who you are, or come between you and your friends. When problems come up with the rules of the club, they work together to solve them, and they don't put up with anyone who hurts one of the other girls. I felt like Penny changed from a girl who was dependent upon a boy for approval, to a girl who inspired others to love themselves and each other for who they were.
I loved it!