The Lonely Hearts Club
Every now and then, I read a book I wish I'd read when I was younger. This is one of those books. Penny Lane Bloom is a character I can so relate to (even though I'm *ahem* a decade older?). Hers is a story that I recognize as my own - in parts - but also as the story of so many girls working their way through high school/those crazy mid-to-late teen years. Sometimes YA characters feel too 'character-y', and it's hard to imagine them - or their story - in a really-could-happen-omg-I-so-relate-to-that way. Not so with Penny and her friends. These kids are real, their parents are alternately cool and embarrassing. They've got realistic high school drama, and that zest for life and making drastic, dramatic changes that I remember all too well from my own high school years. Plus, it's just a fun read.
Penny has boy problems. As do most of her friends, and probably every girl in the school. Is Penny content to sit back and let "The Man" keep tromping over her slowly-healing heart? Nope, not by a long shot. And thus the "Lonely Hearts Club" is born - to help girls focus on building relationships with each other instead of boys, and to find what makes them happiest. Along the way, the girls discovery the true worth of friendship, and that maybe - just maybe - not all guys are created equal. I found myself chuckling at Penny's struggle to not like Ryan - or any guy. She was so stubbornly determined to maintain her "Just say no to guys (for high school)!" stance that she almost missed out on a lot of fun -- but that's real, it's what girls do. And it made the story that much better, to see her growing through this process.
A fun, light read that's actually got substance (as opposed to light reads that are enjoyable fluff), this is definitely one I will recommend to both the teen girls in my life and to my fellow "older" YA-loving readers.
Book provided by my personal library.