Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Book Review: We Can Work It Out

Title: We Can Work It Out
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher: Point
Rating: 3

Synopsis (via Goodreads): When Penny Lane started The Lonely Hearts Club, the goal was simple: to show that girls didn’t need to define themselves by how guys look at them, and didn’t have to value boyfriends over everything else. Penny thought she’d be an outcast for life…but then the club became far more popular than she ever imagined it would be. But what happens when the girl who never thought she’d date a good guy suddenly finds herself dating a great one? She doesn’t need a boyfriend… but she wants it to work out with this particular boyfriend. And he wants it to work out with her. Only, things keep getting in the way. Feelings keep getting hurt. Words keep getting misunderstood. Penny Lane worked hard to declare her independence. Now she needs to figure out what to do with it — and how to balance what she wants with what everyone else wants. In We Can Work It Out, Elizabeth Eulberg returns to the world of her first novel, The Lonely Hearts Club, and gets to the heart of how hard relationships can be… and why they are sometimes worth all the drama and comedy they create.

Review: If it wasn't already public knowledge, I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Eulberg. She happened to grow up in the town I live in and I've been to all but one of her book signings with my friend, Kayleigh. Unfortunately, I feel like I am growing out of the genre she specializes in. Don't get me wrong, We Can Work It Out is the perfect sequel to The Lonely Hearts Club (and I eagerly anticipated its release), but I rolled my eyes during multiple scenes, if not the whole book.

I am no where near a "sappy romantic." (I attempted to read a Nicholas Sparks book once... that didn't go over well). The club that Penny Lane builds up in Eulberg's debut novel is what sparked my interest in the first place. "... the goal was simple: to show that girls didn't need to define themselves by how guys looked at them, and didn't have to value boyfriends over everything else." Talk about girl power! But outlooks change in We Can Work It Out. Now, Penny is dating the hottie who goes by the name, Ryan (who also happens to be the ex-boyfriend of her best friend, Diane).

That's right. Penny Lane is dating the ex-boyfriend of her best friend. Let's pause and talk about this for a second... isn't this one of the golden no-no rules girls live by? To avoid dating boys your friends have already dated? Don't worry. Penny, Diane, and Ryan don't see this as awkward whatsoever. Tracy, Penny's other best friend, is not the funny, sarcastic character readers fell in love with in The Lonely Hearts Club. She hasn't lost her sass, but it appears that she lost her soul. Now, that may seem pretty harsh, but the girl is a completely different person! Trust me, I understand that in reality people change and that in books, we classify it as "character development" but COME ON. Bring back the old Tracy who would jump at the opportunity to date that cute foreign guy who is totally into her.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I was impartial to the characters and impartial to the plot. I didn't feel like I was reading a young adult book - it was more like a throwback to middle school (ew). The most excitement I felt when reading We Can Work It Out was during Diane's basketball games (she finally figured out that she needed to live her own life and start participating in activities she enjoyed) and the announcement of the Club's expansion (what was it, nationwide? global? probably the most successful club in the history of ever?).

I hope this is the last installment of The Lonely Hearts Club. I was content with just the first book...

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