Tag Archives: Elizabeth Eulberg

The Lonely Hearts Club – Elizabeth Eulberg

The Lonely Hearts Club – Elizabeth EulbergTitle: The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg
Publishing Info: June 1st, 2010 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 14, 2017
Related Posts: Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality, Better Off Friends

Love is all you need... or is it? Penny's about to find out in this wonderful debut.

Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows: no more. It's a personal choice. . .and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born: The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways . . . which is too bad, because there's this certain boy she can't help but like. . . .

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This book was very cute! I’ve really enjoyed all of Elizabeth Eulberg’s books, some more than others, so I knew I would enjoy THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB pretty much no matter what! It turned out not to be my favorite of Elizabeth Eulberg’s, since I think she’s had some deeper stories and cuter romances, but she just has such a fun voice that makes her books so easy to read!

I loved the Girl Power in this book and the encouragement of female friendships instead of witnessing so many cat fights or frenemies. It was girls standing up for their friends, sticking together, and being okay with not being in a relationship, which is a nice change of pace! I do adore romances in books but I kind of loved that this was about not being in a relationship. The focus on being single allowed the girls to really get to know themselves and not try to be who they thought a crush wanted them to be and really helped foster beautiful friendships in the absence of the boy-crazy talk. I also liked how crushes and relationships still came about in this book because everyone swearing a vow of single-dom is also not really realistic. The plot adjusted based on what was best for each individual girl and I loved that it didn’t stick to the rules simply for the sake of sticking to them!

Some of the characters were a little over-the-top BUT we are reading about high school characters so teenagers are allowed to be a little over-the-top. I always feel like I wasn’t super melodramatic when I was a teenager… buuuut I’m pretty sure I actually was. (Bad teenage poetry and sappy love songs? Oh, yeah. I was so there.) I think it’s harder reading some of that drama because I’m an adult now and so far removed from those more volatile and new emotions that it can be a little much but I also don’t think it was unrealistic!

I really liked that what I thought would turn into a Mean Girl situation actually went directly in the opposite direction and turned into a wonderful friendship. There was a Mean Girl or two in the book but they were quickly squashed as unsupportive and the characters didn’t allow them to take over or run their emotions. This book was all about bonding and finding your true self and I thought the message was really lovely!

Overall, this was fun, quick, and delightful! Elizabeth Eulberg’s books continue to be quick and fun contemporary reads for me and I love the levity while still conveying a great message.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Female Friendships. I’m not really a fan of mean girls in books and I loved how the more bully-like characters were not at all tolerated and the strong female friendships won!
Left Me Wanting More: Maturity. Okay, that’s a silly thing to ask. These are teens and I know that. I just felt like things were a little dramatic at times and I could have enjoyed that more if it was less dramatic, but that’s life!

Addiction Rating
Read it

Elizabeth Eulberg is an absolute will-read author for me! I pick up pretty much anything she writes and this book was no exception. Very cute and a lot of fun!

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BOOKS LIKE THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    26 KISSES

Better Off Friends – Elizabeth Eulberg

Better Off Friends – Elizabeth EulbergTitle: Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
Publishing Info: February 25, 2014 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: February 5, 2014
Related Posts: Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality, The Lonely Hearts Club

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can't be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan's friends. They are platonic and happy that way. Eventually they realize they're best friends -- which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't keep getting in each other's way. Guys won't ask Macallan out because they think she's with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can't help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated? From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again -- and one kiss away from true love?

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BETTER OFF FRIENDS was just plain adorable. I’ve only read one other Eulberg book before, Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality, so I was confident I’d love her writing style for this book as well and I certainly was not let down! Like REVENGE, BETTER OFF FRIENDS really displayed a great strength in friendships which with so many books focusing on romance (not that I have a problem with that), really good friendships, especially those between a male and a female character, tend to get lost in the background.

BETTER OFF FRIENDS is geared as a YA “When Harry Met Sally”. Well clearly I need to see this movie now. (I KNOW, I KNOW, I’ve seen a lot of 80s movies throughout my childhood and my life and yet I still have so many to cover. Gimme a break, I was three years old when the 90s took over!) It’s no secret though that I LOVE best friend to boyfriend romances because there’s just such a great foundation of friendship and it’s SUCH a big step to decide to switch from friends to something more. Seriously. All the goosebumps for any romance like this.

One thing I really loved that I was actually surprised by was how much of a time period this book covered. The book kicks off in junior high, actually, when Macallan and Levi first meet after Levi moves to Wisconsin from California. I feel like I could have easily been hesitant that the book spent so much time while the two main characters were in junior high had I known it beforehand but A) I do love going into book blind and it really does work in my favor more often than not and B) I think it was absolutely perfect because the reader really gets to see their relationship from the beginning. I always appreciate seeing things chronologically, especially for contemporary books because sometimes flashbacks can get tiring or confusing. I had zero issues with starting things off in junior high and working forward to high school/”present day”. It’s also great because that really opens up the book to a younger age range as well. BETTER OFF FRIENDS is cute, clean, and fun so it can really appeal to a young audience as well as the older crowd. (I don’t know what I mean by old. Older teens? Adults? Clearly, since I loved it!)

I also really, really loved the dual narration in the book. I think it’s important to see things from both Macallan and Levi’s sides as the events in the book are playing out. It’s more exciting, more heart-breaking, and more interesting to really get both sides of the story and I felt like I connected with both characters equally instead of ending up on one side or the other. Especially with friendships possibly turning into romances, I think seeing both sides is vital because there are so many missed clues, misunderstandings, and potential arguments that the reader needs to see from each point of view so neither character gets thrown under the bus or ends up as the “bad guy”. I also loved how there were breaks in between chapters where Macallan and Levi took on more of a narrative role, interjecting their feelings and looking back on the events that had just happened in the chapters. It made me feel like these two were actual real people and they just couldn’t help but throw in their thoughts about how things were back then and make sure the audience is seeing the story straight. I actually have never seen that in a book before so it was really enjoyable and definitely an interesting change up!

BETTER OFF FRIENDS was adorable and so enjoyable. I think part of the reason why I loved it so much is that I easily related — and even if you hadn’t ended up having feelings for your best friend, I’m sure there’s been a situation that most of us have been in a where feelings complicated a friendship, whether it be from the guy’s side or the girl’s side. Another thing that really piqued my interest was that I legitimately didn’t know how it was going to end. Would Macallan and Levi end up in a relationship? Or did they finally decide that they really were better off friends? So how does it end? You’ll just have to read the book to find out!

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Macallan // Character Obsessions: Family, school, Buggy & Floyd, sarcasm.
I saw a lot of myself in Macallan. She seemed like a typical girl next-door that also has her own personal issues and past. I loved her attitude and how she handled situations with her friends… I feel like that was a lot of me when I was growing up so I really related to her a LOT.
Levi // Character Obsessions: Running, family, Buggy & Floyd, girls.
I loved Levi. Aren’t all Levis just adorable? I seriously think I’ve loved every single one I’ve met in a book so far. Anyway… I absolutely wanted to be best friends with him and let’s face it — Macallan never stood a chance. He’s definitely the kind of best friend you could totally fall for. (I did.)

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Kept Me Hooked On: Friendships turned relationships. LOVE THEM. I love when characters start off as friends and start to fall for each other. For some reason it just feels so much more special to me. I think I just feel the butterflies so much more because there’s so much more at stake when you start to fall for your best friend. They already know so much about you too, so there is no getting-to-know-you stage… Just getting to know you more intimately and that can be scary! I seriously just wanted to smoosh Macallan and Levi together and make them kiss.
Left Me Wanting More: Setting. This book was set in suburban Wisconsin so I was trying to LOOK INTO the book to find places I knew haha! My sister lives in a suburb of Milwaukee so it was easy for me to picture the setting but I love when I see exact places and I can picture myself there. There were still plenty of fun, local references but you know I just love seeing more!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

BETTER OFF FRIENDS was adorable. Perfect for so many ages and just plain fun and cute. I love stories that just make me giddy and give me butterflies and this sure was one of them! I loved everything about it.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE BETTER OFF FRIENDS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Ask Again Later           Nantucket Blue

The Selective Collective features BETTER OFF FRIENDS: “Boy Friend” vs Boyfriend

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The Selective Collective reads BETTER OFF FRIENDS by ELIZABETH EULBERG!

The Selective Collective features BETTER OFF FRIENDS by ELIZABETH EULBERG provided to us by Scholastic for review and use in The Selective Collective feature!

For my part in this Selective Collective post, I had the fun freebie post and instantly, I knew I could relate to BETTER OFF FRIENDS! The story takes place in Wisconsin, not too far from Milwaukee and although I’m not from Wisconsin (I’m a Chicago suburbanite… probably much to Macallan’s dismay!), the Midwest charm of the book absolutely pulled me in and I could see little pieces of my own childhood and high school life in the book.

Before we jump in, here’s a little info on the book:

Better Off FriendsPublishing Info: February 25th 2014 by Point
Source: Physical ARC provided to us by Scholastic for review and use for the Selective Collective promotions

Book Synopsis: For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.
    Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?
    From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love? — From Goodreads.com

BETTER OFF FRIENDS: “BOY FRIEND” VS BOYFRIEND

Freshman year Homecoming (2001)

Like Macallan, I had a male best friend growing up. It was my next door neighbor Steve which was pretty perfect that we were the same age because it was a great way to assimilate into the neighborhood when we moved there the summer before third (or was it fourth?) grade. I was pretty shy at first but before long, we were hanging out all the time, year round, sun, rain, or snow.

There were a lot of things that were cool about Steve. He knew all the guys in the neighborhood and it was the first time I really hung out with the boys. I went to a Catholic grade school so my class consisted of anywhere between 20-30 kids, usually hovering somewhere around 25 from pre-school all the way to eighth grade so getting to hang out with the public school kids was kind of a silly little thrill! I got to brag and said I knew kids from the public school (that was always something to be jealous of!) and we had a group of boys to hang around and bother when we wanted to be silly girls. But most importantly, Steve was my best friend.

There’s always that awkward best friend/more-than-friends zone. For us, it happened early on in our friendship (well, I guess as early as it can when you meet when you’re eight years old) and we started that awkward “I think we like each other” phase in sixth grade. We started “dating” when we were twelve and nothing much really changed except for the fact that we got little butterflies, held hands when we went on our walks around the block (and got teased by a random passer-by in the neighborhood), and Valentine’s Day became an actual event. (He got me a necklace with my birthstone which I actually still have today.) I even got to go to his Bar Mitzvah as his girlfriend which was a pretty awesome thing! (And again, hang out with the public school kids!) We even had “our song” that we danced to at the Bar Mitzvah. (It was “Back at One” by Brian McKnight in case you were wondering.)

High school graduation (2005)

We finally had our first kiss after months of dating. It was New Year’s Eve 1999 and probably sometime around 8pm. I came out in my pajama pants and we just hung out for a while outside (Yes, we often hung out outside in the winter. It was just what we did. As an adult, I don’t know how we could stand the cold!) and I think we had even talked about what was going to go down that night (In my head, I picture us texting which obviously isn’t right. We must have talked on the phone.) because I remember being so nervous going outside to meet him. We kissed on the side of his house very quickly, both of us extremely nervous and history was made. My first kiss!

The relationship lasted eleven months which seems like a really long time for a couple of twelve and thirteen-year-olds but I guess when your relationship consists of hand-holding and one kiss, there’s not much at risk! We broke up in seventh grade (which I think was my doing… oops) and it was really hard to be around each other for a while. I avoided him for probably a week and then eventually got over myself and we resumed our care-free friendship.

My 21st birthday

We hung out all the time and he was my sort of transition from Catholic school to public school when I started at the local public high school freshman year. I relied on him heavily and pretty much the only people I knew were kids from the neighborhood! It didn’t take long to make friends in high school but I always had Steve to hang out with and it was a special bonus when we had classes together. It was a relief to have him in my Honors English class freshman year so I already knew a friendly face and again when we had Geometry together sophomore year!

Like Macallan and Levi, we actually went to Homecoming together freshman year! We were both single and I barely knew anyone when we started high school so it was kind of perfect for us to go together. I really can’t remember how the dance went but I think I was a bad date! Half of the high school dances run together, but I think that was a time where I spent more time with my friends than my date.

We had a couple run-ins where the “feelings” started to come back which made for some awkward note-passing times in Geometry but I tried to pretend that didn’t happen because I loved my best friend but I didn’t have the “feelings” back! Ever since then, we still stayed friends. We’ve always had our own inside jokes, nicknames for each other, and hung out all the time — both at school and at home — so like Macallan and Levi, we also had those moments where people would say, “Why don’t you just date already?” The thing was in our situation, we could actually say, “Been there! Done that!” We were good friends all throughout high school although we drifted just a bit since we developed our own interests, had different extra curriculars and formed friend groups outside of our neighborhood gang. I even visited Steve a few times when we were both in college and we’re still friends today, although we don’t really talk as much. He’s in graduate school in West Virginia so we rarely talk anymore but we still hang out when he has the rare opportunity to come back home!

My story isn’t exactly like Macallan and Levi’s but I could surely relate and it was fun having that kind of connection to BETTER OFF FRIENDS! Do you have a “best boy friend”? Did that ever turn into a relationship or were you truly “better off friends?” I’d love to hear your own stories in the comments!!

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of BETTER OFF FRIENDS so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush  Author Q&A and Giveaway!
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  Review: Better Off Friends
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  Casting Call: Better Off Friends
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  Round Table: Better Off Friends

 

 

Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality – Elizabeth Eulberg

Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality – Elizabeth EulbergTitle: Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
Publishing Info: March 1, 2013 by Scholastic Inc.
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 3, 2013
Related Posts: Better Off Friends, The Lonely Hearts Club

    Don't mess with a girl with a great personality!
    Everybody loves Lexi. She's popular, smart, funny...but she's never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).
    Lexi's sick of it. She's sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She's sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She's sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she's sick of having all her family's money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.
    The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren't going to know what hit them. Because Lexi's going to play the beauty game - and she's in it to win it.

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REVENGE OF THE GIRL WITH THE GREAT PERSONALITY (henceforth known as “REVENGE” because WOW that’s a mouthful) was one of those books that I deem “fun” due to Lexi’s titular great personality, but don’t be fooled by the sass and cleverness — REVENGE also has a lot of big issues surrounding Lexi’s family and friends.

I love the plot of the girl with the great personality. I mean, haven’t we all been there? I know this book hit a personal note for me because I spent most of high school being the third/fifth/seventh wheel, the last person asked to dances (if I even got asked), and that girl sitting on the couch while my friends flirted with boys. There wasn’t anything wrong with me — I was just the girl with the great personality, not the girl the boys wanted to flirt with or date or ask to dances. I happened to have friends who were gorgeous or flirtatious or rebellious so they got all the attention and I always felt like there MUST be something wrong with me… It was a great story to identify with for me and I’m sure many other girls can relate! When Lexi goes through her makeover phase, she does start to get attention from the boys, but then she has to figure out A) if that’s the only reason she’s getting attention and B) is it worth it to totally change herself just to be noticed. She goes through a lot of personal changes throughout the course of this book and I loved how Eulberg brought us through that process.

I think the thing that I loved most about this book — in the most terrible way possible — was how awful Lexi’s mom was. A big part of this book is Lexi’s sister Mackenzie’s involvement in beauty pageants and their mother being the stereotypical “pageant mom”. Right off the bat we find out that all of the money Lexi’s mom makes goes into pageants — even over things like electric bills at times — so Lexi is forced into being the responsible one as far as money goes. That’s such a tough spot to put a teenager in and all of those interactions with Lexi and her mom… Gosh, my heart just broke seeing Lexi having to act like a parent to her family and watching her many failed attempts to get through to her mother that there are WAY more important things than pageants.

I also need to say that I LOVE that Elizabeth Eulberg let this story be about Lexi and Lexi alone. There were so many secondary characters who could have had runaway story lines (crazy pageant mom, parents’ divorce, fight with best friend Cam, gay best friend Benny & his first real romance, Logan & Alyssa romance, Mackenzie participating in pageants) but none of them went off on their own tangents. All of these characters did have their own issues going on, but they were all in the story to support Lexi and help tell her tale and I really loved that. I feel like I’ve read a few books recently where we get a little TOO into secondary characters and start to lose focus of the main character so it was nice to read REVENGE with the sole focus of Lexi and how all of these invents involving the people around her were affecting her life.

REVENGE was a great book that combined romance and big life issues in a very realistic way. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who’s felt like “The Girl with the Great Personality” at any point in their life!

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Lexi: Lexi was a great character for me to identify with. Obviously I’ve felt like “that girl” who is perfectly normal but somehow never the one guys are attracted to (honestly… I think it’s just high school boys haha – they always want the obvious). She goes through some big life changes and her personality shines in this book. I really like that she discovers everything herself and it felt really realistic for me. You know your friends can tell you something a million times but until YOU realize it for yourself, it doesn’t make a difference and that’s what Lexi went through. Loved it.
Logan: I like that Logan was left a likable guy for most of the book. He’s Lexi’s big crush BUT he has the gorgeous girlfriend Alyssa. HMMM. I smell trouble. I like that he didn’t come across as jerky though so it was still up in the air whether I really wanted Lexi to be with him or not!
Taylor: Okay, I LOVED Taylor. He would be the one that gets interested in Lexi close to the beginning of the story and we readers have the question, “Is it because of Lexi or because of her new makeover?” Regardless, I thought he seemed pretty genuine, and of course Elizabeth Eulberg throws this little gem at me… I mean, seriously. She was asking for it!

addiction_factor1Read it!

Elizabeth Eulberg’s books are just SO much fun. This was a quick and really great read for me. I appreciated so much about it!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE REVENGE OF THE GIRL WITH THE GREAT PERSONALITY

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