We Can Work It Out

320p. Scholastic/Point. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545654616; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780545654630.
Gr 9 Up—Despite founding a popular club centered on female friendships and boy-free Saturday nights, Penny Lane Bloom has found time to recover from her recent heartbreak and begin dating. However, the popularity of the Lonely Hearts Club has increased her commitments and she refuses to compromise the rules of the club, thereby reducing her time with her new boyfriend, Ryan, to small, insignificant snippets. While Ryan's patience for her apathy toward him begins to wane, Penny Lane is also confronted by the judgment of her best friend, also Ryan's ex-girlfriend, Diane, who insists that ignoring him is a mistake Penny Lane will regret. It isn't long before her rocky relationship and the stress of the Lonely Hearts Club events take their toll on her health. While the resolution is a tad predictable, it is certainly satisfying. This follow-up to Eulberg's The Lonely Hearts Club (Scholastic, 2009), easily stands alone, but readers may enjoy it more after reading the previous volume. The voices of the teens, particularly the slang, seem a bit forced and the lessons are at times preachy and heavy-handed. However, the upbeat premise of girls taking charge of their own happiness rather than succumbing to the angst of mean girl drama or the pressures of teen dating is a welcome addition to young adult fiction.—Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD
The titular club that Penny Lane founded in The Lonely Hearts Club is becoming more and more successful, and the group is planning an ambitious fundraiser. But Penny's relationship with her boyfriend, Ryan, suffers as a result. Unlike Ryan, readers may have little patience for Penny's behavior, though they may empathize with Penny's struggle to balance her time between friends and her boyfriend.

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