Friday, April 22, 2016

Holding Out for a Hero by Victoria Van Tiem
 "Libby London fell in love in with the 80s, came of age in the 90s, and now, in the 21st Century, she's completely falling apart... Her New York City fashion sensibility is more 'vintage tragedy' than 'retro babe' and might just be what's holding her back in all matters of life and love..."

Libby owns a retro 1980s shop. She lives and breathes the '80s, and her friends want that to stop. So they set up an 'Eighties Intervention' wherein they force her to get makeovers and go on dates influenced by the characters in the movie The Breakfast Club.

This all sounds like a funny, campy read. It is, but it isn't. It is because the book is filled with '80s pop references. I mean, they're thick, sometimes forced, but mostly fun and nostalgic.

But Holding Out for a Hero also isn't what it seems. It's much deeper than that. Libby is an imperfect character with frustrating attributes. She's the kind of character I like because we can all relate to being not perfect. Libby also battles depression for which she sees a shrink whose treatment she fights all the way. She doesn't want to change. Is it because her '80s fixation and crazy outfits mask her deeper sadness?

This book surprised me in a lot of ways. At one point I thought, "Okay, I know where this is going." But I was wrong. Van Tiem threw in a twist that blindsided me. And after I finished the book I had to go back and read some chapters again. And that's when I found the true beauty of Libby's story.

Holding Out for a Hero is a must-read--and then must-read-again. This is a book that makes you feel things without even realizing you're feeling them. The silliness and humor draws the reader in only to show an underlying sadness and the raw humanity of its main character.

I'm looking forward to reading more like this from Victoria Van Tiem.

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