When I read what Laurel Osterkamp's latest novel was all about, I was intrigued. I immediately signed up for the CLP Blog Tour and hoped The Holdout would deliver. It did! I was so interested and invested in this novel and I couldn't stop thinking about it when I wasn't reading it.
Here's the synopsis:
Robin wanted to win The Holdout, a cutthroat reality TV show, so she gave it her all, challenge after challenge. Then she fell for Grant, with his irresistible eyes and heartbreaking life story. But Grant was only using Robin as they competed for a million dollars. Once home, Robin wants to hide from the humiliation as episodes of The Holdout are aired, and she worries her family was right all along; she's not a survivor. Or maybe she'll have the last laugh Besides, Robin now has jury duty. And as she forges ahead, confronting her demons about bravery, justice, and romance, Robin will come to decide which is more important: the courage to stand alone, or the strength to love again.
I have to admit that I was a little worried about reading another of Osterkamp's novels as I read Starring in the Movie of My Life a couple of years ago and didn't love it. Still, I thought her newest sounded interesting and boy am I glad I gave it a shot. It was so good. I loved the way she played with the reality show novel - that was probably my favourite part of the whole book. I have never watched a full season of Survivor but it's been around for so long that everyone has at least a vague idea of what goes on during the show. Even though that's not my reality show of choice, I still found Robin's story, and her time on the show, interesting. I liked that we learned what the whole process could be like and that Osterkamp gave us all the background information we needed.
There were two things that stood out for me that kept me from giving this book five stars. One was the way Robin acted during jury duty. I felt like she had a lot of lingering issues with the way the show played out and every once and awhile she'd think about which of her other jurors would get voted off first if they were on The Holdout. I don't blame her, I'm sure being on a show like that can really mess with your head, but I wish that had been toned down just a tad. It made her seem a little unstable and I don't think that's what Osterkamp was trying to go for. The other issue was with her family. I totally loved that she had a large family and they sort of supported her in their own weird way, but I feel like there were too many of them...I got a little confused. There were some side stories involving them that didn't feel as complete as they could have and it just didn't flow well for me. These issues are not deal breakers, though, and I'd still wholeheartedly recommend this book.
I appreciated that the romance in this novel took a total backseat. I could kind of tell how things would end up but Osterkamp kept me guessing until the very end. I liked that. Robin didn't go into the show looking for a romance but it happened, just like real life and good chick lit-esque novels. The romance just happens along the way and that's what happened in The Holdout.
Even if you're not a Survivor fan, which I am not, I still think you would really enjoy The Holdout by Laurel Osterkamp. It's interesting look at the way we view two seemingly very different things - justice and reality TV. Osterkamp did a good job of weaving together the two into a thoroughly enjoyable novel. Check it out! It won't disappoint.