Robin Bricker is the youngest, and the only daughter, in a family of men raised by a single father. The least accomplished of her siblings, she applies for, and wins, a spot on The Holdout, a Survivoresque reality show. Just as the series begins its television run, Robin is called for jury duty. Between hiding her identity from her jury peers to fending off the not-so-good-natured teasing from her brothers, dealing with family issues, and the inevitable fallout as the TV show airs, Robin discovers that life and jury duty both are much like The Holdout where “[t]he stakes are high, loyalties are tested, and hearts are broken.”
Who would have thought reality shows, jury duty, and real life had anything in common? Laurel Osterkamp, that’s who. She’s written a fantastic novel that explores the complexities of family, friendship, and sibling rivalry, the search for happiness and love, and offers a look behind the scenes of both jury duty and reality shows, weaving them all together in a tale that offers laughter and tears and a triumphant ending for heroine Robin Bricker. While romance plays a role, the story centers on the concept of accountability, asking whether absolute justice exists, and, if so, what it looks like and how personal responsibility ties into it. Her characters are normal people, trying to do the best they can and who learn via trial by fire. The situations in which they find themselves, including Robin’s time on The Holdout, are believable and don’t seem extraordinary or out of place. The narrative is easy to follow even with the nonlinear timeline between the present and the previous events on the show, and the storylines are seamlessly intertwined.
THE HOLDOUT is a fun, hard-to-put-down read, and fans of the chick lit genre will definitely enjoy it.
Reviewed by K.J. Pierce for IndieReader