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. Laurel Osterkamp's award winning novels have been hailed as funny, intelligent, snarky and poignant. She is the author of four novels and two novellas, including the November Surprise series, which, like The Holdout, features the Bricker family. Laurel was recently on a federal jury, and she loves watching Survivor.
Robin Bricker was chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to be on THE HOLDOUT: PHILIPPINES, a popular survivalist reality show a la SURVIVOR. The novel was written in a series of flashbacks. Post-THE HOLDOUT Robin is going through her life as normally as she possibly can knowing that with each and every episode of THE HOLDOUT aired, the population of, oh, yeah, the whole world, is made witness to the stupid decisions she made on the show. Each episode brings painful reminders of her time on the island and she can’t even vent to anybody because her contract says she can’t divulge anything about the show until the episode is aired. All the haters are bad enough but the fact that she can’t even rant to anyone about it makes it harder for Robin.
Getting chosen for jury duty is something everyone would try escape. Not Robin. She liked the idea of being part of a body that can contribute to the justice system. She finds a lot of parallelisms between her jury duty and her time on the island.
I think that was what I disliked most about THE HOLDOUT. Everything that Robin does always relates back to THE HOLDOUT. I found it really annoying, actually. I’d love to tell Robin to suck it up and get over it. She kept complaining about how people keep saying she’s a stuck-up but I did not find any evidence to the contrary. It was difficult for me to relate and like her character. Robin is self-absorbed and frankly, she thinks way too much of herself. I can’t say if she’s 31 or 13!
Of course, what book can be complete without some family drama on the side? Cheating husbands, insufferable older brothers, dead mothers. The family thing was one of the book’s redeeming qualities for me in the end. At the beginning, there wasn’t really much going on but at the end, we get to see some resolution of the family issues that had always cast shadows on Robin’s life. There were also a few golden nuggets from Lucy that I loved around the last 30 pages or so.
When I read the synopsis, I was kind of excited for the “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” part. Alas, it was not what I was expecting either. The romance: weak; the self-discovery: meh. I guess there was some really great potential there but I think the author was not able to capture it well. A little more exploration would’ve helped, IMO.
I wasn’t exactly thrilled to read THE HOLDOUT. I guess it’s more because of the way and style that the story was handled rather than the story itself. Majority of the pages was spent way too much on Robin being stuck in that damn reality show. She may have been home for months but her mind is forever stuck on a THE HOLDOUT loop. It was exasperating. I got tired hearing about Robin’s HOLDOUT woes at around, say, the umpteenth time.
I get that as readers, we each have certain preferences for the books we read. Likewise, whether we realize it or not, we have also developed a taste for a kind of writing style. THE HOLDOUT just did not work for me.
No matter how much I say that I don’t like a book, I’m not going to tell you to not read it. If you think you like the premise of the story, then go ahead and read it. No harm in trying. Besides, you might like it more than I did.