Book Review: Holly Banks Full of Angst by Julie Valerie (eARC)

Holly Banks Full of Angst

Author: Julie Valerie

Publication Date: 01 December 2019

Genre: Adult Fiction – Contemporary

Pages: 378

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing/Amazon

Holly Banks could not have made a worse first impression on the seemingly perfect moms in her new affluent community, the Village of Primm. Turns out wearing pink piggy pajama bottoms while dropping off her kindergartener late to the first day of school wasn’t her best look.

Not to mention Holly’s worried her husband may be having an affair, she can’t get her daughter to stop sucking her thumb, her hard-won film degree is collecting dust, and to top it all off, the power-hungry PTA president clearly has it in for her…

To make matters even worse, Holly’s natural eye for drama lands her smack-dab in the middle of a neighborhood mystery—right as her own crazy mother shows up in Primm “to help.” Through it all, Holly begins to realize her neighbors may be just as flawed as—and even wackier than—she is, leaving her to wonder: Is there such a thing as a perfect mom? 

Holly Banks Full of Angst is a charmingly hilarious story that highlights the craziness that life becomes when juggling marriage, kids, and over the top PTAs.

Holly Banks and her husband moved to the idyllic and utterly pretentious Village of Primm. If you’ve ever seen Stepford Wives, it’s definitely Stepford. Their five year old daughter Ella is just starting kindergarten, and if being new to town isn’t bad enough, Holly is crumbling under the pressure of being a Primm school mom.

While I may not have kids, I still found this book incredibly relatable and accurate when it comes to societal expectations. Holly is that type of mom that is normal. She is not a world class baker or a DIY phenomenon. She constantly feels inadequate, overworked, and under appreciated. However, she is a fantastic mother that has a great sense of humor and is full of grit. Holly is a reminder that life doesn’t have to be picture perfect; rather, it’s our loved ones that makes it perfect.

Now, I said that this book is like Stepford Wives and that’s because of Mary-Margaret St. James. She’s the head mom and in charge of the PTA. Imagine Regina George of Mean Girls growing up to be a mother and in charge and you’d pretty much have Mary-Margaret. This woman is the ultimate power trip. Her mentality is that if you aren’t making everything from scratch, have the perfect yard, and sewing all of your children’s costumes then you don’t belong in Primm. I don’t know how Holly didn’t kick the woman in her teeth.

Overall, this is a fun, light-hearted read that reminds us that none of us are perfect and we aren’t alone in feeling that way. Life is about enjoying time with your loved ones and Keeping up with the Joneses so to speak…just isn’t worth it.

Thank you to the author and NetGalley for providing an eARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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