Author: Julie Valerie
Overview from Goodreads:
A wife, mother, and aspiring filmmaker clings to the pursuit of perfection only to have fate play with every plan she’s made in this quirky, contemplative, and empowering novel.
Holly Banks is on a desperate mission to have it all, but nothing in life goes according to plan. She’s quickly learning that keeping up with the Joneses is a full-time job, especially when the women of Primm, her new neighborhood, seem to have it together all the time.
With her husband’s job in flux, her daughter’s difficulty with learning to read, and her mother’s new zest for dating, Holly’s life is already anything but picture perfect. Then her dog digs up an old artifact in the village center, and the mishap draws the attention of local media. Because of course it would.
Holly finds herself at the center of a mystery between two rival towns that, if solved, could change the Village of Primm forever. Attention is the last thing she needs as she’s launching a new business, the village-wide “Parade of Homes” is approaching—though she’s hardly unpacked—and she needs to submit her entry for an upcoming film festival. Can Holly still create her perfect (looking) life? Or is fate about to go off script and give her a story she never could have imagined?
Holly Banks is a hot mess with good intentions as she tries to adapt to her new life in the Village of Primm (the land of PTAs, she-sheds, kindergarten weddings, chandeliers, and HOAs). Her dog Struggle is very energetic, her 5 year old is adjusting to life in school, and her life has general chaos as she finds a way. Although Holly is new to town she is certainly standing out as Struggle runs out the front door to explore the neighbor’s yard and she is not always as put together some days as her neighbors/fellow moms. With the help of Struggle, Holly finds herself the center of a big discovery and the adventure continues.
This book is the second if the Primm series. If you haven’t read the first, like me, you still will be fine keeping up with the story. Primm is similar to those perfect towns where cliques are a part of the overall area. There’s a neighborhood for the hipsters, the artists, etc. The HOA has the one person who sticks their nose in other people’s business and constantly leaves “Hello Notes” on someone’s mailbox when they don’t follow the unwritten rules for the neighborhood. I honestly have no idea how someone can be willing to move to a place like that where my household is constantly being supervised. Holly really does try to “keep up with the Joneses” as she obsesses over things that others have, such as the she-shed and elaborate chandelier.
For the writing, it described the struggles of just trying to get by very well as you try your best to fit into a new life (new neighborhood, new school, new people, etc). It’s an interesting read that shows that as much as you want things to go perfect in different parts of your life, the world has a different idea. My one true negative is that nothing seems to happen in the story as the Q-U Wedding is brought up over and over again, but doesn’t happen until towards the end. It reads very much like an observer’s diary where the details of every day life are included. Therefore, how much you enjoy the style/story, will depend on how fast-paced event-filled you prefer your novels to be. If you like reading novels about life with relatable aspects, then I highly recommend you take a peek at the world of Holly Banks.
**Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**