The Leftover Club by Ginger Voight
on September 12, 2014
Amazon • Goodreads
In 1986, Roni Lawless wasn't like most of her classmates. She was too smart, too awkward, and too different to fit into any specific clique. The only commonality she happened to share with her thinner, more popular counterparts was that she, too, had a massive crush on Dylan Fenn, the most popular boy in school.
Even though their mothers were great friends and even shared a house, Roni was stuck squarely in the Friend Zone, unable to win Dylan's interest like many of the girls he dated and discarded throughout high school. Instead she had to find solace with the other outcasts, all brought together by their unrequited crush. Together they formed The Leftover Club, a very exclusive group of teens who couldn't turn Dylan's head even if they spontaneously combusted.
Over the next 20 years, each member gets their shot at seducing the man of their collective dreams. But who will ultimately win his heart in time for the 20th anniversary for the Class of '88?
Ginger Voight, author of the best selling "GROUPIE" and "FULLERTON FAMILY SAGA" series, weaves a new standalone romance about the angst of long-standing, unrequited love. This timey wimey tale is a heartfelt and nostalgic look back at what it was like to come of age in the 80s, fall in and out of love in the 90s and ultimately come into one's own in the 21st Century. It is a love story for all ages, especially anyone who ever pined over the one who got away.
The premise of The Leftover Club had me sold. I’m grew up and graduated high school in the 80’s and I couldn’t wait to be transported back in time. Ginger Voight hits it spot on. I almost had to pull out my Jordache jeans and drape myself in neon and lace fingerless gloves. If only hubby would wear those parachute pants once again! But I digress. This is a story of unrequited love and a group of social misfits that stay true to each other years after graduating high school.
I’ve been sitting on this review for a few days. I wanted to see if my feelings would change. A lot of times when a story has that initial emotional impact my brain won’t let me wait. I have to get all those thoughts out of my head right away. But with The Leftover Club, I didn’t know I felt. I liked the story, the characters, the writing. I liked how the chapters switched between years so we could get glimpses of growth and connect some of the dots between the main character Roni and her childhood crush, Dylan, as well as the impact her friends had on her life growing up. I really appreciated being able to connect to the emotions Roni had in high school. The feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, the social stigma of being different, and the effect that high school has on all of us. I thought she nailed it. I couldn’t commiserate on many levels. I really connected with Roni in those chapters.
I didn’t however, connect so much with the now chapters. The current Roni didn’t really match up. I was confused by the lack of maturity in her outlook on life. When it came to her broken marriage and the fall out of being a single parent with a not so nice ex, I applauded Roni’s outlook. However, her in ability to see herself as an abused wife had me befuddled. It was never addressed that current insecurities were a direct result of the relationship between herself and her ex. It was just written off as an okay thing because this is how she felt in high school anyway so it all made sense in her head. I really wanted the author to explore that more. Delve deep and force Roni to seek happiness on her own before chasing that dream of her high school crush.
Dylan’s character was very intriguing to me. His childhood was not idyllic in that he desperately wanted/needed the love of his absent father. The absence of a father figure left him feeling inadequate to have meaningful relationships. He learned very early that money can’t buy love. So to see him struggle with real emotions was great. Like I’m sure many people do he chose to punish himself by denying what he really wanted. Instead choosing the path of least resistance.
So we have these two flawed characters that see each other an unattainable. Both struggling with internal demons and insecurities. As an adult these images of each other continue, however, I didn’t feel the connection between them as I did when they were younger. I almost felt like they regressed as adults, thrown back into those teenage years and it was hard to understand why these two adults in their late 30’s were acting out and behaving like kids. I think I would have preferred more chapters with them coming together in the now making real connections between mind, body, and soul.
This is still an overall fun read. I really enjoyed the banter between the members of the The Leftover Club as well as the interactions between Roni and her daughter. I could definitely feel her pain in raising a teenager. I love Ginger Voight’s writing, she has an amazing voice for story telling, it’s always consistent. My issues with the story still make it a 3.5-4 star read.
*A copy of this book was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*