I was sent Once in a Lifetime by Suzanne Mattaboni months ago and although it takes place in the summer, I really wanted to read it before the end of the year. And really you can read it any time of the year!
The novel takes place during the summer of 1984 in New Hope, PA – just across from the river from New Jersey. Jessica is a mixed media art student in Pittsburgh. She has dreams of studying abroad in London, but needs to save some more money. Jess and her 3 best friends/roommates – Trina, Kimmer, and Audrey head to New Hope for the summer to live in a small, dingy apartment and waitress to make some money. Lovers of punk rock and subversive culture, the girls dance around to music, go to shows, dye their hair, wear fishnets, etc. and then wear waitressing uniforms for work to make money to help them reach their goals and dreams.
This coming of age novel follows Jess as she works her first waitressing job, navigates life living away from home and her college dorm, and works through the highs and lows of love i.e. taking a break from her long-time boyfriend while they’re long distance and meeting a good looking guy in a band.
I really loved the novel and found it to be a quick read. I was engaged the whole time wondering how everything was going to shape up and what would happen in regards to her love life. I definitely had thoughts on that, but I won’t spoil it for you! Mattaboni did a wonderful job of describing everything in such a way that I felt like I was right there living with Jess and the girls in their apartment that was falling apart and working at the restaurant.
Following Jess and the girls around New Hope in the 80s was a really fun read and I highly recommend it!
*I was sent this book in exchange for an honest view. This post contains affiliate links.*