The Boyfriend Bookmark: ★★★★★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.
Ginger Voight has such a unique way of taking a socially awkward person and making them into the hero of her stories. I love this about her writing and her delivery of her stories. One after another, I am always captivated by the characters, their situations and how we can all learn something from them and somehow find the best inside ourselves and let that shine through.
I became a huge Ginger Voight fan with the Groupie Trilogy. Nothing was more amazing to me than how the characters just came to life. They were normal people even if they had larger than life careers. She completely stole my breath in the Fullerton Family Saga. It was nothing what I was expecting but I fell in love with each character for very different reasons. And now we have ended up here in an exclusive club of friends who are all misfits and outcasts all looking the same direction, at Dylan.
This book had me in the first few pages. Reliving my very youth. Living in the 80’s was the decade that the world saw incredible change. I mean my number two pencil and cassette tapes had a love affair going on, you couldn’t miss that and yes, I even had the parent or grandparent fighting over the Cabbage Patch Kid just to make a little girls Christmas perfect. My video game experiences never went much further than mastering the Pac Man pattern and I remember every bit of actually getting up to answer the phone (connected to the cord and hanging on the wall), most of my childhood that phone didn’t even have buttons… And it was an awesome burnt orange color that matched the carpet. To make my youth even better, we had a “party line.” And for those of you who have no idea what that is, we shared our phone line with the neighbors, four houses, one phone line. Yup, I am a true product of the 80’s. So this story just brought back way too many memories of times gone by.
But once you accept the 80’s part of it this isn’t just about 1980-something. This is about two people growing up in the same place and living completely different lives. One always though the other was way out of his/her league and the other just couldn’t understand why he/she wasn’t good enough. And yet, they had an undeniable connection. Their mothers raised them side by side in the same house. Roni’s dad had died, Dylan’s had left. They all moved into together and had this amazing little family structure. Two friends and their two children. They were a happy family.
Roni was the social outcast. She was smart but she didn’t see that she was pretty. She was mostly popular when it served other’s interests, namely the interest of Dylan. Girls would be her friend if she could get them an “in” with Dylan. She was invited to parties because of Dylan. She was never really accepted for who she was. But she had found her security in a small group of other social outcasts. They were all so different but, they all had one connection. They were the ones left on the sideline of the Dylan love fest and though they all thought he was quite swoon worthy, they would never measure up to what he was looking for.
It is true. Dylan was the most popular guy in school. He always dated the perfect girls never even giving a second glance at those in that small group. But what that small group never knew is that Dylan had his heart set on one of them but nothing would ever come of it, he would never be what she needed. He could never be the commitment kind of guy and he could never live up to her needs and expectations.
Time they say heals all wounds, but Roni and Dylan were a mythical romance living deep inside the soul. She never though she was pretty enough, he never thought he was good enough. But time and time again, they found themselves in situations where they were the only ones each other had. Of course twenty years later and some things haven’t changed.
Roni was a divorced mother trying to do the best for her daughter. Her daughter, like most teenage girls, lothed that. She wanted to spend her time with her absent father who typically pawned her off on others or blew her off completely. She was a much younger version of Dylan. When the expensive gifts tried to pass as true love for not being there, Meghan sometimes confused the two things completely. But Roni noticed every moment of it and never let her daughter in on that little insight. Maybe it was because she was aware of how it affected Dylan growing up or maybe it was because she knew that her slimy ex-husband would stop at nothing to make her more miserable all of these years after the divorce.
But now in all these years, Roni is trying to discover who she is and what would truly make her happy and it always seems to come back to one thing, or person. But she knows she will never be the one to change his ways. Or will she?
For years, Dylan kept his feelings for Roni hidden. He had an image to protect and he knew he just wasn’t good enough for her… or was he?
When dynamics about a person’s life change, so do the people they find to surround themselves with. Roni found her way back into the lives of those friends from long ago, including Dylan. But could there ever be anything more for Dylan and Roni or will they forever be the one’s that got away?
I loved this book. Ginger Voight takes normal people in very normal situations and just tugs and pulls on every heart string a reader has. I wanted to climb into the pages of this book and surround myself with these characters. Larger than life or simple as it may be, the characters in this book have so much going on and it is simple every day drama that just keeps it moving. Now, I am not saying that Dylan’s dad or Roni’s ex-husband are ideal or normal but the reactions of the characters just tell the story all on their own and it is fabulous.
This book was more than just a love story. It was about accepting who you are for what you are and to find value within yourself that you may have never seen. Finding the strength to stand on your own and have a support group that loves you no matter what. I love the warmth that comes from the discoveries and I love that they can dance to Footloose and know the value of a mix tape!
Ginger Voight is prolific author, freelance writer and optioned screenwriter. Her fiction is diverse, with novels like the edgy, coming-of-age drama DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS, and the fun family adventure for kids of all ages, COMIC SQUAD.Having grown up reading different authors like Danielle Steel and Stephen King, Ginger has always been drawn more to story than to genre. This shows up in her various stories. Titles such as MY IMMORTAL and TASTE OF BLOOD are a delicious, heady mix of horror, suspense, and romance. Genre romance, however, has held a special place in her heart, ever since she read her first Harlequin novel when she was only eleven. As a result, Ginger is making a name for herself writing romances of her own, starring women who look more like the average American woman rather than those traditionally represented in the size-biased American media. Her Rubenesque romances were created especially for those heroines with fuller figures, who can still get the man of their dreams if only they believe they can. Such titles include UNDER TEXAS SKIES, LOVE PLUS ONE, THE GROUPIE TRILOGY, THE FIERCE TRILOGY and PICTURE POSTCARDS. Ginger was included in the best-selling book by Smith Magazine NOT QUITE WHAT I WAS PLANNING, featuring her six-word memoir.