Everyone has a certain affinity for the time in which they grew up and the music defining that period — but Jenna Jenkins is taking it one step further. Her office at Video TV is a shrine to ’80s band The Wild Boys and its enigmatic lead singer, Tommy Seer. And after ending another relationship, Jenna is trying to come to grips with the fact that no man can ever live up to the fantasy of Tommy, her epic teen crush. And the fact that Tommy himself has been dead more than twenty years, a victim of a mysterious car crash in 1987? Well, that changes nothing.
But when a sudden thunderstorm strands Jenna at her office, the line between reality and pretend becomes hopelessly blurred. With a lightning strike and fall in a supply closet, Jenna blacks out . . . and finds herself in 1987. She’s still working at Video TV, but in its heyday — a time with Tommy and the Wild Boys graced every music chart and big hair was the norm. She’s now working as an assistant to a corporate big-wig and rocking a cool new desk, but Jenna is worried she’s going completely insane.
But the first time she sees Tommy, Jenna is overcome with the weight of her fascination and obsession. Like the Justin Timberlakes and Justin Biebers that would follow him, Tommy is even more beautiful in person. And as Jenna becomes further ensconced in his world, she realizes there may have been a purpose for her time travel after all.
Megan Crane’s I Love The 80s is a funny, unexpected look at the teen idols who define us and the second chances we just might get. I went into this book expecting a light, amusing story, and it delivered that — and then some.
Jenna is a hilarious lead I could relate to from page one. Perpetually in love with my own teen idol, Taylor Hanson, no amount of time (or his subsequent marriage and scads of children) can change my feelings. It’s easy to get lost in fantasy — especially when your life isn’t going as hoped. And as Jenna is smarting from the end of a long relationship, it’s comforting to imagine life with handsome, amazing and talented Tommy Seer.
Of course, I’ve never gone back in time to save Taylor Hanson from anything. Jenna is given an opportunity that requires readers to suspend their disbelief, but Crane’s storytelling makes this surprisingly easy to do. She fits the implausible within workable parameters, and it suddenly didn’t matter if time travel is, you know, impossible. I bought into it because Jenna was a believable mix of terrified and exhilarated. Because the whole thing was just too amusing not to believe.
I loved getting to know Tommy as Jenna did — the things he felt; the secrets he kept. He was wonderful and tortured, sexy and absolutely crush-worthy. It was obvious why Jenna fell in love with him — both the idol she knew as a child, and the 1987 version who came crashing into her world. I Love The 80s felt like a voyeuristic peek at the life of a celebrity — even a fictional one. And I loved that Jenna was an everyday woman who had the possibility of capturing his heart.
So we have a love story and a mystery; a funny book and a poignant one. Light, quick and very readable, I Love The 80s was the perfect novel to giggle, swoon and grip as I tore through the book waiting to learn Tommy’s fate. Crane did a wonderful job tying up the many threads balanced to form this story, and I wouldn’t hesitate to devour another of her novels soon. Children of the ’80s will take particular pleasure in all the synthesized, giant-hair references that made the ’80s great!
4 out of 5!