The author Suzanne Mattaboni awakens the nostalgia of the 80s with her debut novel “Once in a Lifetime”.


This coming-of-age tale taps into the same renewed interest of the ’80s as “Stranger Things” and “American Utopia,” and sheds light on the first women who were told they could “have it all.”

Once in a lifetime

Once in a lifetime front page

NORTHAMPTON, Pa., June 01, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Suzanne Mattaboni, a Pushcart-nominated fiction writer, Newsweek Expert Forum contributor, pop culture podcaster, and ’80s lover, announces the publication of her debut novel. Once in a lifetime, now in paperback from TouchPoint Press. The book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and the TouchPoint Press Bookstore website.

Based on the same pop culture resurgence in the 1980s that propelled Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” to #1 on iTunes (after his recent appearance on “Stranger Things”), Mattaboni’s coming-of-age story is one nostalgic but relevant tribute to the women of this decade.

in what Kirkus Reviews is calling an “exuberant and compelling tale of youthful yearning and independence,” Mattaboni’s novel spotlights the ambitious young women of the “me generation” who sprayed their hair, partied harder and worshiped post-punk gods like Chrissie Hynde, David Bowie, Deborah Harry and the B-52s. The book explores the early challenges of feminism and how it impacted the lives and budding careers of the first women who were told they could “have it all,” against a vibrant backdrop of post-punk music, dance clubs, and pop -Art.

Set in the true tourist town of New Hope, Pennsylvania, a progressive and artistic destination right on the Delaware River, the novel unfolds in the summer of 1984. New Wave music is rife, Andy Warhol rules the art scene, and the book is quirky and the Ambitious young protagonist Jessica Addentro is fed up with missing out on the creatively charged world she believes is right at her fingertips. “The life I want is out there,” Jess says at the beginning of the story, “and it’s happening without me.”

Fun, irreverent and sizzling with bright prose, Once in a lifetime follows 20-year-old University of Pittsburgh art student Jessica, a self-proclaimed “multimedia sensation”. Targeting an avant-garde study abroad course in London that she can’t afford, she heads to New Hope with a crew of scrappy, avant-garde roommates, ready to try her hand at waitressing in order to tip enough to fund the project collect their dream semester. Summer turns into a wild ride of hip clubs, restaurant mayhem, booze-fueled adventures and drag show antics. It also leads to a conflicted love triangle between Jess’ hot new post-punk guitarist boyfriend (who climbs through her apartment window to ask her out on a first date) and a intellectual and still devoted ex who pulled out of their pairing to avoid a long distance relationship.

This tug-of-war between Jess, her struggling but supportive roommates, their opposing crushes on men, and their equally all-encompassing professional drive creates a powerful dynamic throughout the story. But the larger themes of the novel show us how ambitious young women in the 1980s were finally released into the world because they believed they could fulfill their dreams and taking responsibility for their own sexuality – and yet almost overwhelming the men they met.

“Once in a Lifetime gives us a heroine who is so ambitious that she wonders if she’s ruining her chances of sustaining a decent relationship,” Mattaboni said. “She and her friends find themselves in a world where women are finally free to pursue their goals with the same passion that men have always been privy to—but turns out those men weren’t exactly ready for it . The story is great fun but also full of imperfect characters and women testing the limits of what they can achieve. The results weren’t always pretty, but they were definitely interesting.”

Throughout the summer, Jess often trips and spills cocktails; leads some hot tours around town with her new boyfriend; being jostled by slam dancers; will buds with a drag queen; and is plagued by the emerging AIDS crisis. In doing so, she not only puts her friendships and her friends to the test, but also her own stubborn will. Jess must ultimately decide if the men in her life will damage her as much as her broken glass mosaic art projects.

As one enthusiastic reviewer put it, “When ‘The Breakfast Club’ and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants had a baby, it would be this book.” This high-energy, feminist, coming-of-age tale of friendship, love, and determination will have readers tremble with laughter and shed tears as they recall their own antics in the 1980s .


Susanne Mattaboni was named one of the 2022 Women of Influence by the Lehigh Valley Business Journal. She is a Pushcart Prize-nominated novelist, blogger, essayist and corporate PR consultant. A former community service reporter for Newsdayher work was published in Seventeen, parents, childThe Huffington Post, mysterious ways, signpostand the Chicken soup for the soul series. Suzanne is also currently the host of The Banzai Retro Club podcasts, which focus on 70’s, 80’s and 90’s pop culture.

Suzanne is available for interviews, articles, guest posts, Q&As and comments.

Additional assets:

Headshot, Press Q&A
Middle article: “Men Are Like Shoes: How Suzanne Mattaboni’s Novel Shows the Women of the ’80s Being the First to Turn the Tables…”
Deborah DeKalb Mattaboni Questions and Answers
Kate Bush reaches #1 on iTunes

E-mail [email protected] for a digital review copy.

Contact: Olivia McCoy
Smith advertising
856-489-8654 extension 1022
[email protected]

Susanne Mattaboni
[email protected]
610 737-2140

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


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