Published by Self-Published on 08 November 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Place(s) Traveled To: Canton, Vermont // Ithaca, New York
First Line(s): I was six years old when I found out my father had another family.
One & Only by Viv Daniels is a new adult title that is a departure from all that you think new adult is. One & Only is a smart and funny story that is filled with heart and substance and everything that you could want in a story set in college. But as Viv Daniels is the alter ego of Diana Peterfreund, of Secret Society Girl fame, this comes as no surprise. However, when I started to read One & Only was was unsure of it. There was just something weird about Tess’s voice and manner of telling her story that just made it hard to connect with. The language or something just felt off and my brain would focus on trying to figure out what it was that wasn’t quite right and not as much time on the story.
The more I read One & Only the better able I was to ignore this strangeness or perhaps over the course of the book it went away. I can’t say for certain and I really can’t give an exact example of what felt off to me either. It just did and then it didn’t.
The character of Tess was was one that I liked. She wasn’t perfect, she made mistakes and then had to live with the consquences. The more you learn of her past the more you can see why she made the choices she did. I like how over the early chapters you see her grow from a strong, yet passive, girl into one who is strong and willing to fight for what she wants. To add to the complex nature of Tess’s life, she reconnects with her first love, Dylan, whose heart she broke when they broke up 2 years prior. They’d had a brief but intense relationship while at a special science program and then since she had so many secrets she thought the easiest thing to do was to just stop all contact when they returned to the real world and prepared to go to college. Not the smartest choice but haven’t we all made irrational choices before?
When the reconnect Dylan has a girlfriend, who just happens to be Tess’s half-sister. The half-sister who doesn’t know that Tess is her sister. There is also the added complication that both Tess and Dylan seem to have retained all of their strong and intense feeling for each other. Now when this all started to happen I rolled my eyes and though ‘Oh sweet baby Jesus this is a cheating story!’ and was in a hairs breath of just putting the book aside. But something kept me reading and I was so glad that I did as One & Only is one of those super heart-achy reads that has you cheering on the main characters despite the obstacles in their way. If I could compare One & Only to one book it would be Anna and the French Kiss, Anna and Etienne have a very similar relationship to Tess and Dylan and if you like that book then you will like One & Only.
This book had so many emotions! It was a total roller coaster ride and there came a point where I was unable to put it down. My heart ached through much of the story for both Dylan and Tess and Tess’s sister Hannah. So I’m really glad that the next book in this series will be Hannah’s story as she deserves a happily ever after. While One & Only wasn’t a perfect read it was one that I loved by the end. I stayed up late to finish it and am so sad that there is no more. Sad that I can no longer read this story for the first time. But you can experience all those ups and downs. All the hopeful moments and the ones that almost break your heart.
Stories like One & Only are what new adult books should be about. Learning to be an adult. Making tough choices. Balancing work and school – because we see the characters do both here and they aren’t in some easy peasy major either but in an intense science program. (I loved that they were both science nerds!) If you’ve been on the fence of new adult then try this story. I don’t think that you will regret it.