Sunday, July 28, 2013

Book Review: 'The One That I Want' by Jennifer Echols

Pages: 290
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Release Date: 06/12/11
Publisher: Simon Pulse
I bought it on Kindle Store.

Gemma can’t believe her luck when the star football player starts flirting with her. Max is totally swoon-worthy, and even gets her quirky sense of humor. So when he asks out her so-called best friend Addison, Gemma’s heartbroken. 
Then Addison pressures Gemma to join the date with one of Max’s friends. But the more time they all spend together, the harder Gemma falls for Max. She can’t help thinking that Max likes her back—it’s just too bad he’s already dating Addison. How can Gemma get the guy she wants without going after her best friend’s boyfriend?

'The One that I want' is a contemporary book that I bought along with a flurry of contemporary e-book purchases. Thankfully, this novel gave me a break from the cute-yet-predictable boy next door romances. 'The One that I want' is certainly and enjoyable novel and does confirm Jennifer Echols status as a "good" writer as far as plot is concerned, but I'm still not entirely sure that I loved it.

Gemma is a very "alternative" kind of character. Purple streaks, Courtney Love T-shirt, vintage bracelet fetish and aspiring school majorette? The last one was a bit of a surprise. Gemma is also a lot thinner than she used to be and even though she looks hot now and has rich parents, she isn't exactly happy. Gemma isn't exactly queen bee of the social ladder. I thought Gemma was a nice change from the typical contemporary character as she actually feels more confident when she stands out from the crowd.

So what is a majorette? I had no idea what a majorette was when I started this book. I actually don't really have much of an idea of the whole American High school Football scene. Football games in Australia are not as school oriented and as far as I know (I haven't exactly been to a highs school age one) they are a bit more casual. So once again, Jennifer Echols has taught me about a hobby I knew nothing about. For those like me who didn't know; majorettes are baton twirlers.

Gemma had an interesting "love-hate" relationship with her friend Addison. It seemed that Gemma had originally found it difficult to find friends because of her size and that she had chosen Addison as a friend and put up with her out of duty to her mother and fear of finding no other friends. As Gemma loses weight and gains confidence, the need to "put up with" Addison starts to diminish. Addison is one of those sneaky mean girls. She is dramatic at times and she is annoying, but she does not do anything too devious (that isn't intercepted anyway).

The romance aspect of this book makes me laugh. Gemma is going out with Max's friend and Max is going out with Addison, but Gemma likes Max... It's forbidden love. So ofcourse this does mean that there are some forbidden moments and this doesn't help with the already tiresome Addison situation. There are a lot of schemes to inspire jealousy and some seriously awkward moments.

'The One that I Want' also features some anti-racism and culture awareness messages. Max is part Japanese and looks it. He can speak it, but he can't read it. While Gemma already knows a little about the culture and is interested to learn more being careful not to discriminate along the way -  Addison is only interested in Max's looks and doesn't make any effort to care or learn about his culture.

The only problem I had with this book was that the language sometimes felt a little lacking. I felt like it was missing some adjectives and like some of the words could have been replaced with smarter ones. I think that it's possible that Jennifer Echols's writing style is just a little more concise and plot-oriented than I would prefer and it is not necessarily a quality issue.

Overall, I gave this book a 4.5/5 star rating. I really enjoyed it and would happily read a sequel if there is one. I would recommend this to anyone who is a bit different culturally or otherwise. I look forward to reading more Jennifer Echols books and wonder which hobby I will be reading about next...

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