Title: The One That I Want
Author: Jennifer Echols
Published: December 2011 (Simon Pulse)
Summary: 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?
My Review: This is my first time doing a review where I actually took notes - beyond a random word here or there scribbled on a Post It - during the reading! It was quite fun; I think I'll be making a habit of it. I always try making mental notes, but that tends to fail me miserably. But then again, I can't make a note of every single thing that strikes my fancy while reading. I'm going to need to find a sort of balance. I think it should become fairly easy with a little practice, though.
Let me preface the review by saying this: I feel like I'm committing YA sacrilege or something, but I don't love Jennifer Echols. I like her books; I really, really do. But try as I might, I just can't love them. All three of her books I've read so far are good, but they consistently fall short of my expectations. This was the case again with The One That I Want. It was cute, and I love how her main characters are always so unique. She has great quotes and a fantastic way of getting inside the characters' heads and really letting us feel their issues. They have all the right elements, but for some reason or another, her books just don't quite do it for me. Regardless, though, The One That I Want was a good read. Let's talk specifics (also: I get to break out some quotes! *dances*).
Gemma (the MC). Gemma was an interesting character, though a little dramatic and overly sensitive. But I really felt for her a lot of the time with numerous issues because I had dealt with the exact same thing. The weight loss thing specifically. Gemma lost 48 pounds in the course of her weight loss journey, not all of which is cataloged in the book. I could relate a lot to her with things she discussed regarding her weight loss: her problems, the weirdness of people addressing it, etc. But also there were things like this:
❝The problem with pretending to be extroverted was that once I started, there was no telling what would come out of my mouth.❞
This is so true! I can't tell you how many times I've gotten carried away trying to be more extroverted, and before I know it, I have absolutely no filter. And I just loved these:
❝"Can I wait with you until your mom comes?"
YES. "You don't have to," I said.❞
❝It was better that I didn't know too much about Max. The less I knew, the less I needed to forget.❞
The first one was totally perfect and cracked me up. The second one was totally perfect and made me shake my head because I knew exactly where she was coming from. (I just realized it's a little vague. In context, she was discussing how much she actually knew about Max from snooping/remembering really well/etc. and trying to make sure she doesn't weird him out by letting him realize how much she actually knows about him.)
And, of course, we have one of my favorite quotes from the entire book:
❝He looked adorable when he did this, and I wanted to kick myself for thinking so.❞
How many times have I thought that to myself? Haha.
Addison (the BFF). Just once, I would like to see a storyline like this where the "best friend" is actually a best friend. This really has nothing to do with the book; it's just something that I think every time I read one of these books. But Addison was particularly bad. She wasn't even passive-aggressive like the "BFF" usually is; a lot of the time, she was out-and-out mean.
❝"Don't you want some of my fries, Gemma?" Addison pointed to her plate. "Or the rest of my milkshake? Gosh, I can't finish it all, but I'll bet you could."❞
She does this in front of Max and Carter when they're hanging out for the first time, and she's not joking at all. This makes me sick. Also. Just a question, but Addison was supposed to have had "boyfriends of the week" and had made out with all these guys before, but somehow, she had never actually been on a real date. I will be the first to admit that I don't know all the intricacies of high school relationships and such, thanks to being homeschooled my entire life until I went to college. But is that even possible? It just seems odd to me.
The relationship between Gemma and Addison mystified me to a point. I get what it's like to be in a friendship that's not the healthiest, but when they get to this extreme, they are beyond my comprehension. I do feel like these two quotes sum it up well, though.
❝When you look at her, what you're really seeing is the girl you became friends with in the first place...❞
❝"I don't tell Addison no."
Because she's all I have.❞
Max. Hooray for non-Caucasion heroes! This brings me to another point: I love how Echols always has characters that are not quite what you would typically expect from your run-of-the-mill YA story. Anyway, Max was a little too know-it-all-ish for me at times, but I still loved him. He was super sweet and interesting and a great match for Gemma. This was probably my favorite quote of his from the entire book:
❝If you don't have a goal, Gemma, you will never reach it.❞
True story. Plus, you know. He is the Justin Bieber of girls' soccer. How could you not love him for that?
- Premature declarations of love. One of my biggest pet peeves in a book, honestly. I don't need "The L Word" said in order for me to believe the relationship is going to work out. If anything, saying it too fast makes me think the relationship won't work because you're saying the words before you actually even know what they mean. Because hi, you're barely sixteen and have known each other for a very small amount of time and have conversed fewer times than I can count on one hand. At this point, you don't love the person; you may love your idea of this person, but that's it. This declaration is going to get nothing from me but a raised brow, an eyeroll, and an "Oh, puh-lease." /steps off soapbox
- Weight is part of the storyline! I love that Gemma struggled with her weight. Although it is getting to be less and less of an issue, being overweight can still be such a taboo in books. Even though Gemma had pretty much completed her weight loss journey for the majority of the book, it was still a huge theme.
- I learned a new word! Bucolic: of or pertaining to shepherds; pastoral. Clearly, I will be using this one a lot in my day-to-day life, LOL.
- I adored Max's mom! She was hilarious, even though we didn't get to see her very much.
- Once the HEA started looming up in the horizon, it was so adorable. I couldn't stop smiling. ♥