One night they can’t forget…
Tess McMann lives her life according to the secrets she’s sworn to keep: the father who won’t acknowledge her, the sister who doesn’t know she exists, and the mother who’s content playing mistress to a prominent businessman. When she meets the distractingly cute Dylan Kingsley at a prestigious summer program and falls in love, Tess allows herself to imagine a life beyond these secrets. But when summer ends, so does their relationship — Dylan heads off to Canton College while Tess enrolls at the state university.
One love they can’t ignore…
Two years later, a scholarship brings Tess to Canton and back into Dylan’s life. Their attraction is as strong as ever, but Dylan has a girlfriend…who also happens to be Tess’s legitimate half-sister. Tess refuses to follow in her mother’s footsteps, which leaves her only one choice: break the rules she’s always followed, or allow Dylan to slip away for a second time.
First sentence: “I was six years old when I found out my father had another family.”
I don’t think it’s a secret that I LOOOOVVEEE Diana Peterfreund. When I heard that she wrote NA (under the name Viv Daniels) that’s set in college, I squealed in joy. She has a way of writing well-rounded characters that I love. The way the characters react to their situation was better than I had ever hoped for. One & Only is no different.
Science, people! This author knows how to incorporate science into the story well! I’m not a very science-y person and I seldom read stories that do science a justice, but in One & Only, it was refreshing and interesting to read. I found myself saying, “ooh, tell me more about this project” (but in my head, of course). Science isn’t mentioned for the sake of making the characters smart. You can tell that these characters (and Viv Daniels) are really passionate about science.
Tess McMann is has so much strength in her. I don’t know how she didn’t rebel against her father when she was a teenager and how she managed to not contact Dylan. She’s so selfless and when she finally does what she wants, I get all excited for her. Of course, what she wants always comes with a price that links to her father. I can’t really blame her for her actions because she’s always following the rules and breaking from that is hard. I like the way she rationalizes things. She wants to hate her half-sister for having everything she should’ve had (a father who pays attention), but she doesn’t let herself do it because she knows that once she does, she won’t be able to stop herself. She works hard to get where she is and get from under her father’s thumb, and I applaud her for that.
I feel a bit ridiculous of how much I am into Dylan Kingsley. I think it’s the glasses and his passion for science (and perhaps his cheese comment to Tess). It’s a lethal mixture. ;) I love that he’s respectful of Tess’s wishes, but he doesn’t back down. Whenever he sent emails to Tess, I found them to be utterly charming. His and Tess’s romance was sooo cute. Seeing them fall in love, ahhh, my heart! I like that he acknowledges that he’s the one who pushed her and takes the blame for putting her in a situation that’s kind of horrible for Tess. He’s very noble and wonderful. Why can’t I get a guy like that?
I do not condone cheating, even if it’s between the main character and the guy she loves (who happens to have a girlfriend). It’s a big no-no in my book, but rest assure, nobody went over the line (which I’m sure is debatable depending on who you talk to like if you talked to Sylvia, Tess’s friend). I like the way it was handled. Although they might be selfish, I fully appreciate the steps Tess and Dylan made to ensure that no other parties (including themselves) got hurt if they got together. They were doing the responsible thing!
Hannah is a gem. You would think that she’s the jealous and extremely bitchy girlfriend so they can make the main character a better choice for the guy, but she’s not. Forget that stereotype because that doesn’t apply to Hannah. Yeah, she’s rich and spoiled, but there is so much than to her than meets the eye. She doesn’t kick or scream when she doesn’t get her way. She is pretty awesome when she and Tess finally talk. I wasn’t really expecting her to be calm. I was expecting a lot of anger and name calling, but none of that happened. She was calm and completely levelheaded? She’s great to have on your side. And I, for one, am excited to read more about her in the next book.
I think the one thing I didn’t like in the book was the plot twist, particularly [spoiler]when Hannah is sick (which turns out to be a benign) and when their dad gets into an accident[/spoiler]. I totally understand the reasons for it – create more obstacles – but it was totally cringe-worthy and cliché. I found myself going “is this really happening,” but luckily it’s not a total book deal breaker.
What I love about this book is that each of the characters reacts to their situations differently than all the NA and romances I have read in the past. They constantly surprise me with how rational and responsible they are, especially during scenes when the characters have to make a tricky decision in a bad situation (ie. Dylan’s actions after he broke up with his girlfriend, Hannah finding out about her dad). I’m honestly in awe of their reactions because they aren’t making totally rash and regrettable actions. Did I already say I love that?
One & Only is a wonderful that contains lots of science, characters who react differently than you’re used to, a very sweet romance, and plenty of other things that’ll I refuse to spoil for you.