The One that I Want by Jennifer Echols.

eBook, 288 pages

Published 6th December, 2011 by Simon Pulse

When Gemma saw Max and Max saw Gemma, sparks flew. At least that’s what Gemma thought, until Max asks her friend Addison out instead. But with Addison’s mum being the way she is, Gemma needs to go along too – with Max’s friend Carter. Let the torturous double dating begin!

Gemma just keeps falling harder for Max as the dates go on. They have a lot in common, not to mention amazing chemistry. The only thing Gemma has in common with Carter is an ability to lock lips, which they demonstrate every now and again.

Meanwhile, Gemma is having relationship issues with just about everyone. Since the weight dropped and she became a majorette, she has gained confidence (‘majorette’ is a new one for me – think of a baton twirling sector in the marching band, with a cheerleader type presence at football games). She’s standing up to her domineering best friend for the first time and trying to figure out how she fits in with everyone else now that things are different for/within her.

My favourite Jennifer Echols book is Going too Far. It was also the first J.E. book I read – having just discovered eBooks, I was very excited at all the possibilities (so many young adult books that I have never even heard of, and so cheap!) and that excitement may have possibly rubbed off on my actual reading experience. Still, I’m fairly sure that Going too Far is my favourite from this author so far.

I feel – and once again, this is probably my age – that this is a cute novel and pretty fun to read, but not incredibly substantial. The subject matter (girl stealing best friend’s boyfriend) has been dealt with a lot before – twice in my e-collection alone! – and possibly better. I seemed to enjoy the others more (in my memory, anyway) – mind you, I did read Susane Colasanti’s Something like Fate in the glorious outdoors on my brand new Kobo eReader, lying on my banana chair in the afternoon sun, so that delightful experience could leave me biased! I did enjoy this novel, however. And it helps that it really doesn’t overstay it’s welcome – I read the whole thing this morning.

Max is pretty swoon worthy, as Gemma’s romantic interest. He is Japanese-American, wears cool Japanese T-shirts, is an amazing kicker for an opposing school’s football team, and aside from a habit of ‘making girls mad’ is a generally cool character.

Addison, the best friend, seems to be anything but. It’s quite annoying that she was portrayed as this horrible, manipulative, domineering friend right from the beginning. I noticed the same thing in Something Borrowed – that fairly recent movie starring Kate Hudson, featuring a similar story line – they gradually made her character really nasty so that it made it seem okay that her bestie had just stolen her fiance. It’s an easy way out, I think. What happens when friends who genuinely love one another fall for the other’s guy? If you act on that, what happens to your friendship? (I can’t really remember how it was in Something Like Fate or The Unwritten Rule (by Elizabeth Scott), so they may have done something similar there, after all.)

But taking into account Addison being a bad friend, and she and Max being quite unsuitable for each other, The One that I Want is done really well. Good resolution and character growth for the main character.

All you fans of Jennifer Echols, or the two other novels I mentioned, or this kind of book in general, have a read and tell me what you think.

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