One? By Jennifer L. Cahill
*I received an ecopy of Jennifer’s book in exchange for a review*
Synopsis: “It’s London in the mid-noughties before Facebook, iPhones and ubiquitous wifi.
Zara has just moved to London for her first real job and struggles to find her feet in a big city with no instruction manual.
Penelope works night and day in an investment bank with little or no time for love. At twenty-eight she is positively ancient as far as her mother is concerned and the pressure is on for her to settle down as the big 3-0 is looming.
Charlie spends night and day with his band who are constantly teetering on the verge of greatness. Richard has relocated to London from his castle in Scotland in search of the one, and Alyx is barely in one place long enough to hold down a relationship let alone think about the future. One? follows the highs and lows of a group of twenty-somethings living in leafy SW4.”
I enjoyed this book because it shows people in their twenties in the world of YA books. I would say that this book is upper YA because there are a handful of times where the characters cuss, and they do drink frequently, but overall, I would say that these characters are pretty chill.
This book explores life after college in the big city of London in the mid-2000s. It mainly follows Penelope who is working for a bank and seems to have her life in order with a steady pay, an apartment with a few roommates, and her best friends next to her. However, she is starting to get to the age where is ready to find someone to start to develop a long term relationship. Zara is fresh out of college with a new job; she is adjusting to the hustle and bustle of this huge city, all while trying to meet new people. Then, we have Charlie. Charlie, bless his heart, is a musician living with Pen and Zara living his life one day at a time with his musical career starting to take off.
I was kind of nervous going into this book because it takes place in the early 2000s because I seem to stay away from books where characters talk about pulling out their flip phones and pagers making the story feel so dated and old. But, the time of this book did not interfere with my reading experience at all! There wasn’t a whole lot of details about the technology other than having to start up a computer which made this book which made this book feel more modern day even though of the time setting.
I could go on and on about how amazing it is to finally read a YA book that focuses on people outside of their teenage years! It’s great to see life after high school where people are out on their own trying to take on the world. Since the book follows a few different characters, we get to see a variety of experiences from living a relatively stable life (Penelope) to dealing with moving away from home and facing the possibility of job lost (Zara) to going with the flow and taking things with ease (Charlie).
“It’s funny how these things happen sometimes. It doesn’t really seem that significant at the time, but when you look back you realize that one chance encounter can potentially change the whole direction of the rest of your life.”
Even though this book talks about finding the ONE a lot, there are also other topics that this book explores like friendship, growing up, and just living life. Friendships seems to be one of those topics in books where things can get pretty crazy and unstable. However, in the One, life long friendships are built, and there aren’t any petty fights like is common in teenagers. Penelope and George (Penelope’s friend from college) have an amazing friendship where they are able to call each other in the middle of the night, come over, and help the other through whatever problem the other has. Once the two get to know Zara better, she soon becomes a part of the group as if they had always been friends.
This book shows the ups and downs that people face while trying to find the ONE. Zara has a lot more luck at finding a happy relationship than Penelope. Poor Penelope finds herself on quite the ride during the duration of this book. She meets a man that is everything that she has ever dreamed of while running into a guy that she went to college with. She goes through all of the emotions that comes along with dating from physical attraction to a deep connection to confusion. A while she’s busy going on dates and possibly looking for love in all the wrong places, the one could be the person that has been around her all along.
“I never really think about things like that… but the question has been playing in my mind lately, like about what if the only one person for each person and if there is… how do you know who is the one?”
*note that this is a really short playlist*
- End Up Here by 5 Seconds of Summer
- As Fast as I Could by Josh Turner
- Accidently in Love by Counting Crows
- Not Over You by Gavin DeGraw
- Imagination by Shawn Mendes
- Alone by Halsey
I recommend the One? for those looking for a book that is a light, quick read that follows young adults (in their 20s) who are just starting their life in a big city. It shows the struggles that many young people face such as dating, balancing work and having a social life, and just adulting in general but is never really talked about in YA books.
Happy reading until next time,