Book Review: The One that I Want

Title/Author:  The One that I Want by Jennifer Echols

Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Published:  December 6th, 2011 by Simon Pulse

Paperback, 259 pages

How I Got This Book:  Checked it out from the library

Why I Picked It Up?:  Jennifer Echols, Take TWO!

Book Jacket Blurb:  “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 of the Work:

The first Jennifer Echols novel I tried was a bust for me (to see why, visit my EX Games review here).  But I wanted to give her another chance, especially because she has quite a few books coming out over the next few months that look promising.  So I picked up one of her latest novels to see if I liked it any better.  And I must admit, I liked this one more than The Ex Games.  But not that much more.

Let me get my Rants out of the way upfront.  There has been a lot of talk recently about the YA book cover controversy, where publishers put really awesome yet deceptive covers on the front of books to draw in the YA readers. So take a look at the cover, people.  Pretty teens on a nice cover, right?  Except for the fact that THOSE CHARACTERS ARE NOT IN THIS BOOK!!!!!  BLAAAAHHHH!  Max, the swoon-worthy boy of Gemma’s affection, is ASIAN! From JAPAN! DOES THAT BOY LOOK ASIAN TO YOU?  And Gemma…GEMMA IS NOT BARBIE!  She is not a stick-thin female!!! She is a girl who worked hard to lose weight.  AND SHE HAS PURPLE STREAKS IN HER HAIR!  And she is a QUIRKY girl, not THAT GIRL!  Why put the two pretty white kids on the cover of your book about an really sweet Asian boy and a quirky, slightly over-weight girl?!?!  I really don’t understand, but it just makes me extremely upset!

And another thing I absolutely did NOT appreciate was the unrealistic tryout process for the majorettes.  I’m sorry, I was a part of the marching band in high school and college, and I hate to tell you, but that is not how marching band works!!!  The dance team/colorguard/majorettes do NOT, in fact, have to try out in front of the ENTIRE SCHOOL!  How realistic is that?!?!  Cheerleading tryouts do not occur in front of the whole school, so why make majorette tryouts happen in front of the whole school.  That is just a ridiculously inappropriate detail to just throw into a novel to further build the embarrassment the overweight protagonist already deals with for being overweight in high school.  There is no need to include such a deferment from real life.  Us band nerds do not appreciate it, k thanks.

Now on to the positives.  I actually really liked the two main characters in this novel a lot.  We have Gemma, whose quirky name matches her quirky personality to a T.  She is actually a realistic teenage girl who has had low self-confidence her entire life because of her weight.  In many ways, I actually related to how she saw herself and why she kept hanging out with such a self-centered, out to hurt her, supposedly best friend (Addison).  Her emotions and feelings about her need for Addison in her life, even though Gemma recognized that Addison always wanted to make Gemma feel inferior, is a very realistic occurrence amongst high school girls, especially those with lower self-esteem.  However, as Gemma grows throughout this novel and realizes that she is strong beautiful, she begins to realize just how much Addison has been degrading her.  This realization happens so often in the world teenagers and was actually depicted in a very real and understood way, which I appreciated.

And Max is just a sweetie.  He is one of those genuinely nice guys that is always the brunt of the jokes because he is Asian and plays football.  And that bothers him, as it should.  It affects his mood, it affects his game on the field, and as a reader you just can’t help but want to hug him and tell him that you love him!  He is also a guy who allows himself to feel emotions and express them (though sometimes not always in the best manner), and that is a respectable trait in a teenage boy.  His likeable personality and the way he treats Gemma really made me like him a lot. I was rooting for him!

I also liked how, in this novel, rude behavior is NOT rewarded!  Seeing Gemma stand up for herself against Addison in a way that ends up not so “happily ever after” for them was refreshing; Addison was hurtful and rude and got called out on it.  This gives me hope that maybe I might find a Jennifer Echols novel I like.  but we shall see.

Overall, this novel had characters that were a lot more likeable and relateable, but I think I just started out on the wrong foot with the deception and make-believe (see rants above).  We are making progress, and I will try another Jennifer Echols book (though one of her highest rated next time).

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Second Shelf Book.

It’s a 2.5 for me.  Though I liked the characters, the unrealistic and deceptive cover paired with the unrealistic beginning to invoke an unneeded further sense of self-consciousness just set me off on the wrong foot with this novel.  There were some redeeming qualities in this novel that makes me feel the need to try another Jennifer Echols novel.  I want to find one I enjoy, but we shall see.

Love and Pink Pig Book Monsters,
Jennifer

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The One that I Want

  1. Melissa says:

    This is a great review!Thanks for pointing out the issues with the cover, I wouldn't have even thought about it otherwise. This is one of a few posts mentioning issues with covers that I've seen in the past few weeks. One of the other posts that sticks out in my head compared two completely different books that used the same cover. It was just zoomed in to a different angle on one of the books.

  2. Laura Ashlee says:

    Don't give up! I read Love Story by Jennifer Echols first. I didn't like it, but I recently read Going Too Far and I think that one's pretty good. It's also set near Birmingham, so that's cool.

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