Nikki's Reviews > You're the One That I Don't Want

You're the One That I Don't Want by Alexandra Potter
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Jun 24, 11

bookshelves: chick-lit, read-in-2011
Read in April, 2011

Reviewed at JudgingCovers.co.uk

I don’t believe in fate. I’m far too cynical to go along with the idea that ‘everything happens for a reason’, and I’m definitely not convinced by any theories about soulmates. If everyone is destined to find ‘The One’, and our lives are already mapped out for us, why put effort into anything? It’ll just happen if it’s ‘meant to be’, won’t it? So I won’t bother going to work anymore; I’ll just lay in bed and watch daytime television. In fact, I won’t even go out at all – because if I end up poor, starving and alone that’s just how things were ‘meant to be’. My soulmate will still find me somehow. Ah, fate. Such a flawed argument.

OK, so I have some issues with the idea of fate – but I forced these feelings aside in order to read You’re the One That I Don’t Want, a book centered around the idea of soulmates. Except not in the nice and fluffy sense you might be imagining.

Lucy and Nate meet in Venice aged 18. They’re both studying abroad, and get caught up in blissful teenage romance, inevitably believing that they’ve found The One. Legend has it that any couple who kiss under the Bridge of Sighs at sunset will be together forever. So, being all loved up, they do it. Bless.

A decade on, they’ve obviously split up and moved on with their lives, but Lucy still thinks about Nate from time to time. And then, by chance, she runs into him. Still believing in the power of fate, they pick up where they left off – realising that on numerous occasions in the past ten years, they’ve been at the same place at the same time, without noticing each other. It must be meant to be!

But people change, and suddenly Lucy doesn’t find Nate as perfect as she used to. In fact, he’s really quite annoying, and she’s glad to confirm, once and for all, that he wasn’t her soulmate.

It is at this point that the story takes a magical turn, as Lucy and Nate literally can’t stay away from each other. Even though they really, really wish they could. They run into each other wherever they go. They get given each other’s laundry at the dry cleaners. Their phones even ring each other without explanation. Lucy starts to wonder if the legend of the Bridge of Sighs is actually true… and if she’ll be stuck with Nate forever.

You’re The One That I Don’t Want is a fun read, and Alexandra Potter has given each of her characters very strong personalities – Lucy’s workaholic sister, her hippy roommate, and her eccentric boss each star in their own amusing subplots. Potter does a particularly excellent job in making the grown-up Nate a really irritating character; I almost felt as frustrated as Lucy each time he turned up somewhere. Towards the end I was desperate for fate’s curse to be broken so he’d go away… and then I had to remind myself that actually, the idea is a bit silly. Of course.

Adding fantasy aspects into chick lit novels has become quite popular, with a number of authors putting a touch of magic into their storylines. It's not a theme that I find particularly enjoyable (I much prefer realism) but Potter has handled the idea quite cleverly. We could believe that a higher power kept bringing Lucy and Nate back together, or we could believe that it's all a series of unfortunate coincidences - the idea of 'magic' isn't forced upon the reader, which is perfect if, like me, you're a little on the sceptical side.

This isn't a perfect book, but it's the sort of light and fluffy that you can't criticise too harshly - it was amusing, it wasn't too predictable, and it could make a great summer holiday read.
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