Jennifer's Reviews > The One That I Want

The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols
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Apr 08, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: 2012-reads, age-young-adult, genre-romance, genre-realistic-contemporary
Read on April 23, 2012

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).
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04/23/2012 page 89
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