The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
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?
When best friends Gemma and Addison go to majorette camp at a nearby college campus, they meet Max and Carter, the cute kicker and quarterback from the rival high school. Though both girlfriends are immediately smitten with Max, Addison is quick to lay claim on him, pushing Gemma to fill her regular doormat role and back off. Thanks to more manipulation via Addison, an awkward double date ensues, Gemma with Carter and Addison with Max. Over the course of the story, we get to see the way each relationship builds and functions in this unlikely foursome, I can guarantee that it is replete with angst, drama, crushing, and unrequited love.
This is a Jennifer Echols novel, so obviously there is a lot of good happening in these pages. Despite her cluelessness about guys (but lets be honest, weren't we all at one point or another? Some of us are probably even still...), Gemma is a centered and surprisingly confident character. She has recently lost 50 pounds, and I was worried that she would be the kind of character who never stopped talking about weight. It certainly remains forefront in her mind, but she attempts to take a healthy approach to her loss and maintenance. She also has a distinct sense of personal style and the bravery to try out things she knows people will make fun of her for. If someone says something nasty about what she's doing, she knows that it's their issue, and can acknowledge them for the bad friend that they are. Also, the relationship between her and Max is very sweet. The two of them have a comfortable teasing relationship, but are also sensitive and in tune enough with each other to feel out awkward moments or tricky conversations. I felt like they had the tools as friends/couple to really work.
The things that bugged me? Well to start off, Addison. She is absolutely AWFUL. I lost so much respect for Gemma for being her friend. Every time she was mentioned in the book I would become angry to the point of near nausea because I disliked her so vigorously. It seemed like Jennifer Echols intentionally made Addison so terrible that we wouldn't feel bad if Gemma did something to hurt her. But listen y'all, one wrong does not equal another. I hated Addison, but I also disliked Gemma when she used Addison's nasty behavior to justify her own, and when she let Addison walk all over her. Lets try for a little ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION, please.
This book is cute and fast and if you are looking for a quick easy read with a lot of teenage brooding, look no further. On that particular day, I think I was hoping for something a little more mature, along the lines of my last Echols read, Love Story. 16-year-old Gemma felt so much younger to me than 18-year-old Erin. She tried so hard at playing love "games" that she created her own problems, and sometimes I became impatient with her cluelessness. However, there are a lot of great messages to get from this book. I really enjoyed the way that the relationship was crafted between mother and daughter, the development of something between Gemma and Max, and generally watching Gemma grow fully into her smaller, more-confident self. I give The One That I Want 3 out of 5 Stars.