Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publishing Date: May 20, 2014
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 5 stars
In her eagerly awaited new novel, beloved New York Timesbestselling author Emily Giffin returns with an extraordinary story of love and loyalty—and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both.
Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.
But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.
Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.
Before you read any further, this review has SPOILERS! Here's the thing. I try really hard to keep my reviews spoiler-free. But this book - I just can't. I really want to lay my feelings out there, so I need to release some spoilers.
I was really nervous to read this book after I read some of the reviews on Goodreads. I usually don't let those get to me, but they were so mixed that I didn't know what to think! I really love Emily Giffin's work and I was worried that I would be let down. Even when I started reading it, I still wasn't sure and I almost talked myself into not liking it at first. BUT. Then I just pushed all those other reviews out of my head and just focused on the story. And that's when I got completely wrapped up in the story and I realized how much I really loved it.
However, the romance factor was a little worrisome for me. I knew pretty fast that Shea was falling for Coach Carr. The way she talked about him, knew him so well, was always thinking about him. It was just there. And honestly, in the beginning, I didn't like it. I wanted her relationship to work out with Ryan James. But the more I read, the more I realized she was good with Coach and truly herself. I know a lot of people didn't like her relationship with Coach, and I was really skeptical. I mean, he's her father's age and her best friend's father! It's weird! But I like that this was real; we don't choose who we fall in love with, what age they are, what gender, what race, religion, etc. It was a forbidden love, and clearly some people didn't take it too well, at first.
I'll be honest, if this happened with people I knew, someone I was close with, I would be weirded out. But I like to hope that I would be able to get used to it and really set the age factor aside. Much easier to do in fiction than real life, but I hope I could. I certainly don't think this will be happening in my life anytime soon, but you never know!
Other than the romance factor, I really liked the story in general. I love football, so it was easy to enjoy it. Plus I really connected and empathized with Shea. I liked everything about her; especially that she stuck true to what she believed. Her life certainly hasn't been easy, and she didn't take the path well traveled. I just really liked this book, even if a lot of other people didn't. It worked for me.