Review: One Moment by Kristina McBride (@EgmontUSA)

I received this book as an advance digital review copy from NetGalley

Here’s a confession: I don’t read a lot of contemporary. Shocking, I know. I like most of my entertainment to be a sort of escapism, and I gravitate towards stories that have an element of the fantastic. I love stories that inspire my imagination with things like magic and space and superpowers and monsters. But, on occasion, when the mood strikes, a contemporary will spark my interest.

This was one of those occasions. I was intrigued by the summary for this book — a mysterious death and a case of amnesia? What’s going on? — and thought it may actually be kind of refreshing to read a story based in the “real” world after all the crazy fantasy and sci fi I read. And it was.

The Plot

Maggie’s group of 6 friends has been together since elementary school. They’ve grown up together and shared in all their activities. Cliff jumping is no exception, and the book opens as Maggie tries to gather up the courage to participate in a jump over Memorial Day weekend. Encouraged by her friends, especially Joey, who she has been dating for the past 2 years, Maggie finally summons up enough courage to jump off the cliff with Joey into the water far below.

But one minute Maggie and Joey are holding hands, running for the edge of the cliff; the next, Maggie is disoriented at the top and Joey is on the ground below — dead.

What follows is the aftermath of the accident, as Maggie struggles to remember what happened up on that cliff top, and attempts to recreate the last few week’s of Joey’s life. The five survivors are left with lots of questions and few answers as they all try to make sense of what happened. And their frustrations are exacerbated by the fact that one of them, Adam, has started avoiding them.

My Thoughts

One Moment is actually fairly simple, and although the revelations throughout are shocking to Maggie, they were pretty predictable for me. But that didn’t keep me from enjoying the book.

The story is told from Maggie’s perspective, which means we are treated to the story of her friendships with the others and especially her romance with Joey in brief flashbacks, as Maggie tries to make sense of everything that’s happened to her. The flashbacks help to develop the characters and convey the depth of Maggie’s grief and confusion, and I thought they fit in well with the flow of the story.

Maggie herself is relatable and likable, although occasionally frustratingly naive. It got a little tiring to see all the clues laid out so obviously, but for her to still have no idea what was going on. I could excuse her partly because she’s young, and partially because she’s struggling to get past a major shock, but her continued ignorance (especially when she was offered answers and refused to listen) got a bit grating.

The other friends are developed to varying degrees. Joey is the most developed, through Maggie’s memories, and maybe it’s because I never really went for the mega-popular partying guys in high school, but I just failed to see his appeal. He and Maggie never seemed all that well matched to me, even in her memories. So while I appreciated what Maggie was going through, I didn’t find this book as sad as I was expecting, because I didn’t really mourn Joey along with her.

Her friend Adam was by far the most likable to me, and although I figured out really quickly what was going on with him, I still enjoyed reading about him. Shannon was the epitome of every girl I’ve ever had nothing in common with, and although she was far from one-dimensional, I couldn’t really understand what Adam and Shannon were doing in the same group of friends.

The least developed were Tanna and Pete, who don’t really add much to the character development of the other four, or do much to propel the story forward. It seems like they were mostly there to just establish that this is a group of friends, and not a teen soap on the CW. But I wish we’d have seen a bit more from them, Pete especially, whose main contribution to the story was playing semi-recent pop songs on his guitar (and Nickelback. Huh.)

The pacing was good, and I had absolutely no trouble finishing this book in just a few hours. I was never bored, I didn’t have any trouble keeping up with what was going on (which was impressive considering the frequent flashbacks), and I liked the simplicity of it.

There was an element of the story that I wish hadn’t been there, and I think the story would have been more poignant and bittersweet if the focus had simply been Maggie coming to terms with learning the truth about her dead boyfriend.

Highlight if you want to be spoiled: The love triangle between Joey, Maggie and Adam. I wish Adam could have just been her friend, helping her through her grief, instead of the patient guy waiting in the wings. A story about grief and PTSD doesn’t really need a love triangle to work, and having it resolve at the end almost cheapens everything that Maggie goes through in dealing with Joey’s death. He may not have been a saint, but watching her reactions as she learned more about him was definitely interesting enough. Additional romance was unnecessary.

Ultimately, I thought this was a well-written, interesting, simple story. While it didn’t pack quite the emotional punch I was hoping for, I still enjoyed it.

Content Guide: A disturbing death, some sexual content, profanity

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (June 18)


Hello everyone, and welcome to another It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? post, hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. Last week I skipped my Monday post because I was so dreadfully behind. But I’m finally catching up to where I want to be. So here’s what I want to attempt for this week, keeping in mind that my anniversary (NINE YEARS SAY WHAAAAA????) is on Wednesday and so I may not have quite as much time as I think I do.

We’re going to go to Chili’s, because although there’s absolutely nothing cool about Chili’s, for some reason we really like it. I think it’s the chips.

And we are going to go see Snow White and the Huntsman, because although it’s receiving kinda lukewarm reviews, it is my husband’s most anticipated movie this year, other than The Hobbit. Yes, I am married to a man who anticipates Snow White and the Huntsman more than The AvengersThe Dark Knight Rises, Spiderman, The Bourne Legacy, and all the other comicy/actiony/geeky movies that I personally am excited about this year.

Don’t get me wrong, he still wants to see those too. But the Snow White and the Huntsman trailer has gotten into his blood, and there is no cure other than seeing it in all its CGI and K-Stew glory. (Disclaimer: he in no way wants to see it because of K-Stew.)

Anyway, I think I just digressed quite a bit. So. Here’s the books on my plate for this week:

First up, finishing Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore. I’m enjoying Graceling so far and am guessing that Fire will go pretty quickly once I get to it. I don’t have Bitterblue or the means to acquire it yet, so I’ll just have to wait on that one.

Once those are finished, I am going to exercise some self discipline (fancy that!) and start hacking away at my NetGalley list. I have a bunch of books waiting for me to read, and I keep putting them off, not because I don’t want to read them, but because I tend to give precedence to physical books. I just enjoy the reading experience more with paper.

I don’t know why. It’s just how I roll.

But release dates are creeping up, so I need to get a bunch of these NetGalley titles knocked out. So first up will be:

One Moment by Kristina McBride. This is a contemporary YA, which is not my usual fare, but the synopsis intrigued me. A mysterious death and a case of amnesia? I want to know what’s going on!

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross. Okay, I’m going out on a limb with this one, because I have not read The Girl in the Steel Corset, which is the first book in this series. I don’t normally plunge into Book 2 without reading Book 1 (actually, to my recollection, I have never done this), but I’ve heard such good things about these books and the cover is so pretty and the book was right there and I couldn’t resist.  I do have TGitSC on hold at my library, so I will eventually get the whole story. I just didn’t want to put this one off any more, since it’s already been released.

So that’s my week! We’ll see how I do 🙂 What are you reading?