June 22, 2012

Title:One Moment

Author: Kristina McBride

Published: June 26, 2012

Publisher: EgmontUSA

Pages: 272

This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget.

Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below—dead?

As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?

The latest novel from the author of The Tension of OppositesOne Moment is a mysterious, searing look at how an instant can change everything you believe about the world around you.

**NOTE** This copy was provided by Net Galley but did not influence this review in any way.

  • Christina is placing One Moment on her second shelf.

The Low-Down: The blurb is pretty telling in and of itself. In the beginning, we learn of Maggie, Joey, Adam, Shannon, Tanna, and Pete, six people who have been best friends since  kindergarten, and how they decide to start off their summer before their senior year in high school with a bang. After a long night of partying hard, the gang goes down to their favorite hangout spot, a gorge overlooked by a huge cliff. When Maggie is talked into facing her fears, she and Joey climb to the top of the cliff and go for the big jump together. However, somewhere along the way, things went askew and Maggie comes to at the top of the cliff with no recollection of what just occurred while Joey lays dead below. 

This novel deals more with Maggie discovering what really happened at the clifftop that day by piecing together her broken memory, and at the same time, trying to cope with the loss of Joey with all of their friends. A major part of understanding his death is the reflection on his life and the secrets he was keeping. They all wonder, was there any single one moment any of them could have done differently to keep Joey alive?

Author Ego-Booster: First off, I have to give major kudos to the author for her characters.  Aside from the fact that I think she portrays your everyday teenager perfectly, it is their individual originality and the complexity of emotion in which each character handles Joey’s death that speaks volumes about Kristina McBride’s writing ability. Let’s start with Joey, shall we? Joey is the easy-on-the-eyes daredevil that lives for the thrill and the “it” guy that everyone loves. If there was a risk to be had, you can bet that he had his hand in it. It’s easy to see why his death would be so upsetting. Then there’s Maggie, Joey’s girlfriend and complete opposite because she’s more cautious in her approach to life. Adam is the go-to safe guy, the one that will always know just the right thing to say at just the right time, and he’s so dependable. Tanna is the friendly girl who wants to keep everyone on good terms and Pete’s the laid-back guy that wants to make you feel good with his tunes and gentle temperament. That leaves Shannon. She’s your resident mean girl, but they keep her around because she’s where the party’s at and they all love her in their own way. Even at the start, when we’re only given a brief glimpse into how they interact with one another, you feel the depth of the relationships this close-knit group has with one another and as a whole.

Ms. McBride also does a wonderful job of  presenting scenes so that you feel very connected to the moment. She has a way of making the atmosphere heavy with the appropriate emotion– whether it be overwhelming grief of the present or happiness from a particular memory– and describing the settings so that the reader can easily visualize his or her surroundings. This combination definitely helped pull me in more and more.

There was also the case of idealization that played a major role in the story. It was brought up on several occasions of how people generally place the ones they love on pedestals and begged us to question, “Do you ever really know a person?” Though the major plot twist was detectable from very early on and I knew it was coming, I only ever really saw Joey through the eyes of Maggie, therefore I wanted to object to any likelihood that he was “that” guy. So when all the secrets were exposed, and the truth of the life that Joey led was out in the open, my heart broke right along with Maggie’s because I didn’t want to tarnish the good memories of the person that I thought he was. Love has a funny way of making you believe the biggest of lies.

Drawbacks: There was only one real issue that I struggled with throughout this book, and that was the wish-washy behavior of our main character, Maggie. In the beginning and further in, she was adamant about wanting to uncover the truth that lead to Joey’s death and as quickly as possible. Then, it seemed like no sooner than the idea was out of mouth, she’d cower away and want to run from the memories, too scared to learn what happened in those missing moments. Although it’s understandable as a person, as a reader, it was frustrating because not only were her friends, the police, and all the families involved anxious to uncover the mystery, Joey’s parents and little brother were beside themselves with sorrow and needed the answers so that they could start to process what happened and begin to heal. 

I also found the ending to be a little abrupt, but that’s probably more of my personal preference than an actual problem with the book. I would have liked to seen how things worked themselves out a little more and how the gang stayed together, despite all the ways they could have fallen apart.

Verdict: If you’re ever in the mood for a good cry, I’d recommend this book to you. One Moment touched me on a very personal level seeing as I lost two close guy friends when I was 18 and 19. They were best friends and died a year apart from one another, and since I was friends with them, I was close to both of their families as well. I’ve seen firsthand the type of devastation that losing someone so young can have on a family and the impact it can have on a community, and that made this story so much more real to me. There were several instances in which I had to put my Nook down because my vision was completely clouded with tears. This book will absolutely tug at your heartstrings.

  • Thanks again to EgmontUSA for allowing me to read this novel via Net Galley. One Moment hits shelves Tuesday, June 26th.
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