Monday, May 25, 2015

Review: One Night by AJ Pine

One Night by AJ Pine
Series: Only You #1       
Published: April 21st, 2015
Publisher: Intermix
248 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Acquired this book: Via NetGalley in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Kobo}

{Read my review of What If (If Only #2)}

When she lost it all, Jess decided to cope by living a lie.

But you can’t keep on pretending forever…

Twenty-one-year-old Jess used to have everything—a loyal best friend, a boyfriend she loved, and a future that was right on track. But in a single night, her whole world changed.

Now, Jess lives for the impersonal connection of drunken hook-ups and to-go coffee cups in the morning. All she needs is one night to pretend everything is fine…until she meets Adam.

Thanks to a sports injury, gorgeous, charming basketball star Adam Carson is stuck in physical therapy at the hospital where Jess interns—giving her the perfect opportunity to see his sweet, considerate nature and making her realize that maybe she does want something more.

But while Adam might be the best thing that’s happened to Jess in a long time, letting him past her carefully constructed walls means letting him know what happened...and why he'd never want her for more than one night.

I adored AJ Pine’s first two books, If Only and What If. She writes great, complex characters with real life issues, and One Night was no exception. One Night is an emotional story about two people who were broken in their own way, but who helped each other learn how to heal.    

Jess is haunted by many personal demons. Her life changed two years ago, and since then she’s kept people at arm’s length to keep her heart safe. She never fully let herself heal and recover from the trauma in her past, and it’s affected her entire life, even though she doesn’t realize it. Jess wasn’t always easy to like throughout the book. I’m all for flawed characters, and while I sympathized with Jess and felt horrible for the things that happened to her, I went back and forth between really liking her and wanting to throttle her. In closing herself off, she became self-centred and almost all her actions had selfish motivations. She didn’t care about anyone else because she was so busy focusing on her own problems - or more accurately, avoiding her problems. That being said, I fully believe you don’t have to like or agree with everything a character does if there’s a reason for it. Jess learned a lot about herself through the course of the book and changed her self-destructive, hurtful, selfish behaviour. Her first inclination was always to push people away and not let anyone get close, but Adam and her roommate Zoe slowly took down her defenses and forced her to see some ugly truths about herself that made her want to change. I loved that Zoe wasn’t afraid to call Jess on her shit and tell her how selfish she was; sometimes it takes someone to point something out to you before you fully realize it and try to change the behaviour. I appreciated and enjoyed Jess’s growth, even though it took awhile and was frustrating to watch at times.

While I had issues with Jess, I thought Adam was pretty damn close to perfect. He was strong, patient, and determined. Being a basketball star, he had girls falling all over themselves for him, but he was focused on his career and overcoming his injury so he could keep playing through the end of college. He was sweet and funny and his charm and openness drew Jess in, despite her desire to keep her guard up. I loved the chemistry between these two and thought they were great together. Their interactions ranged from fun, funny, and flirty to frustrating to sexy. Despite Jess’s actions making me want to scream sometimes, I never stopped rooting for these two. It was obvious they really cared about each other, and that Adam’s love had a healing affect on Jess’s broken heart. 

Other things I loved about this book: the side characters, especially Zoe and Regan. They were fleshed out well, and they each had something important to teach Jess. I loved all the little touches in the book that were like a running joke and kept me grinning, like the shitty coffee, the cake, the Chinese food, and Vampire Diaries. They made me feel like I was part of the story, like I was actually hanging out with Jess and Adam and Zoe. I also loved how depression and trauma were dealt with in a believable, compassionate, respectful manner, and that ultimately Jess wasn’t ashamed to get help and make sure she had the tools to heal completely and live a full, happy life.

One Night was a love story in every sense of the word. It was about learning to love yourself, learning to love others, and learning to let others love you, even when it’s not easy, and even when it hurts like hell. It shows that horrible, life-altering, agonizing things can happen to you, but if you have the strength and a great support system, you can overcome anything. Love and friendship really do have healing powers, and One Night explores that in a beautiful, realistic way. This was another great book from AJ Pine, and I’m eager to read whatever she writes next.

3.75 stars

Have you read One Night? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Have you read any of AJ's other books? Let's talk here or on Twitter

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