Author: Kristina McBride
Genre: Contemporary, drama
Published: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Egemont USA
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Source: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
"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 Opposites, One Moment is a mysterious, searing look at how an instant can change everything you believe about the world around you." - Goodreads description
One Moment is a story of loss, betrayal and letting go. After Maggie loses her boyfriend in a tragic accident she discovers that he might not have been who she thought he was. This discovery threatens to send her entire world into a tailspin and she has to come to terms while also trying to figure out whom she can still trust. This story is not just about Maggie and Joey though. It is about six best friends and what happens to that bond when it is really tested. I will jump straight in (no pun intended - terrible, just terrible) and say that I loved this book, but, at first, I didn't think I was going to. So lets start this one with the dislikes and work up to what I really loved.
The first half of the book was really hard for me to get into. After Joey died, the rest of the first half just sort of dragged for me. I liked the characters for the most part (except for Pete who didn't seem to have much purpose) and there were some bright spots where Maggie's grief was very tangible, but there was a lot of repetition going on. See, Maggie can't remember anything about the accident, so much of the first half is her rehashing what happened with different people and lamenting the fact that she can't remember. Also, her boyfriend is dead, so naturally she's coming apart a bit at the seams. She kept flashing back to happier times and that could get a little confusing. More importantly, it is pretty apparent from the first chapter that Joey was sort of a tool. I mean seriously, this girl was in total denial. But, I suppose, that is all part of young love. Overall, I felt like the first part of the book could have been condensed into about a third of the size and still had all of the background that we needed. Luckily the second half made up for that. Finally, this book was just super super sad and depressing. I usually really enjoy sad books but this one was just really hard to push though sometimes. And it wasn't like I was sobbing on every page, I think if I would have cried it would have been better. It was just so dreary and the depressing atmosphere really stayed with me, but I guess that is a credit to the author.
The biggest positive with this book was that it was very well written and the author really had a grasp on what it is like to lose someone when you're in high school. Most of us probably new someone who died while we were in high school. Maybe they weren't your best friend or your boyfriend but it still had an impact on your life. There is nothing quite like the feeling of helplessness that goes along with losing a friend, and when you are still at an age where your life is pretty much controlled by others and you aren't even always in charge of your own emotions, it just makes the loss all the harder to deal with. Your mom might be able to tell you it's going to be alright, but she can't make the hurt go away, and you can't put your life on hold because someone else's is over. And there are really very few feelings that are stranger than going home after a funeral and studying for an Algebra test. McBride does a great job of capturing the normalcy that continues even in the midst of tragedy and this makes the story all the more sad. Along those same lines, the author explores the duality of death. We are all humans, we make mistakes, but immediately following someone's death, those mistakes tend to get brushed aside, at least for a little while. No one likes to speak ill of the dead and I've never been at a funeral and heard someone say "It's really too bad about Dave, and by the way did you hear that he was having an affair with his neighbor?". No, we leave well enough alone until the smoke has cleared. But when someone has wronged you and then they have the gall to die, it's really hard to deal with the grief and your anger. You feel like you don't have the right to be mad anymore. But death doesn't erase the sins of the past and McBride is so good at making the reader grieve for Maggies loss while still being angry with Joey. It's just great. Finally there's Adam. Adam is one of Maggie's best friend and he is adorable. He is sweet and loyal while also letting his pain and anger through. This allows Maggie to feel those same emotions and their friendship gives the reader something to hope for.
Altogether, One Moment is a poignant and sad homage to loss and forgiveness. It is really hard to read this book without feeling what the characters feel and McBride is a master at understanding the complexity of grief. I would definitely recommend this if you are in the mood for a serious and sad read. Four stars!