Just Finished Reading ... The One That I Want

The One That I Want
by Jennifer Echols
Simon Pulse
February 7, 2012
Source: bought from indie bookstore
Mature content: none

I'm a person who likes to categorize. I always divide Jennifer Echols books into two categories: spicy (like Love Story) and sweet (like Endless Summer). I like them both.

This book fell into the sweet category. It's a charming book with a non-preachy message, a book that girls of all ages can enjoy, a great book for moms to buy and share with their teens and tweens.

My summary: Gemma Van Cleve dreams of becoming a majorette, just like her mother before her. But Gemma is overweight. She's an amazing baton twirler, but the thought of wearing a skimpy costume and standing in front of a stadium full of people fills her with dread.

Still, Gemma musters up the courage to try out and makes the squad, along with her best friend Addison. Gemma works hard to lose weight, and arrives at summer majorette camp filled with excitement. At camp, she spots Max Hirayama. He's the most beautiful boy she's ever seen.

But, straight out of a Taylor Swift song, Addison steals Max out right from under Gemma's nose. After all, Addison is the popular princess, while Gemma's the quirky girl. The funny girl. The sidekick. Gemma ends up dating Max's friend Carter, even though they have nothing in common. Gemma doesn't  stand up to Addison. Gemma can't tell Max how she feels. She's afraid.

My take: I loved the way that this book touched on so many issues with such a light touch: friendship, body image, the discomfort and strength that comes out of being different, self-esteem, following your dreams.

Gemma is an irresistible heroine. She's funny and smart, but filled with so much self-doubt that I wanted to yell at her, cheer for her, hug her. Addison is the classic BFF/frenemy, but her callousness is clearly borne of insecurity. Then there's adorable Max. The book does a great job of delving into Max's insecurities: he sometimes feels out of place as a Japanese-American living in the South, he's a graceful kicker on a football team of burly guys, he's the athlete son of two Ph.D's.

I was glued to this book until the last page, hoping that Gemma and Max would find the courage to stand up for themselves and find their way to each other. Though I'd argue that this falls into the "sweet" Jennifer Echols category, this sweet book also has enough depth and heart to make it the perfect Valentine's week read :)


  1. Awww this does sound like a sweet book. I was just looking at this on B&N actually. Glad you liked it. If I didn't have so many books to get to already I would probably buy it.

  2. Thank you for your summary, there is definitely a lot more going on in this book than I originally thought. I love the backstory that leads into how Gemma met Max and how Addison took him from her. I already wanted to read this book and this review just makes me want it more.

    1. Thanks -- let me know what you think after you read it!

  3. awww I hate when the BFF steals the guy away. It makes me so mad. LOL It sounds like a cute read and I like that she gets into popular issues like body image. I've actually never read anything by this author. The cover is really cute though.

    1. I know! I think you'd like it -- even though you're devoted to all things paranormal....

  4. I can identify with Gemma being overweight & having dreams & I do enjoy sweet.

  5. Great review! This book sounds really good! I think that this book sounds like a real contemporary: dealing with real life issues instead of maybe love lives. I think I'm going to try this! Thanks for the review! New follower from Follow Friday, by the way!


  6. New follower! I really like your background.

    Looking forward to your reviews!


  7. aww!!! Amazing review Jen! I'm adding this of my list of books to buy next time B&N has a good sale! It sounds like a wonderful contemp! Sometimes those can be really hit or miss for me but this one sounds amazing!!!

  8. This does sound like a good book to read on Valentines or any other days is fine too. The only book I have read by this author is Love story.


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