Title: One Night by A.J. Pine
Only You Series Book One
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Length: 248 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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.
Includes a preview of the upcoming Only You novel, One Life.
The first installment in A.J. Pine’s Only You series, One Night is an engaging love story. Although the story shares many of the characteristics commonly found in new adult romances, the subject matter is unique enough that the novel stands out from others in the genre.
Jess Elliott’s suffered a tremendous life altering loss and while she is trying to move on, she really has not dealt with what happened. She is self absorbed and she keeps an emotional distance from pretty much everyone in her life. She has pushed away her friends and family and Jess uses drunken hook-ups to keep her loneliness at bay. She is kind and compassionate, but her need to protect herself from future heartache makes it virtually impossible for her to connect with the people in her life.
Adam Carson is an open, honest and genuinely nice young man. He is struggling to come to terms with the impact a sports injury has on his future, but he does not let this stop him from moving on with his life. He is cheerful, laid-back and unflappable with a seemingly endless supply of patience. But even Adam has his limits and he eventually gently pushes Jess to be more forthcoming about her past.
While well-written, One Night is rather slow paced. The defining moment from Jess’s past is only hinted at for much of the story so it is easy to become frustrated with her since there is little context for her behavior and emotional disconnect. She runs away from her problems instead of dealing with them and she pushes Adam away time and again which becomes an annoying pattern for their relationship. Jess is very introspective, but since there is little progress with her issues, the story becomes bogged down in angst and drama.
The friendship between Jess and Adam is sweet and it becomes the catalyst for Jess to finally get to know her roommate, Zoe. Zoe is self-confident and outgoing and while she respects Jess’s boundaries, she also encourages Jess to be a little more forthcoming about herself. Zoe easily forgives Jess when she unwittingly hurts her, but she also uses these opportunities to try to get Jess to work through her issues.
One Night is an emotional novel with a realistic storyline. The plot has plenty of depth and A.J. Pine deftly handles difficult topics with a great deal of sensitivity. The characters are complex with believable flaws and imperfections. It is an overall enjoyable beginning to the Only You series that I recommend to fans of new adult romances.