The One Thing – a surprising and thoughtful read with heart

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The One Thing – a surprising and thoughtful read with heart

One time I kept the same pair of disposable contact lenses for two years (I knew better but I took good care of them, and when you’re poor, you do some things you aren’t proud of). To keep things brief, I developed an eye infection that left me pretty much blind for a week.  That was the worst week of my life, and that includes the week I battled a kidney stone of epic proportions.  I couldn’t do any of the things I loved (read, look at my children, make fun of the strange people at the mall, drive, wear clothes that matched somewhat – my husband just can’t deal with lady clothes) or the things you do when you can’t do the things you love (watch NetFlix like crazy).  I learned pretty quickly that my eyesight was one thing I really valued but didn’t think about very often – kind of like indoor plumbing and dishwashers, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.  That experience made me pretty sympathetic to this protagonist, but I don’t think you have to blind yourself to connect with her.  This is a pretty original book with ideas that got me thinking, and it will appeal to a wide audience of readers.  What do you do when your greatest joys are long gone?  What would you do for the chance to get it all back?

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Goodreads Summary

Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

Then Maggie’s whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she’s ever met. Ben’s life isn’t easy, but he doesn’t see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn’t have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she’s currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the infuriatingly attractive lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben’s brother.

But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future…before she loses everything she has grown to love.

My Thoughts

Maggie lost her place in the world when she lost her sight, and in order to find her new place, she has to accept her blindness.  Simple, right?  Heh.  The complications that lead to the resolution are clever and unique, and I really enjoyed this take on a traditional Bildungsroman.  I will warn you that Maggie is a little hard to like at the beginning.  I understood why she was acting the way she was, but I still wanted to shake her.  Happily, I lost that impulse the deeper I was drawn into the story.  The hook for me was really Ben.  He is an incredibly likeable and quirky little kid, and I can’t imagine any reader not wanting a Ben of their own.  I had a little more trouble with his brother, Mason.  He was mysterious and quiet, and I just had a hard time believing his fast track to romantic interest for Maggie.  The emotions felt a little roughly marked in, and the pacing was a little off on the romance for me.  I still found this book really compelling after the first chapters.  I snuck in reading time and thought about it when I had to put it down – I just wasn’t sure how it was going to work out, and I couldn’t understand how all those remaining pages were going to be filled if it went the way I thought it would (it did, and it didn’t). Overall, I thought this was a nice work about coming to terms with the big curve balls that life tends to hand out.  Themes of friendship, family, and what it means to have that one thing, that way you click with the world, added a nice depth.  Its on our classroom library wishlist!

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  

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About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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