Book Review: The One & Only by Emily Giffin

emily giffinSummary:

Emily Giffin, the beloved author of such novels as Something Borrowed and Where We Belong, returns with an extraordinary story of love and loyalty—and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both.

Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.

My Thoughts:

Emily Giffin is by far, hands down, my favorite women’s fiction author. I have devoured every book from her and will continue to do so, despite my feelings for her latest, The One & Only.

I was on the fence for a majority of the book and honestly, I think it was mostly because I was hoping it was going to end up the way I thought it was headed. There was a lot of back and forth in the book and it is something I’ve grown accustomed to with Giffin’s writing, but this time it felt…overly done. But, maybe that’s because I wasn’t a big fan of Shea or the story in general and couldn’t really appreciate what she was going through as a character.

Typically, I adore Giffin’s stellar writing, and this book is no exception. She is a fantastic storyteller, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around this one unfortunately. The whole time I kept picturing my best friend’s dad and that made things quite awkward. The character development wasn’t her best but it was still believable and even though most people had issues with all of the football stuff, I actually quite enjoyed it…especially since I am a Texas gal.

It really kills me that I can’t write a stellar 5-star review for Giffin, as I have done for all of her books in the past. This book, while still well researched and well written, was just a tad over-the-top for me. It is still a solid read though, maybe just not one I would recommend to everyone like I usually do with her books.

 

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Book Review: Goodnight June by Sarah Jio

sarah jioSynopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter imagines the inspiration for Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Songs) is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the “great green room” might have come to be.

June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.

My Thoughts:

For the past few years, it has been such a pleasure to watch Sarah grow as a writer and this book definitely proves why she has become one of my favorite authors to read. Jio is flawless as she transitions between time periods to tell this story, this time with letters from the 1940s between the bookstore’s owner Ruby and the infamous author of so many beloved childrens books, most notably Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown. When Ruby passes, her niece June, inherits the bookstore along with its fantastic, storied past.

My son and I read Goodnight Moon constantly before bed, so needless to say, Jio had me hooked from the get go. I was so intrigued to get started and absolutely adored the fictional account of the inspiration behind Margaret Wise Brown’s most beloved story. By far, the back and forth letters between Brown and Ruby were my favorite part, but I also enjoyed watching June grow as a woman and find her own happiness. There were some parts of the story that I feel came together a little too neatly, but overall, it was a great story in a fantastic setting.

Goodnight June is a wonderfully heartfelt story about love, friendship, family, and life. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

In the meantime, I will be anxiously awaiting the release of Jio’s latest, The Look of Love, due out in November.