This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget. 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?
Is it possible to simultaneous love and hate a book? I have to ask because that is how I feel about One Moment. There is no doubt about it; this is a beautifully written and well thought out novel. It is hard to put down and engaging but it is also heart-breaking and so full of anguish that at times it really hurt to read. I am not a big fan of sad books; I don’t mind a little bit of drama and sadness but too much of it makes me feel all kinds of sick and nauseous. That is what this book did to me, it made me feel such desperate sadness that I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry.
There is so much to love about this book. For a start it is smart, I didn’t find it at all unrealistic or over the top. In fact it was almost too realistic it was beautifully written and felt really very real and because of that this book should come with a warning. I lost two close friends in a tragic accident a few years ago, I was not expecting this book to drag up any of those memories or feelings but it did. During the beginning of this book I struggled to differentiate the characters feelings from my own. At times I found reading this book to be very painful and personal. Somehow Kristina McBride managed to put on paper exactly how I felt all those years ago. Had I known I would react this way before I read this book I may have chosen not to read it (although I am really glad I did). I feel that it is only right for me to warn people that there are emotional triggers in this book and to be cautious if you think it might affect you. Everything is handled tastefully and beautifully it is the brilliance of the authors writing that is effecting and is the reason that I feel like I have to mention this.
One Moment is a quick read which I was glad about. As I said there is so much pain and anguish in this book that it had to be short. I am not sure many readers would be able to take much more heartache. It is easy to get lost in its pages from beginning to end and I felt like I was living and breathing the tragedy along with the main character Maggie.
I am so glad that Maggie was the kind of character she was. I was expecting her to be a bit weak but she proved me wrong. Maggie was strong through everything, she goes through so much loss and betrayal yet she stays tough.
Another character I loved, in fact he was by far my favourite character, was Adam. From his entrance to the end I was utterly taken with him. He is a good person who gets stuck not knowing what to do for the best. I think he probably has it tougher than anyone else in this book, not just because he loses his best friend but because he is buried under the weight of so many forbidden feelings and secrets.
One problem I did have was the other characters. I didn’t really like any of them or feel anything for them at all. Some I just plain disliked and others I didn’t care about which was a shame.
The biggest problem I had with this book was that it was predictable. I knew what was coming, how it would end and the big secret by chapter three. It didn’t detract too much from the book as a whole but it would have been nice to have a few surprises along the way.
For me the best part of the book was the ending (even if I knew it was coming) all the pain, anguish and angst came to an end and instead there was hope. I know a lot of other reviewers thought the ending was too neat but I was happy about the neatness. It was like releasing a deep breath, it was just such a relief to have a bit of joy and happiness.
The only problem I have with the ending is that I want to know what happens next. It felt like one story had ended and a new one was beginning, I want to see where this story goes. I want to follow Maggie on the next stage of her journey because I am pretty sure she is on the right path and I would love to see her happy.
One Moment is a quick read that gets under your skin and in the end I did really, really like it. It is not about pretty things. It is tough, raw and at times hard to read. It realistically shows what it is like to suddenly and tragically lose someone you love and because of that this book is not for everyone.
Published June 26th 2012 by EgmontUSA. A free copy was provided for review. Image courtesy of Goodreads
Review by Kate Phillips