Review: One and Only by Viv Daniels

One & Only (Canton #1)
Viv Daniels
Genre: New Adult
Release Date: November 8th 2013
Format: eBook
Pages: 264
Purchase: ,

One night they cant forget

Tess McMann lives her life according to the secrets shes sworn to keep: the father who wont acknowledge her, the sister who doesnt know she exists, and the mother whos content playing mistress to a prominent businessman. When she meets the distractingly cute Dylan Kingsley at a prestigious summer program and falls in love, Tess allows herself to imagine a life beyond these secrets. But when summer ends, so does their relationship Dylan heads off to Canton College while Tess enrolls at the state university.

One love they cant ignore

Two years later, a scholarship brings Tess to Canton and back into Dylans life. Their attraction is as strong as ever, but Dylan has a girlfriend…who also happens to be Tesss legitimate half-sister. Tess refuses to follow in her mothers footsteps, which leaves her only one choice: break the rules she’s always followed, or allow Dylan to slip away for a second time.

And only one chance to get things right.

Im not sure what I expected, but what I read surpassed my expectations. Theres just something about family drama that makes for a good story, and Daniels did not disappoint. Tess and Dylan meet at a science summer camp at Cornell University where they spend three weeks as partners. During those three weeks, their friendship and attraction blossoms, but it isnt until the end of the summer, that they get together. As sweet it was though, Tess knows that she cant start a relationship with Dylan, so she just up and disappears. He doesnt get a call back, text or email. My heart broke for him when I read that.

Two years have come and gone when Tess finally scrambles enough money to transfer to her dream school, Canton Universitywhich coincidently enough, is where Dylan attends. Tess and Dylans reunion definitely wasnt what I was expecting. Its certainly a shock for both of themand yes, the snarky comment or two comes outbut overall they handle everything so amicably. On the inside, of course, Tess is both elevated and dying at seeing Dylan, but like a true champ, she never lets go of her poker face. They were both friends at first, so thats what they try to be the second time around. Dylan was cute, sweet and slightly nerdy when they first meet. Hes still sweet and nerdy, but nows he the hot nerd you just want to take a bite out of and corrupt. The attraction is stronger than ever, but at the same time, the risks for Tess are higher than she expects. Still, I loved the tension and was just devouring the pages until they got together.

Tess lives with her mom, being the product of an affair. Its not that her home life is tough in the physical sense, but emotionally, its draining. Her father is still in the picture, but Tess and her mother are his secret family. The hurt and anguish Tess feels is an undercurrent in the novel, barely scratching the surface, and for some reason, that made it that much more heartbreaking. Shes had her dads (partial) love from the very beginning, that its just become the normal for him to have no interest in her lifeat least publicly. Tesss resignation at that was what was truly hurtful to read. Its like reading about the heroine, whos been so defeated, she doesnt even try. I disliked her father so much because of that. Because he was such a coward, he didnt even deserve to be hated. Hate is such a strong, powerful emotion, and the feelings Tesss father brought out were those of distaste. Her mother, on the other hand, I liked. The only thing is, I wish I wouldve gotten to know more of Tesss mother. At the end, theres a hint of a much better relationship between the two, but I think it could have been highlighted a little bit more throughout the story.

I think one of the reasons I was so surprised to like this novel so much was because science was a main conceptand I hate science. Still, I enjoyed reading any scenes between Tess and Dylan, even if they contained scienceand lets face it: most of the novel contained it. While their friendship restarts on good terms and grows stronger, their romantic relationship is one that builds a little bit quicker and more intense. Right off the bat, they know they want to be with each other, but Dylan is unavailable with Tesss half-sister. And Tess doesnt want, in any way, to be the other women. The rejection shes received from her father goes deep and one of Tesss biggest fears is turning out like her mother, a mistress. I honestly loved that this wasnt a story where Tess and Hannah become competitive and possessive over Dylan. I specifically loved that Hannah doesnt become the jealous, raging, ex-girlfriend. I think partly thats due to the fact that Tess knows theyre sisters and honestly cares for her, and also because Hannah is a good person, not a self-titled bitch like you originally assume. Still, their relationship is far from perfect and its one Im looking forward to reading more about in the sequelwhich is Hannahs story.

All the lies come tumbling down at the end, but once again, the direction One & Only takes is different than most NA novels, and its a good thing, too. To say that I was impressed is an understatement. Perhaps its because so many indie authors are trying out the self-publishing route and NA genre, but not many succeed in capturing my attention. Daniels, however, definitely got it. There was real depth to her characters and beyond physical attraction there was an honest friendship between Tess and Dylan. There were no tragic pasts to overcome, but still a hurtful one. Once again, Im really looking forward to reading more from Daniels!

4.5/5 Stars

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