Review: One & Only

One & Only (Canton, #1)One & Only
(Canton #1)
by Viv Daniels
NA Contemporary
November 8th 2013

Goodreads summary:
One night they can't forget...

Tess McMann lives her life according to the secrets she's sworn to keep: the father who won't acknowledge her, the sister who doesn't know she exists, and the mother who's 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 can't ignore...

Two years later, a scholarship brings Tess to Canton and back into Dylan's life. Their attraction is as strong as ever, but Dylan has a girlfriend…who also happens to be Tess's legitimate half-sister. Tess refuses to follow in her mother's 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.

What I thought:
I haven't read that many New Adult (NA) titles and I have been wanting to read more of them to see if it's a genre I want to read more books from. When I saw that one of my newer favorite YA authors, Diana Peterfreund, was releasing a NA title under a pen name I was super excited to get a review copy! I thought that even if there were some things I didn't like about the book that I could count on good writing and characters. I was at least right about that.

Let me get the things I didn't like out of the way first. There is a lot of content in this and much more than I prefer. I expected there to be some sex (the setting is in college), but I was hoping for the closed-door type. I didn't get what I wanted. There are some pretty blunt descriptions and innuendo. I ended up skipping them, but the content I would definitely consider as Adult. There is also quite a bit of swearing. It isn't all the time, but certain characters seem to swear more than others. Most of it was milder, but then an F-word was thrown in and I believe there were three in all. The content probably won't bother those that read NA and Adult Romance books on a regular basis, so compared to the genre none of this was out of the norm. However, it made it a book that wasn't for me. 

What did I like? I actually really liked all the characters. I especially liked the dialogue and interactions between Tess and Dylan. Their interactions before anything happens between them were probably my favorite part of the book. I loved how they were such good friends and had very similar interests and the same kind of drive before anything else. 

I liked that Tess didn't want to be under her father's thumb anymore. She gave up his money while still following most of his rules. I can't believe what she put up with and really felt for her situation. I definitely didn't like her father's choices and it was sad to see Tess thinking that she wasn't good enough nor have her mother's support most of the time. I loved that she was willing to try to make things work and work hard to achieve what she wanted.

I liked Dylan who was surprised to run into Tess again. It's not something he foresaw happening. What do you do when you have a girlfriend and someone that you fell in love with in the past shows up? Makes it kind of complicated, especially if you feel anything for the girl you are dating. They both really pushed that complication.

I also was surprised that I ended up liking Tess's half-sister. She is spoiled, but she has her own imperfect situation. I really felt for Tess, but then I also felt for her sister. How would it feel to have a father with basically two families? Not great, that's for sure. I loved that she had the guts to do what she did in the end.

I also liked the plot. The whole coincidence that Dylan is dating Tess's half-sister two years after meeting Tess was so ironic. I don't feel it's a spoiler since it's in the blurb. I liked the surprise of finding a friend again after being apart for so long and the strong connection Dylan and Tess still had. Tess had a lot of issues to work through and some decisions to come to. I liked that everything didn't come together easily for both of them. Tess even says at one point that she thought everything would just work out with no complications and how wrong she was.

Here's one part I really liked:
     "Hi," he whispered.
     Time stopped. It was two years ago at Cornell, glasses and all. I could have happily lived under that table, half-bent over, with Dylan's face an inch away. But the professor probably would have noticed. The other teams definitely would have. He straightened, and after a second, I did too, back up into the harsh, fluorescent light of the classroom, where there was schoolwork and students and Dylan had a girlfriend and I wasn't interested anyway.
     He angled his laptop screen at me and tapped my notebook. I looked over and there, between the equations and lecture notes, was a single line of text, all on its own.
     Don't run away from me.     I caught my breath. Then, I bent my head over my paper, my dark hair falling forward as I scribbled my own secret note.
     I'm right here.
So, I'm going to rate this kind of differently. As far as a book for me and that I would recommend, it would be three stars, but as far as the genre goes I think this would be more of four stars. Thus, my rating. That should tell you in regard to your own preferences if this is a book for you.

I still love Diana Peterfreund. I just know now to stick to her YA books.

Content: Descriptive sexual content and language.
Source: From the author, which did not affect my review in any way.

What do you think?

Disclosure: This review is of a book I was given for free by an author, tour host, or publisher, or through NetGalley or Edelweiss. This in no way influences the opinions shared in my review. You may see my complete policy on my policies page. This post also contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase of any type using these links, I receive a small kickback.

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