Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Review: One Lonely Degree by CK Kelly Martin (Blog Tour Stop)


Finn has always felt out of place, but suddenly her world is unraveling. It started with The Party. And Adam Porter. And the night in September that changed everything. The only person who knows about that night is Audrey—Finn’s best friend, her witness to everything, and the one person Finn trusts implicitly. So when Finn’s childhood friend Jersy moves back to town—reckless, beautiful Jersy, all lips and eyes and hair so soft you’d want to dip your fingers into it if you weren’t careful—Finn gives her blessing for Audrey to date him. How could she possibly say no to Audrey? With Audrey gone for the summer, though, Finn finds herself spending more and more time with Jersy, and for the first time in her life, something feels right. But Finn can’t be the girl who does this to her best friend...can she?


The Short Version:
Realistic and emotional, One Lonely Degree does a beautiful job of blending the good and bad parts of friendship, particularly after the addition of a boyfriend into the mix. The way Finn and Audrey click is clear from the start, and the way Jersy slips in to their world is smoothly handled. With a plot centered around the depths of friendship clashing with the intensity of a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship and written in an easy way, One Lonely Degree is a well done mix of a love triangle, a tested friendship, and first love.

The Extended Version:
Finn is a very sympathetic character and relatable character. She isn't the most social, in part because of her personality and preferences but also due to a bad experience at a party with one of the popular boys at the school. Forcing herself into silence, Finn does what she can to forget that night no matter what, with only her best friend, Audrey, knowing the truth. Though it clearly has changed and impacted Finn, her determination to move past it like it never existed is both heartbreaking and admirable. Finn is a great best friend, loyal to the core, and will do whatever she can for Audrey.

The darker part of Finn shows when she starts to lose Audrey, so to speak, after Audrey's parents catch her in her bedroom with Jersy. Now covering for her friend and losing time with her, Finn still fights to be a good friend. She tries to be supportive and understanding, even chastising herself, for the most part, when any of the mean thoughts slip in. The way this part of their friendship is played and tested is fantastically well done, showing the rough side of both girls while still shining on how much they care for each other. This is further compounded after Audrey is sent away for the summer and things start to spark between Finn and Jersy.

Audrey, despite her sudden intense physical attraction to Jersy and determination to be alone with him as much as she can, is a fantastic friend and a great counterpart to Finn. Even when her own plate is full, she'll do what she can to help Finn. There is a softness about this friendship that comes out in all the right moments, and both characters hold great depth and are built boldly from the start. Though some of Audrey's choices aren't the best, her reason for them is very true to her age and desires, without being stereotypical or frustrating.

Jersy is interesting for a love interest, leaning to the slacker side and classified as a stoner. Though he was childhood friends with Finn, it is clear how different the two are after years of being apart after his family moved away, only to now come back. Despite his downfalls, Jersy has an easygoing personality and a great perceptive ability, and watching things grow with Finn was one of the most notable, beautiful aspects of this book.

The pacing is handled fantastically, rushing through the school year while still giving enough events for the reader to get an idea of the entire year and also building the characters, while not lingering too long since the bulk of the story takes place in the summer. The way Martin has handled this difference in timing is remarkable, pushing things when needed without letting it detract from the story. The plot is simple in nature but played out perfectly, with some very intense, emotional scenes and holding very true to the deep roots of real friendship. While some parts are predictable, that can be expected with this type of novel and there were still plenty of unexpected things to make up for it.

Tying everything up is Martin's stunning writing, simplistic in nature while still being beautiful and smooth. She has a way of getting Finn's thoughts across in a way that really speaks of the character while still giving detailed descriptions and infusing plenty of emotion. Unafraid to show the flaws of the characters, and masterfully blending and twisting emotions, One Lonely Degree is a stunning but still smooth and easy read.

This review is part of a promotional author tour with The {Teen} Book Scene
Source: Received from author in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 27, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375851623
ISBN-13: 978-0375851629