One & Only by Viv Daniels – [Book Review]

ebook, 264 pages
Published November 8th 2013
Source: Copy provided by author for my honest review

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.

One & Only is the debut NA contemporary novel from Viv Daniels (aka Diana Peterfreund of For Darkness Shows the Stars) and I’ll come right out and say it, I adored this book. I’ve been wading deeper into the contemporary romance genre ever since I read Wicked Thing by Angeline Kace (which was awesome!), and I am SO glad I took a chance on One & Only. Daniels has written an amazing story about secrets, lies, love, betrayal and reconciliation. This book was FLAWLESS.

The main characters, Tess and Dylan, were both wonderful. They were so real and deep and complex. The whole time I was reading I felt like I was a secondary character watching it all unfold. Tess was amazing. All her life, she (and her mother) have had to live by her dad’s rules. Just the idea of having a dad, but not being able to claim him (and vice versa) is just SO sad to me. To grow up thinking they must not be good enough since her dad didn’t chose them would really do a number on a kid. I was very proud of Tess when she decided to buck the rules and take control of her life. I totally understand why she walked away from Dylan after their time at Cornell, and really, I applauded her. Trying to break a family ‘curse’ like that is serious stuff. What I love about Tess is that throughout the whole book, she had the strength of character to stop, to say no, to live in the moment, to care about someone when most people would have said ‘good riddance’. That’s not to say any of it was easy. Dylan is the freaking MAN, as far as I’m concerned. Sure, he did a few things he shouldn’t have, but you have to start somewhere to grow, to change. Dylan surprised me, and that hasn’t happened to me in a very long time. I thought I had a handle on where a particular situation was going, but nope. I was wrong, and happily so. There are so many things I want to say about these two, but I don’t want to give anything away. Discussion group, anyone?

As far as world building goes, Viv Daniels may as well have transported me to college with Tess and Dylan. Classes, a frat party, labs Even the world Tess and her mother lived in was perfectly done. The ‘rules’, One & Only is the perfect example of what (I think) a New Adult book should be. The intimate scenes are very tastefully done, but it was NOT the center of the story. There was this sense of teasing and tension with every part of the story. It was wonderful, and the ending made me tear up a little. Daniels told this story in such a compelling way. It is the first that I’ve read of hers, but she’s got me hooked. I’ll definitely be coming back for more, and am even more eager to finally check out her YA books. I will absolutely, 110% recommend this to everyone. There is no doubt in my mind that One & Only will be hugely successful, and I can’t wait for the next book, Sweet & Wild.

You may also like