Contemporary Young Adult
Available June 26th
Received through Teen Book Scene for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)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?
MY THOUGHTSBased on the synopsis it’s not hard to predict the type of story One Moment will be, nor is it difficult to deduce Joey’s secrets long before Maggie figures them out, however, the overall predictability does not detract even the slightest from the rawness of Maggie’s pain as we're drawn into her sudden devastation with sure fingers wrapped around our hearts in an unrelenting grip. Joey’s death is just the beginning for Maggie, and though we can clearly guess what’s coming for her, the tension is almost greater as a result of our enlightenment when she remains so stubbornly in the dark, Joey’s secrets weighing on us as much as they do those around her who have knowledge of them. Each chapter eats at us, the tiny black letters on the pages morphing into predatory entities ravaging us mentally and emotionally until we’re laid wide open and feeling just as vulnerable as our protagonist.
Maggie is a fairly uncomplicated young woman, presenting us with little challenge in trying to read between her lines or analyze her every thought and action as we search for a darkness or extra layer that just isn’t there. She’s by no means a flat character, instead she seems so genuine from the very beginning that it’s beyond easy to project ourselves onto her, sliding seamlessly into her position as her entire foundation crumbles and she slowly but surely sifts through the pieces to build again with stronger materials. While her friends at times call her selfish for being so introverted after Joey’s death–seeming not to notice or acknowledge the pain of those around her–we as readers have a difficult time agreeing with that label, our time spent in Maggie’s head showing us clearly the chaos her mind is trying to manage and how strong her love for her friends is even when those friends are being less than honest with her.
When the truth finally comes out in its entirety and Maggie’s memories are restored to her in gut-wrenching detail, our respect for her grows exponentially as she shoulders the weight of the revelations when others would surely collapse under the strain. She cries, she yells, and she gets justifiably angry, and through it all we whisper in her ear words of encouragement to assure her she’s right in her feelings, a reassurance more for ourselves than for her given our hurt cuts as deep and our anger burns as bright despite our distance as readers from the events. We may technically be observers in this tale, but our hearts are as tangled in the mess Joey left behind as Maggie's is, and we read on wishing, however hopelessly, that she had the opportunity to get the answers from him she so rightfully deserves.
Overall One Moment is a tragic and painful story, but through it all we have a young woman in Maggie who opens her eyes wide after having them shuttered for so very long, and walking beside her as she copes with not only the loss of Joey himself, but also the loss of the love and trust that shattered on the rocks along with him, brings a smile to our faces despite our agony.