young adult book reviews & more

One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin

One Lonely DegreeFinn’s life has been unraveling ever since that night in September, that party and Adam Porter. And of course, to add even more stress, her parents’ relationship has been steadily deteriorating. Life is almost more than she can bear. It’s a good thing her best friend Audrey is there for her, or Finn wouldn’t know what to do. Thus, Finn ignores her tentative initial attraction to Beautiful Boy Jersy, her childhood friend from way back when, when Audrey expresses her interest. When Audrey goes away for the summer, Finn finds herself spending more time with Jersy. But being with Jersy, the only thing that feels right amidst the disaster in Finn’s life, would mean betraying Audrey. How if Finn supposed to know what’s right and wrong now?

Martin paints a vivid picture of the effects of damage on people’s lives in One Lonely Degree. Protagonist Finn is the prime example of this. She is still reeling, months later, from an unpleasant experience that probably freaked her out more than harmed her but is nonetheless branded into her brain. She consequently withdraws into herself and she feels helpless when other things start to fall apart around her. Even though I’ve read many books that present similar problems as in One Lonely Degree, Martin seems so much more frank on the subject by including emotionally scarring experiences in multiple characters’ lives. It just goes to say that in spite of damage happening, life goes on. Martin portrays this superbly through Finn’s rocky struggle to overcome her past drama. Martin’s characters are undeniably realistic, even the ones the reader only gets a few glimpses of. I like how she neither condemns nor condones any of the characters’ actions, but rather leaves that to the reader’s prerogative. One Lonely Degree is a beautifully written and moving story like life imitating art.

I recommend One Lonely Degree to readers who also liked Purge by Sarah Darer Littman, Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers, Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell, and anything by Sarah Dessen or Deb Caletti. I can’t wait to see more writing from Martin in I Know It’s Over and novels to come.

Rating: 4.5

Review copy from publisher Random House

2 munch(es) :

Chelsea said...

I agree on the Purge recommendation. I liked One Lonely Degree, but didn't feel like it was complete. I LOVE C.K.'s writing, though, and I Know It's Over was one of my favorites of 09!

Mitzy said...

I agree completely with Chelsea. It needed one more chapter!

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