This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget.Maggie remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party. She remembers climbing the trail 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? The latest novel from the author of The Tension of Opposites, One Moment is a mysterious, searing look at how an instant can change everything you believe about the world around you.
After a night of partying, Maggie, Joey and the rest of their friends head into a holiday weekend to kick off what they expect will be a fun filled summer before beginning their Senior Year of High School. The day begins like any other but ends with Joey's death and Maggie's memory loss. As the days go by, secrets will be revealed and lies uncovered that will have them all questioning if they really know each other at all?
Maggie, Joey, Adam, Shannon, Tanna and Pete have been friends since kindergarten. They do everything together, always have each others backs,are like extensions of each others families. Adam is the steady one who always makes the others feel safe. Tanna is the friendly one, Pete the laid back, Mr. Feel-Good and Shannon is the resident Witch with a "B". Maggie is the cautious one of the group, the polar opposite of her daredevil boyfriend Joey. If there's a risk to take or a rule to break, Joey's the one to push the limit.
Maggie and Joey have been dating for almost two years and to her they've got the perfect relationship, well, almost. She has big plans for their Senior Year, like finally telling him she loves him (which she almost does at the top of the cliff) and she's ready to take the plunge with him (in more ways than one). She's the only in their group whose yet to jump off of the cliff at the gorge, (because she's deathly afraid of heights) but she feels like she's ready now with Joey by her side, holding her hand. So as they prepare to go for it, he reassures her with a kiss, the countdown begins and then something happens to make her hesitate... When it's over and everyone is peppering her with questions, all she remembers is the screaming, the look on Adam's face when he comes to find her, the blood and Joey's lifeless body at the bottom of the gorge.
Maggie is haunted by regret and the "what if's". What if she'd told Joey she loved him as they hiked up the hill, what if she'd made him stay a little longer the night before, after the party, what if, what if, what if? Would it have made a difference? Would Joey still be here, safe with her? But as her memory begins to piece itself back together, Maggie discovers that Joey was keeping secrets from her and he wasn't the only one. She starts to question everything she ever believed to be true about their relationship and the people she's called friends her entire life. When the truth of what really happened up on the cliff comes out and why, Maggie will have to decide whether one moment really does change a life forever, or if life is more about the choices we make.
This is one of those books that gives you that "uh-oh", "pit in the stomach" feelings from the get go and stays there until the last chapter. (That isn't a bad thing necessarily.) My heart broke for Maggie on top of that cliff, in more ways than one and continued to do so throughout the story. Each time she was betrayed I felt a stab in the chest for her. At the same time that she seemed to miss the clues with Joey, she also missed the "other" clues. *wink* *wink*. When she learned the truth about "the others" my heart broke all over again but I was happy with the way it ended. *clutches chest*
The only thing I felt was missing, and this is just a "Jen" thing, - I would have loved to see Maggie a year or two down the road. An Epilogue showing how she was doing would've been good for my heart that, yanno, had been broken into a million pieces by the end of the book. *looks for all the pieces to glue back together* ;)
It was very realistic in that death is always a hard subject to talk and open up about, and there's always secrets and questions the person leaves behind.
I didn't really like Maggie all that much. She was kind of likable and relatable, but she was just so.... whiny. I get that after someone has just died, that's a pretty good reason to cry and grieve, but Maggie just took everything to the extreme. And she was also ridiculously blind and naive.
The romance between Joey and Maggie didn't really work out for me either. To me, they just didn't seem all that well matched, even in Maggie's memories. They probably worked for each other, to have been dating for two years, but to me they didn't seem to fit. And I think that's part of the reason why I didn't get the emotional punch; because I just wasn't mourning Joey along with Maggie.
Maggie's friend Adam was my favourite character. Although I figured out really quickly what was going on with him, I still liked reading about him. Shannon was all the girls I have never had anything in common with put together, and I didn't really get why she and Adam were in the same group of friends.
Tanna and Pete didn't do much. They don't really add to the story, aren't really developed, and don't do much to propel the story forward either.
The pacing of the story was good, and I didn't have any trouble keeping up with the story.
There was something in the story that apparently has to be in every YA novel ever written. Is there some kind of rule that I missed? I won't reveal what it is (although you've probably guessed by now), but it didn't really need to be in this book, although I suppose it did add more depth to the story.
But the thing that I did like about the book was the words and the feelings and emotions they brought on. I could feel the emotions that Maggie had just from reading McBride's words.
The one thing I didn't enjoy, was the romance part. I was expecting some kind of romance, but it felt like there was none present. Especially since I was able to guess before it even came up. I'm not sure if I would classify this as a contemporary romance, it seems more like a great mystery because all Joey's secrets were still left untold.
The first chapter, both the writing style and the dramatic cliffhanger (literally) at the end of it, convinced me that I needed to read this book in its entirety. I'm not sure what had me set against this book. Maybe the cover, which I don't much care for even though it is very apt for the novel. Maybe it was that the author clearly spells her name incorrectly (everyone knows Christina is spelled with a CH). I'm so glad I didn't decline this and that I kept reading. Here's why.
Like I do with most books, I went into this one blind. I had no clue what it was about, so I was a bit surprised to be reading about the popular kids having a party. I did like the narrative voice, though, and the group dynamic. Then I hit the end of that first chapter, which is one of the best hooks I've read. I defy you to read to the end of that chapter and not NEED to know what comes next. Of course, the blurb will tell you what's going on, so I guess I'll talk about it too, but still, going in with no clue, it was epic. (If you don't want to know, probs skip to the end of the review).
So, yeah, here's what happens in the opening of this novel: Joey jumps, Joey dies, and Maggie doesn't remember what she happened in the first chapter, because of some sort of amnesia. Grieving, she faces cops, friends and Joey's family members, all wanting to know what happened, and she would like to know too. In the process of sorting out her memories and her feelings, she learns a lot of things she never knew, things about Joey and about her friends. I really enjoyed this, but I will say that I had all of the big revelations figured out within 20 pages. Reading how they happened and learning the details was still fun though.
What drove this book, though, were the characters. Although they definitely are not going onto my mental list of best characters ever, they worked. This group had a real and believable dynamic. Actually, my only concern about them as a friend group is that all 6 of them were friends from childhood. I don't think I've ever encountered a group of friends from childhood that all stayed that close through high school. Obviously, things will be changing for them now, but I don't know. Maybe that happens, but I've only seen it in pop culture. Most of the people I know only talk to a couple of people from high school any more, let alone elementary school.
The funny thing is that, in other circumstances, I would have hated these people. Joey and his crew are the popular kids at the school. They party every week, they do fun things, they drink a lot, and are generally admired by everyone. Had this not been about a serious crisis, carrying about their dramas would have left me cold. Even so, I don't like Joey. Even early on before everything came out, I didn't care for Joey: he's reckless and cocky. No thanks.
Maggie is better and I did like her voice. She had a real feel to her, although one I have trouble reconciling with her usual social status. It's really hard to say if she was like that all the time or if this was a weird side of her. I rather suspect the latter, because she was never comfortable in this book. Even in the opening scenes before tragedy struck, she was paralyzed by her fear of heights, worried, concerned and afraid of judgment. Only a the end did I see a slight vision into what she might normally be when confident and happy, but I'm still not sure.
One Moment is a wonderful contemporary that makes you think about the power of a moment and about how well we actually know even our very best friends. There will definitely be more Kristina McBride in my future!
The story is told from Maggie's perspective, which means we are treated to the story of her friendships with the others and especially her romance with Joey in brief flashbacks, as Maggie tries to make sense of everything that's happened to her. The flashbacks help to develop the characters and convey the depth of Maggie's grief and confusion, and I thought they fit in well with the flow of the story.
Maggie herself is relatable and likable, although occasionally frustratingly naive. It got a little tiring to see all the clues laid out so obviously, but for her to still have no idea what was going on. I could excuse her partly because she's young, and partially because she's struggling to get past a major shock, but her continued ignorance (especially when she was offered answers and refused to listen) got a bit grating.
The other friends are developed to varying degrees. Joey is the most developed, through Maggie's memories, and maybe it's because I never really went for the mega-popular partying guys in high school, but I just failed to see his appeal. He and Maggie never seemed all that well matched to me, even in her memories. So while I appreciated what Maggie was going through, I didn't find this book as sad as I was expecting, because I didn't really mourn Joey along with her.
Her friend Adam was by far the most likable to me, and although I figured out really quickly what was going on with him, I still enjoyed reading about him. Shannon was the epitome of every girl I've ever had nothing in common with, and although she was far from one-dimensional, I couldn't really understand what Adam and Shannon were doing in the same group of friends.
The least developed were Tanna and Pete, who don't really add much to the character development of the other four, or do much to propel the story forward. It seems like they were mostly there to just establish that this is a group of friends, and not a teen soap on the CW. But I wish we'd have seen a bit more from them, Pete especially, whose main contribution to the story was playing semi-recent pop songs on his guitar (and Nickelback. Huh.)
The pacing was good, and I had absolutely no trouble finishing this book in just a few hours. I was never bored, I didn't have any trouble keeping up with what was going on (which was impressive considering the frequent flashbacks), and I liked the simplicity of it.
There was an element of the story that I wish hadn't been there, and I think the story would have been more poignant and bittersweet if the focus had simply been Maggie coming to terms with learning the truth about her dead boyfriend. I won't say what it was, to avoid spoilers, so let's just say it's something that apparently has to be in every YA story, ever. Even when it doesn't actually have to be there.
Ultimately, I thought this was a well-written, interesting, simple story. While it didn't pack quite the emotional punch I was hoping for, I still enjoyed it.
The title is so fitting, One Moment. Because it really is mind blowing how just one moment, that may even seem insignificant at the time can change things so much, and then there are those big moments, happy or sad that you know is going to effect your life, even if you know know how.
My only complaint is that I wished that we figured out what exactly happened sooner so that we could see more growth in Maggie instead of basically being told about it. I also pieced together what happened pretty far ahead of Maggie, but I don't think that took away from my reading experience.
I liked how it ended, tied up but still loose at the same time, with her making peace, and being able to start moving on, while still holding on the right amount to be healthy, or at least on the road to getting there.