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One Lonely Degree

One Lonely Degree

4.2 19
by C. K. Kelly Martin

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Anything is possible. . . .

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.


Anything is possible. . . .

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?

Praise for I Know It’s Over:

* “Authentic and sophisticated. Readers will look forward to whatever gestates next.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred

* “An emotionally complex and disarmingly frank coming-of-age tale.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When 15-year-old Finn's childhood friend Jersy returns to town, Finn is instantly attracted to him but says nothing as he gets together with her best friend, Audrey. Audrey is almost too good to be true, providing an endless supply of sympathy for Finn's complaints about her parents' fighting. Audrey is also Finn's cheerleader as Finn tries to work up courage to talk to her crush and deal with the aftermath of an ugly incident in which a popular senior tries to force Finn to perform a sexual act. When Audrey leaves town for the summer, Finn can no longer fight her attraction to Jersy, which turns out to be mutual. The connection built between Jersy and Finn doesn't feel strong enough to convince readers that Finn would betray Audrey, and the story of Finn's parents' breakup drags. Finn is easy to relate to, with her doubts and inner voice that critiques her every social interaction; however, as a romance and family drama, the story comes up short. Ages 14-up.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Stephanie Dawley
Set in suburban Toronto, this is a painfully realistic novel about a fifteen-year-old girl named Finn. Finn appears normal on the surface. She has a best friend, loves music, does well in school, and dreams of being a graphic designer in New York or London one day; but, inside, she carries a secret that makes her feel like a freakish outsider in her own life. Audrey, her best friend, is the only one who knows the truth. Audrey is sent away for the summer though, and Finn is left to fend for herself. On top of all of this, Finn's parents are getting divorced, and she has no idea what to do with her feelings of resentment and anger towards her father. As she and Audrey's boyfriend, Jersy, begin spending more and more time together, it becomes difficult to hide their feelings for each other. Finn feels torn between her love for her best friend and her blossoming feelings for this "Beautiful Boy" who makes her feel normal again. This young adult novel is well-written, with realistic dialogue and likable characters. Sexual content, references to drug use, and adult language make it suitable for older teens. Reviewer: Stephanie Dawley
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Ninth-grader Finn's story begins in the middle of winter as her life continues to fall apart. Her parents are headed toward divorce, and she is trying to cope with her own private trauma from an incident that happened in September. Matters are made worse when her best friend, Audrey, is sent to live with relatives during the summer, leaving Audrey's boyfriend, Jersy, alone. As everyone else in Finn's life becomes distant, she and Jersy drift dangerously closer. This novel is difficult to read because the time line jumps forward erratically, with little transition between days and months. Only important events in Finn's life are narrated, which gives readers little insight into the characters' thoughts and actions and creates a jarring effect instead of a flowing narrative. An interesting plot will occasionally make up for a lack of character development, but that simply doesn't happen in this book.—Heather E. Miller, Homewood Public Library, AL
Kirkus Reviews
Finn's family is falling apart at the same time she's falling for her best friend's boyfriend. As the school year transitions into summer, Finn's father moves out and her mother retreats to her bedroom. Her confidante, Audrey, is sent on a forced vacation for dating Jersy, Finn's childhood friend, and Finn finds herself increasingly attracted to Jersy's supposed stability. Martin delivers the same genuine and powerful voice in her sophomore novel that garnered praise for I Know It's Over (2008). Finn embodies the outsider teen, with her forays into reinvention and concomitant retreats into familiar territory. Authentic emotions resonate throughout the text, and the upbeat ending flows naturally from the story rather than being forced into the summer-romance archetype. Readers will find strains of Sara Zarr and Laurie Halse Anderson in the prose, but the author is innovative, not derivative. The perfect temperature for a summer read or a cool discussion, and an outstanding second novel. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2009:
"The perfect temperature for a summer read or a cool discussion, and an outstanding second novel."

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

One Lonely Degree

By C. K. Kelly Martin
Random House Books for Young Readers
Copyright © 2009

C. K. Kelly Martin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780375955631

Chapter One

Things don't always change with a bang. Sometimes they change so gradually that you can't clearly pinpoint the last moment they were truly the same. That's the way it was with my parents. I know they were happy--but I couldn't tell you exactly when.

Audrey says they could just be going through a bad patch and that things could start changing back when I least expect it. Anything is possible. That's almost the truth, but it doesn't fill me with hope. Anything is possible makes me feel like someone's scraping at the inside of my rib cage with dull scissors. If you kept that idea in your head, you'd never leave the house for fear you'd be crushed by a runaway bus or gunned down in the mall parking lot.

Anything is possible is something I prefer not to think about, but I don't always have a choice. Some nights are just like that. The sick feelings creep up on me until I want to shout so loud that it would make my parents come running. I never do, of course. It wouldn't help, and my parents would cart me off to some highly recommended shrink that would want to know everything.

And there are things I could say, but not anything that I actually want anyone to hear. There are thoughts in my head that I can't get out, but I have my own trick for dealing with them, which is to let other things in, as loud and furious asI can.

Tonight, for instance, I have to keep pulling off my earphones to listen for my dad's key in the front door. Raine Maida screams "Naveed" in my ears. Listen. Then it's "Where Are You," "Innocent," and "Yellow Brick Road." Listen. The pounding in my ears, the sound of Raine's voice like burning gold, and the blanket pulled all the way up to my chin is the nearest thing I know to an antidote, but if Dad hears the music he'll open the door and ask why I'm still awake. It's happened before. I used to keep the bedside lamp on, and a couple months ago, around two in the morning, he tapped at my door and asked if I was sick.

"No," I told him. "Just a little insomnia." My face felt like a bleached white sheet, and I was scared that he'd sense my bad feelings and try to put them into words.

"You could try turning down the volume," he said, smiling.

A guitar riff was screeching out of the earphones around my neck, and I furrowed my eyebrows, puffed out my cheeks, and said, "Ha. Ha." Everyone is so sarcastic these days that it's practically boring, but I need all the crutches I can get.

"And turning off the light," he added, still hovering in the doorway in his plaid pajamas and slippers, looking like a sitcom TV father that can solve any problem within thirty minutes.

"You're funny, Dad." I pulled an impatient face. "Anyone ever tell you you're a funny guy?"

"Not my teenage daughter," he said, smile as wide as ever. "Don't go deaf tonight, Finn. You have school in the morning."

I nodded and watched him shut the door, the sickness stretching tight across my face the moment he was gone. My skin feels that same way now. Like a mask that doesn't fit anymore. Like I'm not the person anyone thinks I am--not even Audrey. But if I'm not that person, just who am I instead? I'm not the girl who slinks soundlessly through the school hall pretending nothing can touch her. That much I do know.

Listen, I tell myself. Just listen. Listen. Everything will be all right, as long as you stop your mind and listen.

And this is the way it goes for a while. Me listening to Raine's voice in my ear. Me waiting for Dad's key in the door. My heels are itchy dry in my socks. My lips are cracking and my fingertips will be next. The air in my room is colder than anywhere else in the house except the basement. My mother says she doesn't know how I can stand it, but I like the contrast. This is me in bed in the middle of winter.

Everything will be all right.

From the Hardcover edition.


Excerpted from One Lonely Degree by C. K. Kelly Martin Copyright © 2009 by C. K. Kelly Martin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

You can visit C. K. Kelly Martin’s Web site at www.ckkellymartin.com.

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One Lonely Degree 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book i realated to in so many ways i cried and broke down is beautiful
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the story but hated the ending. Still, its an all around good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Victoria LeBlanc More than 1 year ago
what really happened to christina? im really confused by it.... did she get like raped or something?
evans Alomepe More than 1 year ago
The story started out slow but the suspense and tensiin to see what will happen to Finn, the main character in this story. This book is great for those who love a suspense filled page turner!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RTeenbookworm More than 1 year ago
One Lonely Degree kind of reminded me of a lighter version of Speak. It wasn't what I expected and in the end I wanted more. The story kind of dragged on a little. I didn't really understand Finn, let alone like her in the beginning. But as I read farther into the story, I finding out she was sexually assaulted I understood why she acted this way. She was numb to it all and wanted to forget.I just wanted her to be stronger. I wanted her to know that she wasn't something old and used. She kept this secret practically from everyone except her BFF Audrey. I really liked the relationship between Finn and Jersy. With Audrey away and Jersy.Finn was becoming stronger and coming out her shell. She wasn't so depended on Audrey anymore. I really liked reading about Finn's growth throughout the novel. What I enjoyed most with this book was Kelly Martin's writing, she did a wonderful job creating realistic and re-latable characters. I think there are a lot of girls like Finn who just wanted to forget about what happened to them. And wish they would have had the courage to speak up.(P.S. i hated Adam's guts...jerk!) In the end I liked One Lonely Degree, it has genuine characters, uncomplicated romantic plot, with easy and flowing writing.I'm sure a lot of teens can relate. I'll be reading more of Kelly Martin's books.
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I really like the book but i feel that the auther could have concluded the book a little better
Lauren817 More than 1 year ago
After reading C.K. Kelly Martin's fantastic first novel, I Know It's Over, I was a bit weary to see how this one would compare to that amazing and heartbreaking tale. Luckily, by the end of the first chapter, I was already addicted to One Lonely Degree. Leaving me to think only one thought: C.K. Kelly Martin never writes a bad book! Finn was a character that was easy to love. I was constantly cheering for her to overcome what had happened the previous year and to work out the situation between between her and her dad. Plus, I loved how she just an "ordinary girl" who was self conscious about herself, because I , and I'm sure many other teens out there, can relate to that piece of her. I also admired her friendship with Audrey because it was interesting to see their never ending bond that seems like it can never be broken. Though, in the book it kind of did, but you'll have to read One Lonely Degree to find out for yourself. Jersey was also totally dream worthy and someone who was fun to read about. The plot was close to flawless and flowed extremely well with C.K. awesome writing. I loved how the tale of what happened at the party last Fall to Fin went to was told slowly, one tiny detail at a time. Since, it made for a fast paced novel. Also, it was interesting to see the whole problems between Fin's patents measure over time and how Fin's relationship with Jersey got even more complicated every day. Unfortunately, the one thing that brought One Lonely Degree a grade down the predictably it showed at time, but the ending, which I thought fit the novel extremely well, mostly made up for it. Overall, C.K.'s sophomore attempt definitely doesn't disappoint, I can't wait to read her future novels! Grade: B+
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Finn isn't the girl she used to be before - before the party when her life changed. Only her BFF, Audrey, knows about that night. Now she's just a shell of her old self, not wanting to take a chance on anything. When a former friend moves back to town, she knows he's gotten hotter. While she's interested, she can't bring herself to do anything about her crush. When Audrey asks her if she would mind if she dates Jersy, Finn immediately says no. After all she's done for her, Audrey needs a little happiness, too. Soon she becomes the third wheel, and when Audrey's mom and dad find out, she becomes a convenient excuse. When Audrey's parents send her away over the summer, Finn doesn't know what to do with herself. She gets a job, but without her BFF, she's lonely. Plus, her own parents are breaking up. She needs someone to turn to. Will that someone be Jersy? C.K. Kelly Martin creates another wonderfully awkward love story with ONE LONELY DEGREE.