One Night

One Night

2.9 164
by Margaret Wild

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Gabe is the best looking guy in school—that’s why his friends send him to get girls to their party. Helen is not much to look at—that’s why her friends want her to come along. But Helen gets under Gabe’s skin in a way no other girl has.

It was one night. One night with lasting consequences. Now Helen has to decide if she wants to


Gabe is the best looking guy in school—that’s why his friends send him to get girls to their party. Helen is not much to look at—that’s why her friends want her to come along. But Helen gets under Gabe’s skin in a way no other girl has.

It was one night. One night with lasting consequences. Now Helen has to decide if she wants to keep the baby—and if she should tell Gabe, who hasn’t spoken to her since their one night together.

Filled with love, fear, and the tough choices born of casual acts, One Night is a passionate and compellingly readable novel about teen life, the hardships of parenthood—and the joy and forgiveness between family and friends.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Australian author Wild (Jinx) pens a free-verse problem novel about two teens who accidentally become parents after hooking up one night at a party. The book divides into three parts, the first of which centers on Gabe, who's cold but has a self-proclaimed "devastating smile." He meets Helen, who has a "damaged face" but, he admits, "saw into my soul." In the next part, told mainly from Helen's perspective, she realizes she's pregnant but cannot get Gabe on the phone to tell him. After fighting with her dad, she leaves home and finds a new family in a rundown boarding house, where she begins raising her son. In the final section, Gabe and Helen reconnect, confronting their problems and their futures. Gabe and Helen don't have a monopoly on difficulties, either; Wild also dissects both characters' parents' marriages. And, among other characters, Gabe says his best friend Al's name is "short for Alan and Alcohol"; Helen's new landlady has a drug-addicted granddaughter; and one boarder keeps expecting his dead son to visit. The verse can be startlingly perceptive (Helen, unable to breastfeed her son, feels judged by other mothers who "unbutton their blouses/ with milky complacency"). The author quickly captures multiple voices and points of view, and while some plot elements strain credibility, the teen-pleasing insights and fast pace outweigh the soap-opera touches. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Like the author's Jinx (reviewed in paperback in this issue of KLIATT), One Night is a story told in short poems, from the point of view of several characters. It's quite amazing how a carefully crafted poem is able to reveal character so clearly on two levels of understanding: intellectual and emotional. One night two people meet at a wild party and then go their separate ways, but the night changes both their lives forever. Gabe is a beautiful young man, obsessed with hooking up with girls, but uninterested in commitments. Helen is a girl with a beautiful soul and a damaged face. When she realizes she is pregnant with Gabe's baby from the casual sexual encounter that one night, she decides to keep the baby and escape the misery of her parents' household. Both characters are eventually transformed by this one night and its aftermath. Margaret Wild is able to tell about teenagers and families with honesty. She doesn't pull back from the weaknesses and mistakes. But she also has compassion for these characters she has created, even the flighty mother, the rigid father, the drunken boy, the drug-addicted daughter who are peripheral to the story. As we might expect in a YA novel, Gabe and Helen mature by the end of the story, sharing a love for their son if not for each other. Helen's parents change in ways that help her start to trust them. Al, the alcoholic, pulls back from the edge of self-destruction, sobered by a near tragedy of his own making. This book, set in Australia, was first published there; this shouldn't be any barrier to readers from other countries. It's a strong, gripping story throughout, especially the birth poems when Helen is in labor, alone in the hospital. KLIATTCodes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Random House, Knopf, 236p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
Children's Literature
Bram plans the parties and Gabe lures the girls and the only commitment is to return the houses to the same condition they were before. Gabe's mother left him when he was seven and left a hole so big no girl can fill it. Gabe's friend, Al, also comes from a home of no love and he aimlessly drifts from one party to the next filling his emptiness with girls and beer. One night Helen walks into one of these parties and falls for Gabe. The result is a pregnancy she carries to full term even though she has no support from her parents. She leaves school, gets a job, enrolls in a correspondence course, and finds a landlady who adopts her to replace the daughter who ran away. When the landlady becomes ill, Helen is determined to find the daughter but she must find someone to take care of her baby. She leaves the baby in Gabe's care, the first he knows he's a father, but it is also the night of a party. Al, in his drunken state, almost kills the baby and that ends all the parties. In one fast, pat ending, the boys grow up, the landlady's daughter returns home, and Helen is reconciled with her parents. The characters are well-developed in free verse style of writing, but the ending is too easy. Hopefully, teenagers reading this book will not believe real life issues have fairy tale endings. 2003, Alfred A. Knopf, Ages 10 to 14.
—Janet L. Rose
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Angry at his mother for deserting him, hunky Gabe treats the many girls he meets with a "love them and leave them" attitude. He and his buddies function as a well-oiled machine when it comes to throwing parties, hiding the dysfunction in their families and their personalities behind a smooth facade. Helen, who was born with a disfigured face, hopes to become a plastic surgeon someday. After a one-night stand with Gabe, her world is shattered when she finds that she is pregnant. Written in verse, the book details each small failure and success along the journey toward Gabe and Helen feeling comfortable in the world again. The book takes a sensitive and thoughtful look at a number of other characters as well, each of whom has been betrayed in some way and is dealing, or refusing to deal, with the grief of the situation. Teen readers will love this story and will appreciate its hopeful ending.-Catherine Ensley, Latah County Free Library District, Moscow, ID Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A confused novel-in-verse explores the personalities of four archetypical high-school students and the consequences of one-night flings. Gabe is the gorgeous member of a trio of friends who throw parties. His job is to invite as many pretty girls as he can attract. Bram is the calculating mastermind and Al supplies the booze. Helen is the independent loner who gets pregnant one night. Free-verse poems describe these and other characters, sometimes in first-person and sometimes in third. Divided into three unequal sections, the story lacks structure, as side characters butt in at awkward moments, and as a lack of depth and context to the story make each character's neatly tied-up ending seem far too purposeful. Though the verse allows Wild to vividly capture the emotions of these teens, the story she's trying to tell requires a novel's structure and complexity, never realized here. Poetry sequence or novel-it fails either way. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

"the parties"

The parties were Bram's idea–
For a long time they were the best-kept secret in the city.
They ended one night when Al nearly killed Raphael.


"collecting girls"

First Saturday in summer,
Johnstone Public Swimming Pool now called
Johnstone Park Aquatic Center to match its glitzy new image.
I'm sitting here, in my sunglasses,
checking the pool.
Target: collecting girls.

A surly waitress slaps down a cappuccino, weak as cat's piss,
slopping into the saucer.
I give her my devastating smile,
and she stares at me,
mouth hanging open.
For a moment I consider coaxing
her into a smile,
but I can't waste time.
I turn to survey the poolside.
To the right the high-diving pool–
young boys jostling,
eager to show off.
Straight ahead the Olympic pool–
two lanes reserved for coaching.
To the left the heated pool,
and the little kids' pool.
Then the grassy banks rolling down to the bay,
and clusters of girls and guys.

I dig out some coins and leave them on the table.
I catch the waitress looking at me,
her face wistful.
I shouldn't have smiled.
Of course I could invite her to the party tonight, but I don't want the bother of looking after her.
Better not.

I saunter down the steps,
scan the main pool for chicks on their own,
or with their girlfriends.
At the deep end,
are a couple of possibles.
I may come back to them later.

"so bram says"

Tonight the party will be at Chris's house,
as his parents are away for the weekend.
He's done as Bram told him–
informed the neighbors he's having a small gathering,
assured them the music won't be too loud,
promised that everyone will leave by midnight.

Even if they do complain later,
there will be no evidence of a party,
not even debris in the vacuum cleaner.
Chris's parents will feel relieved he took such good care of the house,
he'll get off with nothing worse than a mild reprimand.

So Bram says.


Bram's planning is impeccable.
His "before" photos capture a house precisely.
The placement of ornaments,
the slant of a rug,
even the contents of the fridge are noted and photographed,
so by the end of the party everything can be put back in place.
He gloats that prideful householders have no idea their beloved home has been at his mercy.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Margaret Wild is also the author of Jinx. She lives in Australia.

From the Hardcover edition.

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One Night 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 162 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was written in poetry form and not what i expected and i was disapointed. Very short and read it with in an hour. Wasnt very good and wish i would have read the sample book before i actually bought it because otherwise i wouldnt have gotten it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have no clue as to what is going on in this book...confusing and kinda stupid!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont get it Not worth buying
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow stupid book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didnt make much scense and terrible ending
Allison Lejeune More than 1 year ago
It skipped several parts,not very detailed, and was very hard to comprehend. Otherwise,it would have been a good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not very well written. Skipped many parts. Wish I read the sample before buying.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was really good. I loved how it was written in free verse, though I wish that in the end more would have happend with Gabe and Helen. Though it is still a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waste if money
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Inread... a LOT.. this was not a good way to write the book. I think the story could be good but its so hard to understand whats going on thatnthe story doesnt make much sense.. not a book i would recommend :(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good book super sweet read it in about two hours highly recomened
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has to many settings so its hard to comprehend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Poetry dosnt tell story very confused I read sample and was just like huh? Not going to buy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not like this book at all :( i am honestly very dissapointed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Confusing and every page is put into poem
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too predictable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its often hard to know whose point of view the page is from. Everything hops around so quickly,no fluidity whatsoever. It seems like a child wrote it,without a proofread.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No offense to the autbor but who writes a book like this in poetry i personally thought is was stupid please get the sample before buying you will save money if i got the sample i would not have gotten the book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im kinda confused as to if this is a good book or bad .. can someone please help . There are a lot of bad reviews that it wasnt what they were expecting o.o confused someone help me out please & thanks /.\ reply too marie alice !*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cute short and to the point
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i thought the book was interesting. however i was very cofusing¿ i do recommend this book to others thoughu
Stacey_Michelle More than 1 year ago
This book was really good
I could not keep my eyes off
of it I finished in 2 nights.
I just wish the end was differnet, but it was still good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A story as new as 2015, and as old as ooo1 BCE or AD. Pregnant and unplanned the author explores how this new life affects everyone involved. How it helps them grow up on the inside as the baby grows on the outside! The emotional compared and contrasted with the physical! Awesome...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could have been a good book, but i could barely follow it and a terrible ending...