It's London in the mid-noughties before Facebook, iPhones and ubiquitous wifi, and One? follows the highs and lows of a group of twenty-somethings living in leafy SW4.
Zara has just moved to London for her first real job and struggles to find her feet in a big city with no instruction manual.
Penelope works night and day in an investment bank with little or no time for love. At 28 she is positively ancient as far as her mother is concerned and the pressure is on for her to settle down as the big 3-0 is looming.
Charlie spends night and day with his band who are constantly teetering on the verge of greatness.
Richard has relocated to London from his castle in Scotland in search of the one, and Alyx is barely in one place long enough to hold down a relationship let alone think about the future.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This took me a while to get through, but I thoroughly enjoyed every word. It's the perfect book to just take time to relax and read, which is exactly what I needed. The main characters all had different things to deal with and I found myself genuinely interested to see where each character ends up. I especially liked Penelope's storyline, because she keeps getting guys thrown at her and she doesn't want to end up with someone completely plain and boring. Which makes sense! The ending was a plot twist that I didn't see coming and ended in a way that was basically a cliff hanger, so I can't wait to read the next one. I'm team Alyx.
The story opens with a childhood memory where a five-year-old Alyx is asked what he wants to be when he grows up, to which he proudly responds a Beatle. The teacher becomes irrationally angry with Alyx the proceeds to Penelope, who informs the class that she wants to be a princess. The teacher forces both Alyx and Penelope to stay after class to discuss what 'real career aspirations' are. I was definitely annoyed by this teacher because why should a child be chided over what is deemed an appropriate career choice at that age is beyond me. We fast forward to the present day of the story, which follows the lives of three main characters: Penelope, Charlie, and Zara. Penelope and Charlie have known each other for years as they went to University together. After finally finding a flat that they agreed upon in London, there was a misunderstanding from the leasing agent, and Zara was promised the place as well. Since Penelope and Charlie were already planning on finding an additional two flatmates to cover the remaining rent, they all decided to make a go of it. Zara is originally from a small Welsh town, so she has a bit of a hard time adjusting to the hustle and bustle of big city life in London. She's working her first big girl job after uni, and she's not used to a life where she's not surrounded by her booming social life. Her only friend is her work colleague Rob, who is the source of office gossip and a good happy hour. After reading One?, I would not necessarily classify this book as a contemporary romance because that's not really the main focus for the first half of the book. The first half of the book focuses on the daily lives of Penelope, Charlie, and Zara and their interactions with one another. Zara definitely views Penelope as 'Miss Perfect' until she finally takes the time actually get to know her. Charlie, well Charlie just sleeps with anything that walks since he's in the music industry and is all about that Rock'N'Roll life. Additionally, I loved George, Penelope's best friend Georgina, who is brutally honest and hilarious. Without giving too much of the plot away, I also liked watching Penelope have to navigate her love life and figure out who the one would be: Richard Lord (the wealthy Scot) or Alyx (the boy she always knew). Overall, this is a fun read that really goes into navigating relationships in the modern world while also trying to navigate life as a twenty/thirty-something. I definitely found the characters and their situations relatable, which reminded me of how I first navigated life after university. Thank you to the author for providing an ebook in exchange for an honest review. It did not influence my review, and all opinions are my own.
Firstly, just look at that cover, its so clever and lovely! Secondly, if you have read the blurb, (and depending on your age), you will be brought back to an era where there were no iphones, no social media and no good reliable wi fi! If you are not old enough, then yes believe it or not, there was a time not too long ago, when you had to look up in a book if you wanted to find something out. 'One?' goes back in time, where Zara looks for a video shop to pass her time,rather than Netflix. Although some things never change, like dipping chocolate digestives in tea! (great idea Zara). I really enjoyed this book and am already looking forward to 'Two'. We follow main characters Zara and Penelope who house share in London while they navigate their way through the highs and lows of living and working in London. Reading this book took me back to a time when I was in London, the highs and lows and finding your way through the social life, the travel system and work! This was a part of the reason why I enjoyed the book so much, I could relate to the characters and the area. Penelope and Charlie are used to London, while Zara is new and needs advice and guidance from Penelope. We see friendships develop naturally, and also discussions of relationships and 'TheOne'. I loved the part where a female character has to explain women's thoughts on this to a male character. She does a great job, even adding in what happens during divorce! The story is not all about finding love, so don't be fooled by the title into thinking this is all about finding 'The One', its more about the trials and tribulations of a few young people getting by in London in the early naughties. 'One?' is about friendships, getting by, fun and a few chance meetings here and there. London city is the perfect setting for this book. We also get a great tip from Penelope, though I haven't yet tried it, but would be interested to know if it works....? The best hangover cure according to Penelope, (or is it Author Jennifer Cahill?), "Red Hula Hoops and Coke". Let me know if you try this!