One Small Thing
Author: Erin Watt
Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish. Date: June 26, 2018
Page number: 384 pages
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author duo of The Royalsand When It’s Real comes a sensational new novel about a girl falling for the one boy she should never have met…
Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.
Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…
Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.
Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.
I received a free copy for an honest review.
One Small Thing follows Elizabeth (who now goes by Beth) three years after her sister, Rachel's tragic accidental death. We see her trying to work through this with her grief-stricken parents, as well as the forbidden relationship that is starting to form between the most unexpected pair, her and her sister's accidental killer: Chase, the boy who drove Rachel over.
I came into this book blind. I tend to do that with authors who I'm very familiar with (and ones that I tend to favor their works a lot). So when I saw this book on Edelweiss, I didn't hesitate and immediately requested it.
I know Erin Watt can write. She has proven it even from her very first book (Paper Princess). She is amazing at weaving deep emotional pain with great character chemistries, and she definitely did it again in this book.
I know this book was going to be somehow about forbidden love, but I wasn't sure how. So my very first "raise-eyebrow-moment" was when I realized that the "forbidden love" is going to be created with Beth falling for her sister's killer. This isn't that big, but I want to mention this because I definitely had an "oh, so that's how we're going to do it" moment. It was pretty funny (I'm very impressed, it's definitely not typical).
From someone who (very grateful) doesn't have the first-hand encounter with severe grief, this book definitely sheds light on me of how grief can transform people, for better for worse. I really liked how we see people like Beth's parents, who turned into literal psychos that treat every old thing as treasures. We also see Beth herself, who is the kind who doesn't like to expr4ess her grief in public. She didn't cry at her sister's funeral, or when she received the news. But being in her head, we know she was one of the most woeful out of everyone.
At this point, I really don't think that it's logical anymore to doubt Watt's abilities to write deep emotional storylines that touch the reader's heartstrings. The whole book is built on an (actually) very,m very wise idea. The mindset of "One Small Thing" is very eye-opening. It made me a reader, even after I closed my book, I want to add this to my life as well.
I'm also definitely going to try the advice Chase gave Beth, and that is to change your situation, you have to change yourself. If you read the book, you 'll know what I'm talking about, and that is some really, really good advise.
The chemistry, motivation, and every character's portrayal all is executed perfectly as well. Watt definitely used this book to successfully make me hate humanity (again) by showing me how two-faced it is. You see everyone being so "oh, we love Rachel", and how they looked down on Beth for forgiving Chase, it's just...sickening. Their attitudes are sickening me.
I disagree with people who call this angsty romance. I know my angsty romance, this is not hate-love relationship. It's not black and white, I don't know how to put it, but I do know that it's not enough to count as a legitimate hate-love relationship.
Erin Watt also pulled-another show-not-tell-villain on us. Her portrayal and the slow revelation of Jeff as a character was just terribly clever. I really loved how in the beginning we liked him, thinking he's a good person, but as the story progresses, through his demeanor, speech, and action, we start to realize how horrible he truly is (from his anger issues, possessiveness, sexism, and more).
I'll be honest, I'm impressed by how clean the ending is. By over half the book I'm really starting to worry how this is going to end, and how Watt is going to resolve this (*sarcastic spoiler*: it wasn't a problem and it made sense).
To sum up, One Small Thing is no masterpiece, but it definitely was a great read that had some surprising depths. I am very, very happy to say that Erin Watt did it again, she did not disappoint. This is exactly why even for someone who doesn't read contemporary that often, she is still one of my favorite and go-to authors in this genre.
about the author
Erin Watt is the brainchild of two bestselling authors linked together through their love of great books and an addiction to writing. They share one creative imagination. Their greatest love (after their families and pets, of course)? Coming up with fun-and sometimes crazy-ideas. Their greatest fear? Breaking up.