One Small Thing by Erin Watt ~ Sarah A’s Review

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.

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Up until the last maybe ten pages of One Small Thing I was prepared to write an amazing review on how redemptive and healing this book was.  I was completely involved in Beth and Chase’s story of love, forgiveness, and trust.  However, the end was so dissatisfying and abrupt; it ruined much of the joy I had while reading the rest of the story.

Beth won me over from the off; she seemed to be so alone despite being surrounded by people who cared for her.  She was angry and sad and had been so isolated by the way her loved ones were protecting her.  When she started acting out, I was 100% there for it.  I was pretty impressed by how she’s handled herself, as I’m not sure I’d be able to rein my anger in as well as she did in the same situation.  I also appreciated how much she grew and realized other people’s opinions weren’t as important as what she knew to be true.

I wanted to not like Chase, much for the same reasons as Beth wanted, but it was impossible.  He was so much more than his past, what the general public thought about him, and what he gave himself credit for.  Chase broke my heart with the way he continued to punish himself for something he’d never intended to happen.  Once he finally began to accept the connection he felt with Beth, I nearly sighed in relief because I could feel the weight of the world begin to shift slightly off his shoulders.

One Small Thing was a poignant story of those precarious years immediately before adulthood, that time when you need to be your own person yet are still firmly under the control of the adults in your life.  It’s a story of looking deeper than the surface, beyond the preconceived notions, to the heart of a person and believing in them because of the goodness found there.  It was a story about learning to compromise without sacrificing your needs and when to stand-up against the things you can not abide.  I was impressed with how much this story had to say about the human condition and how fallible even the most cautious and concerned people can be.

I do have one major wish for this book, and that would be the lackluster ending.  For the entirety of the novel we had a huge workup to a fabulous – if somewhat predictable – climax, then we had no real resolution to any of it.  There was an awkward aside in the final chapter I think was supposed to satisfy my need for healing and closure, but it just felt like an afterthought.  To me, it seemed like the authors weren’t sure how to balance the essential healing the characters deserved with the poignancy of the rest of the story and decided the synopsized ending was the best option.  I just know the greatness of the rest of the book was lost in those last few unsatisfying pages.

Erin Watt has been hit or miss for me.  Most of their earlier books are so beautiful, so consuming, I wasn’t able to refrain myself from absorbing every word at an alarming rate. However, their later pieces seem to be missing the magic they’d captured in those first several stories.  I had really thought One Small Thing had recaptured that enchantment, but it didn’t quite make it there.  I only hope to see them return to their roots and deliver more of those captivating stories that won me over, to begin with.

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.

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