on December 16, 2018
A love story about what happens after you meet, or rather, don't meet the one.
I am not a big fan of books written for adults – this is my cross to bear in the book blogging world. However, I heard so many good things about One Day in December, and since it was in December’s Book of the Month selection list I figured I’d go for broke and give it a whirl. I am enormously pleased to say that I actually – shockingly – adored this quiet little sleeper hit.
How I’d Describe This Book to a Friend
We meet Laurie when she’s barely 20 years old – fresh-faced and determined to make her way in the world, rushing home in the holiday cold when she spies the world’s hottest guy from the top of a double-decker bus (we’re in London for this party, folks). She makes eye contact with him, and he hesitates, almost climbs onto the bus. But he’s too slow, and when he musters up the courage for their meet-cute, the bus has already begun to pull away. Laurie rushes home to tell her roommate and best friend Sarah all about “bus boy,” and how frickin’ hot he is. Sarah is very into this idea, but takes it with a grain of salt. One year later, after a flash-forward, Sarah has gone from sweetly dealing with her bestie’s crush on a stranger she will never find again to being a little pushy about it – after all, it’s been a long time, she’s never gonna see this guy again. And besides, she’s setting Laurie up with this hot friend of her new boyfriend’s.
You can probably guess it, but when Sarah calls Laurie over to introduce him to her beau, a handsomely tall drink of water named Jack, Laurie is floored to discover that Jack is bus boy. Her best friend is dating the guy she fell in love with at first sight. How bad can this be, though? Surely she can push through these feelings and nobody will be the wiser – he can’t remember her, can he?
He can. And he does.
What follows is a ten year journey that we take alongside these characters – we see them grow from awkward young adults to full-fledged grown-ups on the cusp of 30 years old. Laurie and Jack deny their feelings for each other and are constantly playing chicken with the truth, whether or not to tell Sarah who is none the wiser and happy as a clam with Jack at her side. A fourth player enters the ring around the halfway mark – Oscar, Laurie’s sexy Robinson Crusoe lover she meets while on a beach trip to Thailand to forget about life for a while. This is the story of growing up, like it or not.
The Bottom Line
Together, the four grow around each other and apart, developing friendships and fissures alike. On its own, this wouldn’t be enough to hook me – after all, I read this sort of stuff all the time. But the true magic of One Day in December is the characters.
We get two POVs – Laurie and Jack – and between the two, you feel as if these people could be your best friends. I myself am on the cusp of 30 too – 4 more months, wtf? – and I earnestly, deeply get it. Every heartache, every kiss, every fight, every make up had me rooting for these delightfully crass people who are not perfect, they do and say stupid stuff like … well, like real people. It endears them to you, even if sometimes you just want to smack them and remind them of where their priorities lie. The reason this was not a five star read for me is simply because the ending is a little too “big red ribbon on the perfect package”-esque for me – I like it better when loose ends get tied up more sloppily, because life isn’t always this perfect.
I can say this with 100% certainty, too – I hate love triangles. I cannot stand them as a concept, and I think they’re weak and almost always a sign of poor writing. This book, however, was the only book I’ve ever read to have me 100% committed to a love triangle. I cared about all three people involved, and didn’t want to see anyone get hurt. Josie Silver has done the impossible for me – she drew me in and kept my rapt attention with a love triangle. That alone is worth its weight in gold.
Overall, if you like to dip your toe into the new adult genre, if you’re a twentysomething feeling adrift in the sea of dating and relating and finding your place as a career woman, or if you’ve ever been dumped (or done the dumping) and felt like you were giving up on love ever again for the rest of your life … give this book a try. I promise you won’t regret it. After all, it’s Christmas – this is the perfect book to read at home under a blanket with a cat settled on top of you like a small, heavy cloud.
“Despite the fairy-tale snowstorm out there, this isn’t Narnia. This is London, real life, where hearts get kicked and bruised and broken, but somehow they still keep beating.”
“I’m not a bitch though; or maybe I’m just a quiet one inside my own head. Isn’t everyone?”