Summer has officially arrived, and with it comes warm weather, beach vacations, and sunny days spent poolside. In the literary realm, summer means the release of lighthearted novels targeted toward female readers.
One of the most prominent authors in this genre is Emily Giffin. The Atlanta-based author has written numerous “chick lits,” with her newest book, “The One and Only,” just released last month.
“The One and Only” depicts its main character, Shea, as a woman still stuck in her college past. She works for her alma mater’s athletic department, with her best friend’s father as the head coach of the football team. The novel is based in a Texas town, quite similar to Dillon, the fictional town in the NBC series “Friday Night Lights.”
The similarities between “The One and Only” and “Friday Night Lights” do not stop there. The novel’s Coach Carr, who heads up the college football team, has the wholesome-but-authoritative qualities that are extremely reminiscent of Coach Taylor from the famed NBC show. Thankfully for “The One and Only,” the elements both presented by the book and the show can be given more depth and emotion when in print.
Giffin attempts to tie football into her usually feminine style of writing, and does a fairly successful job of doing so. She uses her main female character, Shea, as a vessel of knowledge about the sport. Shea not only is obsessed with her fictional college’s team, but with actual football teams. Throughout the novel, Shea is found rattling off sports statistics at almost an incessant rate. Readers who typically read Giffin’s works may find this cloying to the story’s plot.
Apart from sports, the novel addresses multiple themes. Some of these themes are quite relatable, such as living to one’s full potential, and while the others, like taboo relationships, can be uncomfortable at times. Through parts of the book, readers may find themselves questioning the morality of the characters, which may be unsettling when looking for a casual beach read.
Overall, when finding a book to read during summer vacation, “The One and Only” is a unique option. The emphasis on sports is quite different than most novels in its genre, along with Giffin’s quality writing skills. The characters are flawed yet humorous, the setting is nostalgic, and the novel itself will leave you wanting to discover more of Giffin’s works.