Tilly Farmer’s life is exactly as she’d always hoped it would be: she’s married to her high school sweetheart, working as a guidance counselor at her old high school, still best friends with her kindergarten best friend, and trying for a baby, which she thinks will make it all complete. But one day, she encounters a psychic who tells Tilly she’s going to give her the gift of “clarity”. Suddenly, she begins to see her life in a whole new way. And what she sees forces her to question everything…
Allison Winn Scotch’s books have been talked about a lot around the blogs, and I’ve been anxious to pick up one of her novels for a while now. Now I’m wondering what the heck I waited for because The One That I Want was everything everyone said it would be! I’m kicking myself for not reading one of her books earlier.
Anyway, allow me to begin by saying that I did not like Tilly. I don’t “get” the small-town thing and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to work at their old high school. If I was going to work in a high school I would never pick my own – that would just be too weird. Besides the fact that Tilly and I are very different in our life choices, I found her to be extremely naive and selfish. She looked at every issue that came up in her life in relation to how she was affected by it, which is an immature and childish way to look at the world. But the beauty of this story is that Tilly has a huge amount of growth by the time the book is over. She develops into a more mature person, more conscious of the people around her and what’s really important in life. And she looks at her life choices and what she thought were her dreams coming true with a more honest eye – she begins to see things for what they really are, as opposed to what she wants them to be. It is this character development that I think is the shining point of the novel.
I also enjoyed the tough of magic sprinkled throughout the story. It doesn’t contain enough magic for the story to be unrealistic, but just enough to add a little something to the novel. I have heard that this a common element in Allison Winn Scotch’s books, so I’m excited to read her other books to see how it plays into those stories too.
The last thing I want to point out is the ending – don’t worry, there are no spoilers here. I just want to say that I think the ending was absolutely perfect. Nothing too extravagant, no perfect happy ending for Tilly, but just enough open-endedness that the reader can guess how things will turn out for her, and can picture a whole new life beginning for her (in a good way). It also made me want to read more about Tilly, which is a pretty good thing considering she began the story as a character I detested!
The One That I Want is a smart, refreshing novel that lovers of chick lit and women’s fiction won’t be able to resist. There is a surprising amount of depth packed into this slim novel, and I was impressed by Scotch’s ability to take a character and really transform her into someone I went from hating to loving in under 300 pages. I definitely recommend this novel and I’ll be reading more from Allison Winn Scotch in the very near future.