I started reading One & Only chapter by chapter on Wattpad. The author, whose other work under the name Diana Peterfreund I have read and enjoyed, chose a pen name for her New Adult debut. By and large, it’s a good read.
One & Only is the first in what Viv Daniels is dubbing the Canton series. There’s a book two in the works (Sweet & Wild), but I’m not sure – and couldn’t find anywhere that would confirm – how many books there will be in the Canton series when it’s all said and done. Tess McMann is the bastard child of a prominent business man. Her mother, this man’s mistress, has raised Tess with a set of rules in place: no one can know who she is or, more appropriately, who her father is. Tess has a half-sister who, as far as Tess knows, has never known about Tess or her mother and the secret family they form with their shared father.
Tess is bright and very motivated. She works hard on her studies and earns a place at Canton College. But her father won’t allow her to attend. He’s an alum, a large and significant donor, and, worst of all, her sister will be going there. Tess pushes back, but ultimately enrolls at the state school. But she does insist on attending an illustrious summer camp before college begins, where she meets Dylan Kingsley. There’s an instant attraction between the two, but Tess forces herself to keep their relationship academic. That is until the very last days. The pair can’t keep apart any longer and cement themselves as First Loves – and First Lovers.
The bulk of the story happens after Tess and Dylan’s summer camp experience. Two years have passed, the relationship did not survive, and Tess has finally gotten to Canton, transferring in her junior year. Right off the bat, Tess runs into Dylan, who is now dating her sister. That old flame is still burning, but Tess sees more and more parallels between the secret lives she and her mother have been forced to live and the budding reconnection between herself and Dylan.
It’s a sweet story. Romantic and funny. My only complaint is the amount of inner monologues that Tess conducts. It felt as though, on every other page, she was reminding herself that she’s the bastard child who is living a Secret. That her mother is a man-stealer. That her father would not be happy with or approve of her actions. I’m not saying that these feelings and emotions should have been skipped over, but perhaps we readers could have done with a little less repetition of Tess’s self-doubting mantras. I did really like the character of Dylan. Smart, sweet, witty, funny, and charming; it’s very easy to see why both Tess and her sister fall for him. Perhaps not my favorite book of the emerging New Adult drama, but a great debut for Viv Daniels nonetheless!