The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Published on September 8, 2015
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Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won't invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie's rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.
Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn't interested in rehabilitation, not when she's still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.
Then Maggie's whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she's ever met. Ben's life isn't easy, but he doesn't see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn't have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she's currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the magnetic lead singer of Maggie's new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben's brother.
But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future...before she loses everything she has grown to love.
So I haven’t read a ton of YA contemporary books lately (especially since I discovered New Adult last year) but this stood out to me because of the protagonist, Maggie, being blind. I can’t say I have read anything like that in the past, and my Papa was blind, so I was interested. Still, when I picked it up to start reading, I had somehow convinced myself that this book would turn out to be be an average contemporary novel, with a girl angry about losing her sight that will find love and so on. What I had the pleasure of finding in these pages was completely different and so much more complex than I could have expected. I read this book in two sittings, only because I had to take my son and myself to school the next morning and I needed to sleep. Had I not required sleep, it would have been one sitting. I was just sucked in somehow that I can’t exactly explain and I found myself flying through this book.
I figured out how to describe my experience with The One Thing. Have you guys seen Click? The Adam Sandler movie that you assume will be his usual romantic comedy but then ends up being super different and leaves you crying and heartbroken but then still ends happy? Yeah. It’s like that movie.
So in the first half of the book, I’m like:
Maggie is not quite the angsty teen I expected her to be. In some ways, yes. But her personality was likable, and that helps. Now Ben, he is a whole different story. He was cracking me up! I swear I smiled or laughed almost every time he spoke. Maggie is funny too, but Ben is definitely something special, especially for a 10 year old. A book that has funny characters and make me genuinely smile or laugh, no matter how cheesy, wins big points. Ben is great for Maggie, and you can start to see the changes in her after being around Ben. Then of course there is Mason, Ben’s brother. Tall, dark, handsome, and brooding -not to mention a musician- he is obviously going to get Maggie’s attention. But he doesn’t trust her, and it drives her crazy.
So then I get into the second half of the book, closer to the end and I’m like:
Yeah. I could see things headed towards a bad turn but I was not prepared, obviously. I didn’t realize how attached I had apparently become to the characters and situation. So I cried, Then I cried a little more. There was one sentence that broke me to absolute pieces, but I will not share it with you because it is spoilerish and I think you all should just read it yourself and find out. But that one just hit the hardest, so I let it all out. This went on for a few pages.
But then, in the end, I was like:
I may have still cried for a minute out of happiness. We see the changes in Maggie, we are with her as she learns to accept that she is blind, and she helps her parents figure out how to handle it better as well. Even though she lost more than just her sight, she has other hidden talents and gained so many other things. One of my favorite things about this books is that it is not the average contemporary that I expected. While there is a love story, it doesn’t take over the story, it is not the focus, and takes a long time to happen. There is just so much more happening here than a love story.
Maybe I picked the wrong time of month to read this book, ya know what I mean? I might be extra emotional right now. Or maybe this was just that awesome. I don’t know, but I definitely think you all should take a chance to find out.
After all, circumstances don’t change us, they reveal us.
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