I remember when CK Kelly Martin's first book, I Know It's Over, came out, tons of people were absolutely adoring it, so i was really eager to read One Lonely Degree when it was nominated for a Cybil award (I'm a panelist for the YA contemporary books, remember?). Now I am bemoaning the fact that I don't have time to pick I Know It's Over up--I can't wait! CK Kelly Martin is an awesome author!
Ever since the disastrous party in September, Finn feels like she's been drifting away from everyone else, alone in the world as her parents' marriage breaks apart and she tries to get over that horrible night. The only person who knows about what happened is her best friend Audrey, and it is Audrey that helps her get through it all. Then, things change when Jersy, Finn's friend from childhood, moves back into town. Finn likes Jersy, but can't bring herself to admit it. Audrey also likes Jersy, so with Finn's approval, they start dating. Then comes summer...and Audrey is away. Left alone with Jersy as her only friend, Finn finds herself growing closer and closer to him. Finn doesn't want to betray Audrey...but when she's with Jersy, for the first time in months, everything just seems right.
CK Kelly Martin's second novel is fascinating as it follows Finn, who is still reeling from her traumatic experience and is completely dependent on her friend Audrey to get her through every day life. When Audrey leaves for the summer, Finn is forced to learn to stand on her own and find the strength to not only get over the party, but also deal with her parents' break-up, and that transformation is what makes this book so enjoyable. Finn learns that there is a chance at happiness after horrible experiences, and that the same bad things can happen to other people as well, not just her. Martin reveals the details of what happened at the party in September somewhat early on in the book instead of drawing it out for the suspense element, which is interesting and helpful as it lets readers understand why Finn is so timid and lonely. The characters in the novel are also refreshing in that none of them do the right thing every time, and they realistically do the selfish thing sometimes. The end is somewhat optimistic, but also realistic and will leave you wondering and dreaming about Jersy and Finn and Audrey beyond the final page.
Cover Comments: I like the bright colors in this cover. The pool blue really stands out, and the yellow bikini is really fun. I also am loving the font for the title and how it is being used in every one of Martin's books. Great cover!