Sunday, June 3, 2018

The One

Title:  The One
Author:  John Marrs
Publication Information:  Haonver Square. 2018. 368 pages.
ISBN:  1335005102 / 978-1335005106

Book Source:   I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "Mandy stared at the photograph on her computer screen and held her breath."

Favorite Quote:  "Sometimes, the grass is not greener on the other side, and we should stay in the field where we belong. And sometimes we just need to take a gamble and hope for the best."

What if you could tell without the shadow of a doubt the person you are meant to spend your life with? Would you want to know? Would you act upon it? What if that knowledge meant that you are not meant to be with the person you are with now? What if a perfect union were possible? What if that perfect union turns out not to be perfect?

The Urban Dictionary defines "the one" as "absolutely, positively the only person on earth you are meant to be with, your soul mate, your best friend." In the not so futuristic world of this book, a test has been designed that matches DNA. If you choose to register with the website and submit your DNA, it is tested. The company then searches its database to see if your perfect match is already listed. If a match is found, both parties are notified that a match is found. They can choose or not choose to act upon it. If a match is not found, then your data is kept on file to be run against all new inquiries. Theoretically, if everyone is listed, then everyone's match is listed as well.

The matching takes into account only DNA. It does not consider race, religion, gender, nationality, appearance, geographic location, or the millions of other things that a person may consciously or unconsciously consider in a relationship decision.

The company and its founder are equally loved and hated depending on the changes this test has brought about in someone's life. It has been responsible for as many marriages as divorces. The certainty of knowing one's match leads to all kinds of other uncertainties about life.

The story follows different individuals along the various paths this decision can take. Existing relationships. New relationships. Dreamt of relationships. Shattered dreams. Ellie is the developer of this test and a customer. Mandy is matched, but her match has died. Jade leaves family and home for her match across the world. Nick is in a committed relationship, but his match is completely unexpected. Amy is a police officer, but her match is none other than a hunted serial killer!

Two things make this such a fun book to read. The first is that there are surprises. Some of the plot twists I can see coming, but some catch me off guard. In short chapters, the book quickly rotates through the characters. At first, it takes a bit to figure out the names and connections, but then the story takes over. The rapid changes in this book work, creating a pace that keeps me turning the pages. The pace matches the sense of wanting to know what happens.

The second is that the book does not answer the question. It takes the reader along for the ride. What would you do in any of these situations? Would you even want to know? Although the premise and some of the twists and turns push the boundaries of believability, each of the individual characters faces relationship issues that are very real and can be imagined in a reader's life. Each of the characters do make choices based on this test. I may agree or disagree, but mostly, I am left contemplating what would I do? Would you take the test?

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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