Monday, March 5, 2012

Author Interview and Book Review: The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols

Title: The One That I Want

Author: Jennifer Echols

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publication Date: February 2012

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.

Gemma is shocked to find a star football player flirting with her. Sure, he's on the rival team, but Max has a spark to him Gemma can't ignore. Then, Gemma's best friend Addison tells Gemma Max has asked her out. Gemma can't believe it, wasn't Max flirting with her?
Wires are crossed and jealousies are revealed as Gemma and Max confront their feelings, and their relationships.

It is a love story, a comedy of errors. But the main relationship that took center stage for me was Addison and Gemma's friendship. They are definite friend-emies. Through most of the story, I was enraged at Addison's treatment of Gemma. However, I was even more upset by how Gemma allowed herself to be bullied. We've all been there- in a relationship that wasn't healthy for us, but had become habit. The back handed compliments, the fake sugared smile that said "Only kidding!", though not really.

Addison is obviously a mean girl. I would have liked to see more from her side of things, instead of just general catty and bitchiness. She seems like she has more layers that are waiting to be explored.
Finally, Max. Max, a Japanese kicker, is vulnerable, sensitive and a fish out of water. A star football player can be picked on and bullied too. I enjoyed his conversations with Gemma, the tension, the opening up. And thank you Ms. Echols for including a multi-racial relationship. The depth and identities of Gemma and Max become more layered given their backgrounds.

Max has his own problems too, namely with his friend Carter, who starts to date Gemma. I loved Max's observations of people and his way of saying things that got him into trouble. A perfect compliment to the girl with purple hair!

The story is about love, love for Max someone she can't have. Love for her best friend, and the complications in that friendship. Most of all, love for Gemma herself. It's her book and her journey. From her relationship with food, to her mother to building confidence to go after what she really wants in life.

Author Interview with Jennifer Echols! Thanks for coming by!

What inspired you to become a writer?
My grandmother was a writer, so it never occurred to me that this was something I couldn’t do. Her work was never published, but I always thought that was because she gave up too soon.

What was the last book you read?
CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH, the first book in a new adult romance series by my critique partner, Victoria Dahl. It’s coming out in the fall.

What sparked the idea for The One That I Want?
For a long time, I’ve been kicking around the idea of a girl stuck on series of double dates and liking the wrong guy.

Gemma goes through a huge transformation before the book opens, having lost 50 pounds. How did you picture Gemma before she lost her weight?
She’s a little heavy for her frame, is obviously self-conscious about it, and is compensating by drawing attention to the outlandish stuff she’s wearing. I see this girl out in the world a lot.

Addison is a friend-emy to Gemma in an unhealthy relationship continuing out of habit. How did you create Addison’s character? She reminds me of some girls I used to know!
I have a lot of experience going to school with this mean girl. I have always said I will never write a mean girl book because that episode of my life was so miserable that I do not want to re-live it. This book is probably as close as I will get.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing this book?
I was born in Atlanta and I lived there a few years ago, but I’ve never lived in the area where the book takes place. I drove over there, rode the MARTA around, and walked everywhere the characters walk so I could get it right.

How do you like your potato?
I will take my potato pretty much any way except fried with some sort of spicy batter, which unfortunately has been a trend for the past decade. My favorite is probably the classic Golden Crinkle with lots of ketchup.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Until last April, I was a copyeditor. I Ioved that job with all my heart.

Do you have a favorite literary character?
Mr. Knightley in Emma by Jane Austen.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I run a lot. I just ran my first marathon on February 12!

What is one thing you would tell aspiring writers?
Write the book you want to read!

Do you buy a book based on its cover?
No way. I have been around the block too many times. I know that authors--at least ones published by the big New York publishers--have almost nothing to do with the cover, and the cover might have almost nothing to do with the book. I buy books because I enjoyed another book by the same author, or a friend recommended it, or everybody is talking about it on Twitter.

Having said that, I understand that a lot of people DO buy a book based on the cover. I do everything I can to make sure that the covers of my own books will be appealing to the people who probably want to read them, and that the covers reflect what’s going on in the story, because I think that matters to my readers. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes I’m not, but in general I think I’ve been very lucky when it comes to my covers.

What is your next book called and when is it coming out?
My hardcover debut, SUCH A RUSH, will be published on July 10. I’m very excited!

 You can find Jennifer here or follow her via twitter! @JenniferEchols

1 comment:

  1. great review and lovely interview. i haven't read one of jennifer's books yet but she is high on my list to read. i don't like my potatoes with spicy batter either. ew.