This book really surpassed my expectations. I was expecting a TFIOS-style tragic love story, but I ended up getting an emotionally resonant, hilarious and original novel instead.
Maggie Sanders lost her sight to bacterial meningitis six months ago. Since then she was become sullen, angry and withdrawn from her friends and family. She only gets drawn out of her shell when she meets a young boy, Ben Miltion. Ben is sweet and precocious, but when draws Maggie to him more than anything is that she can see him. He is the only spot of light in her universe of darkness, and Maggie becomes increasingly attached to him and his family, but also increasingly concerned about why she can see Ben, and only Ben.
Maggie is one of my favorite young-adult narrators in recent memory. She breaks the mold of the pretty-but-doesn’t-know-it meek and submissive every-girl that is too often seen in YAs. Maggie is bold and unapologetic, sarcastic and sometimes mean. She is bitter and angry at the world for stealing her sight and along with it her dreams of playing professional soccer. But the reader can also sense her deep vulnerability and her aching sadness to feel connected with the world again.
There were a few things about the book I didn’t like — I find the overly-precocious/wise beyond his years child trope to be a little hackneyed. I also wish that Maggie’s other relationships had more resolutions – especially her friendships with Lauren and Sophie. I wasn’t crazy about the love interest, Mason, and I wish he had been better-developed as a character.
Despite a few flaws, I predict The One Thing will be a sleeper hit among fans of contemporary YA in the vein of John Green and Sarah Dessen. It had just the right amount of snark and emotion to keep me entertained and engaged all the way through. Marcy Lyn Curtis seems to be a very talented writer with an original voice, and I would definitely pick up her next book.
ARC provided by NetGalley.