Hi guys! I am so glad to be a part of the Your One & Only Blog Tour, in which I’ll be posting for y’all my review of this wonderful debut by Adrianne Finlay. It’s one of the few ARCs I have received directly from the publisher in exchange for a review (thanks to my amazing publicity contact at HMH), and even though it releases in just a couple of weeks, this book has made it onto the top 10 list of books I’ve read in 2017. It’s that good, and in just a few weeks, I’ll be sharing my interview with the author Adrianne Finlay! I hope you enjoy this review, and definitely check out this debut novel by this wonderful debut author!
About the Book
Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of humanity. But if they really are perfect, why did they create Jack?
While Jack longs for acceptance, Althea-310 struggles with the feeling that she’s different from her sisters. Her fascination with Jack doesn’t help. As Althea and Jack’s connection grows stronger, so does the threat to their lives. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?
Disclaimer: I received a free physical ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.
Your One & Only is one of the best novels I have ever read. I don’t even know where to begin with this review because after weeks after I finished Jack and Althea’s story, I still am amazed and blown away by this stunning debut. I can’t even think of an introduction to write because there’s so much I want to write about in this review! This novel is one of the few books that has changed my life and the way I view the world. From page one, I knew that this book was going to blow me away, and there was never a dull moment in this entire novel. I don’t use this term often when writing reviews, even for 5-star novels, but Your One & Only was perfect!
The best books, in my opinion, are the ones that pose a question about human nature throughout the entire story and slowly leads you to discovering the answer. Your One & Only is one of those few that manage to do this successfully! As I read this novel, I could not help but think “What does it mean to be a human being?” Finlay poses this question by contrasting Jack’s humanity through love, music, and reading with the clones’ loss of sympathy, appreciation for the arts (even though the Ingas were supposedly “artists”), and most of all love. Althea-310 (I’ll call her just Althea) at first did not understand poetry, like fictional stories, listen to music, or love one’s neighbor. And that’s why Jack considered her and everyone else “clones” rather than “humans.” What is that truly makes us human? It is being able to love, show compassion, enjoy forms of expression such as music and literature and poetry and art. It is being able to show our true selves and our love for each other. It is being able to care for one another, to truly sympathize and feel another’s angst, pain, sorrow when a bad occurrence happens. Your One & Only helped me realize that love for each person and love for the wonders and beauties and miracles of the world is what truly makes each and every one of us human beings. As we are made in God’s image, we are called to both love God who has blessed us with infinite blessings and our fellow neighbors who were made to love and be loved.
From the first chapter, I became fascinated by the world-building and characters that Finlay delicately crafted throughout the novel. Everything from the nine models of clones to how devolved Vispera’s society became to the history behind the creation of Vispera because of the extinction of humans from the Slow Plague intrigued me, and the deeper I went into Your One & Only, the more I wanted to learn about Vispera and its structure and history. The author swept me away and transported me into the novel’s world, and it was as if I was actually in Jack’s and Althea’s shoes. I could feel their emotions, their desires, and their thoughts; and I became so connected to them that I could not help but cheer at their triumphs, cry at their losses, and worry at their challenges. Although the book ended, and this most likely will stay as a standalone, I really want more! I do not want to stop the story there; if there is a sequel, I will be one of the first ones to jump at it!
Even though it’s a character-driven novel, the plot gripped me with its twists and turns! Incorporating action, suspense, and romance, Finlay creates an unpredictable storyline full of betrayal and heartbreak to love and loss that gets readers on the edge of their seats. I could not–and I mean, could NOT–put this book down, for I kept on telling myself, “Just one more chapter,” so many times. I was placed onto a roller coaster ride of emotions as I was thrust into the heart of the novel. This novel has everything but dull moments. In addition, it felt so reminiscent of The Giver, especially at the end. If you know how much I loved The Giver, then you would know how happy I was to see these familiarities.
This novel is not your typical science fiction romance. It’s not the clichéd “clone/cyborg/alien falls in love with regular human” kind of story–it’s way more than that. Your One & Only examines the meaning and nature of humanity as the story follows a clone and a human who desire to break away from the current societal mold not only because they love each other but also primarily to liberate the clones from their demise, further degradation away from their humanness. As both Althea and Jack explore both themselves and the world around, readers too will be moved to explore themselves and their humanity. Your One & Only will go down as one of the best debuts, and even more so YA novels, of 2018. I cannot wait for what Adrianne Finlay has in store in her writing career.
About the Author
I received my PhD in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University. Originally from Ithaca, New York, I now live in Cedar Falls, Iowa with my husband, the poet J. D. Schraffenberger, and our two young daughters. I’m an associate professor of English at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa and the Program Director of Creative Writing. I teach creative writing, composition, and literature classes. One of the really fun classes I teach is Adolescent Lit, where we read some of my favorite authors: Lois Lowry, S.E. Hinton, Robert Cormier, Laurie Halse Anderson, Walter Dean Myers. I change this list up a lot by adding new releases and various titles just to keep things interesting. Because I don’t have enough to do (ha ha), I also make soap, lotion, and lip balm with my partner Rachel under the name Semisweet Soaps. We sell our products locally, raising money for Type 1 diabetes research.
Editor: Lily Kessinger, HMH
Represented by: Adam Schear, Defiore & Co.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of YOUR ONE AND ONLY, US Only.
1/29/2018- YA Books Central– Interview
1/30/2018- Angelic Book Reviews– Review
1/31/2018- A Dream Within A Dream– Excerpt
2/1/2018- LILbooKlovers– Review
2/2/2018- Savings in Seconds– Review
2/5/2018- Books and Ladders– Guest Post
2/6/2018- Read. Eat. Love.– Review
2/7/2018- BookHounds YA– Interview
2/8/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review
2/9/2018- A Gingerly Review– Review
Are you excited for Your One & Only? Do you like sci-fi romance?
Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!