Title: You’re the One That I Want
Author: Giovanna Fletcher
Genre: Chick lit
Publisher: Penguin Books
DOP: May 22, 2014
Maddy is minutes away from getting married to Rob, her childhood’s best friend, and she couldn’t have been happier. When her eyes stray to his best man Ben, her heart aches. If he’d give her one look, one signal, then she could be marrying him, her other best friend.
Compared to her debut novel, Billy and Me, this book was more emotionally developed, focusing on the characters’ growth whereas Billy and Me was more focused on the actual story.
You’re the One That I Want is one of those stories that take you on the life journey of three friends: Maddy, Ben and Rob. Since their first meeting, friendships develop and eventually blossom into love. Ben has been in love with Maddy since he first saw her but is too afraid that telling her will ruin the dynamics of their friendship. Maddy starts noticing Rob and Rob, well Rob is an enigma. He just happens to bounce along. But like any other love triangle story, something must go wrong.
Falling in love with Ben and the story was the easiest thing to do. Before I realised it, I was investing all my spare time to read this page-turner as fast as I could, hoping, begging and crying for some kind of epiphany! When that moment finally came, my world exploded/collapsed. I knew something was bound to happen in order to mess up our main characters’ lives but I didn’t see it coming until it did and when it did, the story truly began. Suddenly, I was taken on a wild flight of emotions racketing from one page to the other. What will happen? What will she do? What will he do? How are they going to fix this? were questions roaming inside my head. Maddy’s indecisiveness left me in the dark until the very end. It was amazing.
While I enjoyed reading this, I couldn’t help but dislike Maddy however. Maddy didn’t love until she was nudged into the right direction, making me question the sincerity of her relationships. She claimed love, betrayal and jealousy while before that moment she never showed any hints of feeling more. It would have been easier to accept her feelings if they had grown towards the explosion and hadn’t come afterwards.
Something else I’ve been wondering about: why write the story in alternating point of views of Ben and Maddy and not include Rob’s? Was it done on purpose? Probably. Was it brilliant? Sure! And yet it annoyed me. It felt incomplete to not being able to read how Rob experienced falling in love. It was a sneaky way of unconsciously portraying Rob as inferior compared to Ben and by doing this, manipulating us to root for Ben (at least I’m 100% team Ben even if I could have whacked him on the head sometimes). Unlike with Rob, we were privileged to be part of Ben’s thoughts and were able to form a connection with him.
In hindsight, it was mean to be pushed into a certain feeling but I say this with the best of intentions because it was brilliant. The feeling afterwards though…well, I suppose you’ll have to read the story and find out yourselves!
Are you team Ben or team Rob? What do you think about Maddy?