BOOK CLUB: One Small Thing

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Author: Erin Watt
ISBN:9781489256553
RRP: $19.99
Publication Date: 9th July 2018
Publisher: HQ Young Adult – US
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

One Small Thing is a hard one to articulate my feelings about. I liked it, I found it to be quite a quick read thanks to an unsettled baby who kept me up most of the night. It was quite predictable at the same time as stretching plausibility but also trying to send good messages. As I said, difficult to articulate.

Elizabeth Jones is a seventeen year old getting ready to embark on her senior year, she’s excited for new adventures and growing up. She has decided that she’s grown out of Lizzie, which is what everyone has called her forever, and now goes by Beth. She gets quite frustrated about it and though it sometimes made me giggle I could completely understand it. I remember being a teen with a nickname I no longer liked, that I felt too grown up for; and I hate to break it to you Beth but 30 years later and my family still call me that. This seems like such a small thing but it was used effectively throughout the story as a marker of how she was being treated, how well she was being listened to.

Beth has always been a good girl and followed the rules but since her sister passed away three years ago the rules have become an ever-tightening noose smothering her. Her parents are grieving the loss of their eldest daughter and they only want to keep Beth safe but the way they go about it is extremely counter-productive. I could understand their grief, their holding on, their over-protectiveness but still they frustrated me.  Everyone grieves in their own way and it’s not right to tell anyone the way they grieve is wrong…. but I really felt they were wrong sometimes.

Beth is feeling the walls of her home, family and life are closing in on her and the summer is nearly over so she wants one last night of freedom before the start of senior year. I would have thought that was a pretty common feeling regardless of anything else, it’s made worse by coming home from her part-time job to discover that all her college applications were retrieved from the mailbox and never sent – because her parents applied to the college of their choice on her behalf. An understandably ropable Beth decides she’s going out and she’s going to make the most of it; she ends up heading to a party in the next town over, on her own because her best friend wasn’t comfortable joining her.

At the party Beth spots a guy she’s attracted to and they spend a lot of time talking. He’s very cool, noticeably older and Beth knows she’s a little naïve but doesn’t want to seem as innocent as she is so claims to know who he is because everyone else seems to. The two spend the evening together and really seem to connect, trading only nicknames.

If Beth thought the walls were closing in she didn’t know what she was in for, once her parents find out she’s been sneaking out the rules get tougher and the restrictions stricter.

The loss of a family member is a tragedy, and one you never get over, and we know that everyone deals differently but it can be very difficult to move forward when everyone in a house has completely different coping mechanisms. Beth feels like there is something wrong with her because she didn’t grieve enough, she didn’t cry enough but she has gained an unfortunate habit of crying at the drop of a hat – when she really doesn’t want to be crying. I would say that’s probably all the grief she has locked up tight and refuses to let herself feel but that’s just my opinion.

Beth met Chase at a party and the two felt a connection, but she wasn’t sure she would see him again and losing her phone privileges the next day means she can’t even contact him.

The loss of phone privileges also means she misses the many texts that are sent to her by the kids at school before she goes back; which means she gets no prior warning of the drama that’s going to play out in her senior year.

I actually really liked a lot of things about this book. In a real change from everything I have read in the young adult genre recently this is a story told from a single first person perspective. This is Beth’s story start to finish and I found that refreshing, though at times I would have liked to get into Chase’s head.

Many young adult romances are a case of good girl meets bad boy and the two fall in love then have to fight through all the odds to find their happiness and this is similar but taken to the extreme. I get that the two of them meet in the dark at a party and only exchange nicknames so they don’t put the pieces together but I have trouble believing that it’s even remotely possibly that things would play out the way they did once they put themselves in the big picture. Sorry I’m being a little cryptic, it’s hard not to be spoilery.

Watt has explored some hefty subject matter in grief, moving forward, survivor guilt, forgiveness, justice, rehabilitation and domestic violence in teen relationships.

There were elements that were sensitively explored and thought provoking but there was a lot that was just wrong. Authority figures with a duty of care to look out for their students sat back and sat firmly in judgement so didn’t move to stop bullying and harassment, always jumping to conclusions that effectively had them participating in the same bullying and harassment of a new student to the school.

On the other hand there were elements that made me think about the way we look at life. There are always going to be things we can’t control but if we can find that one good thing, however small, in every day we can get through anything. We can come through the tough times because we can’t control other people but we can control our responses. There were some great tips on subtle teen/parent negotiations and ways to change the dynamic which I think are probably important for us all to take on board.

The way we eventually came to the family beginning to move on was well played out, it was kind of karmic I think. I enjoyed the way the charmer got his come-uppance and that both smoothed and sorted some of the issues. Punishment and forgiveness were two powerful themes that I do think were explored well.

Overall I enjoyed One Small Thing, I think this is probably one more suited to the young adult demographic, and perhaps they wouldn’t see quite as big a plausibility leap. I would recommend it to those at the top end of the teen years and it may be of some assistance to teens who are grieving.

I would read Erin Watt again.

Erin Watt can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads and her Website.

One Small Thing is published by HQ Young Adult and available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to HQ Young Adult 15 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading One Small Thing so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

12 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: One Small Thing

  1. Absolutely loved reading this book.
    It was a little predictable and I could tell where the story line was heading but I still enjoyed reading it and managed to finish it in 3 days.

    Beth is a 17 year old girl who lost her sister 3 years prior. Her parents are being too protective of her after what happened to her sister Rachel. She wants to enjoy her summer holidays before school starts and finds herself at a party where she knows no one. She spots him across the room and is instantly attracted to him. He is a mystery, she doesn’t know his name or what he does but she does know that she wants to be with him.
    First day back at school and she finds out that the guy she fell for at the party (Chase) is not the innocent boy she thought he could be. Following learning his true identity the book takes you on a journey of love and heart break and finding out how Beth truly feels about Chase.

  2. Thank you so much for letting me read this book!

    I loved it, but as with all young romances I’ve come across the story line was a little predictable and you could see how it was going to end up but that being said I really got into it and finished it in two days. My hubby had to wrestle it from me one night so I’d actually come to bed!

    It follows Beth (Lizzie) who lost her older sister 3 years prior who falls for a boy she met a party, Problem is she knows nothing about him and he has quite the secret but once she knows his name its no secret. Put that with crazily over protective parents and rebellious teenagers you’ve got quite the story

    I did like that it discussed how there are many different ways in which people deal with grief. I think that it’s a great book that you could give to a teen/young adult grieving and they wouldn’t feel like you were handing them a self help book.

  3. Thanks for the opportunity to read the book “One Small Thing”.

    It was a quick book to read and fairly well written. Yes, it was predictable but at the same time there were lovely messages throughout the story about growing up, making decisions and how your actions affect those around you.

    It covers topics that are relevant to today’s teenagers including bullying, the urge for freedom and control over your own life and considering other’s thoughts and feelings.

    Overall it was a lovely book and one I would recommend to a younger reader.

  4. I found the book One Small Thing an enjoyable read.

    It has a great story line. Beth (Lizzie) unfortunately has lost her sister the book shows how she deals with grief and how sometimes grief can bring the worst out in people or blind them to their behavior. With her parents becoming over protective and her being more rebellious she meets a guy that she is smitten by. Not knowing his back ground they form a friendship and she finds it hard to let that friendship go even after she finds out he has a big secret and even harder is how will she tell her parents.

    Even at rock bottom she learns One Small Thing a day can keep you going!

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace Book club and Harlequin books for this opportunity to read this book.

  5. Young Adult novels are my entire life. This amazing book by Erin Watt is no different. I loved it. I can’t thank the author, the publisher and beauty and lace enough for allowing this book to come into my life.

    I read this book at work, and finished my shift before I could finish the book, so I sat in the car and finished before I’d drive home. I didn’t care how long it took, I had to know the ending.

    This book made me feel a range of emotions, and in a sense it reminded me of why I love reading. I can relate to Lizzie on so many levels, losing a loved one, acting out, all of it,

    I learnt a massive lesson from this book, and it unfolded for me when it did for Lizzie.

    I love the dynamic of her relationship with Chase, and seeing how much regret and how much he wants to be redeemed for his actions.

    I almost felt like I was there with them on their journey.

  6. One Small Thing.
    I loved reading this book an I eye opener to what teenagers are like when things go wrong in their families lives.
    Lizzie is so confused with her life at the moment and looking for answers what really happened to her sister. Please read the book to find out you will love the ending.

  7. One small thing was a great read. Although I’m way older than 17, it took me back to when I was, it was very relatable and I’m sure we all liked a boy that we shouldn’t have. Beth(Lizzie) was this girl and spent a chance encounter with a boy who she knew as Chase and they really had a connection.
    Trouble was .he was someone that she really shouldn’t have got involved with. Beth’s sister was unfortunately not around anymore and her parents were trying to shield her from everything bad and protect her as much as they could as they didn’t want to lose another daughter. But they were too protective and to a 17 year old who wanted and needed to find herself, it was very hard for her..
    Chase seemed to be the one thing that was perfect for her…..she then found out more about him and although she should stop the feelings and stop seeing him…she couldn’t. Much to her family and friends disgust she stuck up for him and continued to see him.
    She knew it was wrong, but it felt so right.
    So by remembering Chase’s words…”one small thing”…she got through her final year of high school and went to college…..
    The story had everything, love, grief and hope. I really enjoyed it and would read more by Erin definitely!

  8. Thank you for giving me the oppirtunity to read One Small Thing by Erin Watt.

    I really enjoyed reading this book. It was an easy read and yes bits of it were predictable it also showed that we all express our grief in different ways
    Folowing the path that Lizzies parents took after loosing their eldest daughter being so over protective and making life tricky for Lizzie.
    I loved how Erin showed that we can express our grief differently and accept what has happened. This would help young adults going through a similar ordeal.
    Once again thank you I really got involved in this book and had trouble putting it down. Loved the easy read. Would definitely read anither Erin Watt book.

  9. One small thing was a very enjoyable read about 17 year old Beth and the challenges she faces with her overprotective parents, who are this way due to a tragic accident that takes the life of their other daughter.
    Beth lies to her parents and finds herself at a party. There she meets a boy called Chase and her life becomes even more challenging and difficult for her.

  10. I love reading YA novels. This was my first by Erin Watt and I absolutely loved it.

    A very enjoyable read and hard to put down. I found the book slightly predictable at times but I didn’t mind at all.

    Beth and Chase form a friendship before knowing who each other really other and find it difficult to let go once the truth is out. The book navigates well through different emotions especially how everyone handles grief differently.

    I would definitely recommend this book to other who enjoy Ya novels. Thank you to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  11. I am a fan of Erin Watt (Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick), I have read all the books that the two authors have written under this pen name so far.

    This story has such an interesting theme, falling for the boy who killed your sister is definitely not something that most people can relate to. The death of Rachel was an accident and had no intent behind it but still I am just not sure I personally would be able to get over that.

    That being said I really liked Beth and Chase together. Even when they knew they shouldn’t be together they were just so drawn to each other. They helped each other heal some much about the past.

    Beth parents and Jeff were such unlikable and unpredictable characters that I really enjoyed their presence in the book. They made so much drama in the book.

    Overall I gave this book 4 stars and I will definitely be reading Erin Watts books in the future! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read this book.

  12. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read this book,

    Being a young adult novel Ill be giving it to my 16 year old daughter to read as well.

    I like the way it explores how different people handle grief in different ways.

    A great read for young adults

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