So it was a bit of a surprise to find out how much I enjoyed Emily Giffin's The One & Only. The title is somewhat cheesy and maybe a bit too lighthearted to sum up the heart of the book, but the book itself is fantastic. It's a romance that starts out with a funeral (cheery, eh?). Shea's best friend's mother has died of cancer, leaving her BF, Lucy, understandably devastated. They live in Walker, Texas, which is home to the number-one college football team coached by Lucy's father, Clive Carr. Shea has football in her blood and idolizes Coach Carr, to the point where she even works with him in the sports department of the university and is currently dating one of his ex-football players. But the death of her friend's mother shakes up her life and makes her see that the easy way she has always taken in life by blindly following her hero may not be what she really needs.
Not only is Giffin's writing style compelling, but the level of sports detail incorporated seamlessly into the narrative really is impressive. Also, Giffin deals well with some pretty heavy issues, including personal loss and abusive relationships. While there are some lighter parts to the book, I wouldn't necessarily call this a light romance at all. If you're looking for a story that has realistic characters who don't always make the right choices, but still leaves you cheering for them in the end, then this book is for you.