Rebecca Weimer‘s review (cross-posted from Goodreads)
One Day is a clever novel filled with Britishisms, humor, heartbreak, and the pangs of life and love; basically, everything I love in a book. Except I threw this one across the room with 30 or so pages left to go.
Then came the book-throwing anger. What this anger means is that I cared enough about the characters and the plot to feel this surge of emotion, and I’ve only ever gotten that angry at a book two other times: HP7 and Dance with Dragons (GoT 5). While I know some may argue (and hopefully it was the author’s intent as well) that this event was meant to demonstrate the frailty of happiness and life, the injustice and unfairness, the absurd reality that sometimes things happen that aren’t supposed to, but I thought it was unnecessary. Why play the tragic death card in a story that doesn’t need it? It’s already heartbreaking, a death does nothing to propel the story or offer a new characterization. Dexter has already lost the only other woman he ever loved, and it turned him into a completely unlikable character I stuck with because I knew Emma could change him, but with Emma’s death (and his new girlfriend 2 years later), it just doesn’t sit with me. Not to mention the tragic accident came completely out of nowhere. It basically goes like this:
Beautiful prose, beautiful prose, beautiful prose.
And then she dies.
WTF. (And I’m not a WTF’er, much less a parenthetical fragment posing as a sentence-writer).
I felt the death came across less as a “statement” on life and more as a “I don’t know how to end this” or “I’m too afraid to end this with Em and Dex facing life and the unknown together.” It contradicts the novel, whose whole point was to depict two characters as they live normal lives and face everyday struggles and challenges of growing up. So what happens when they finally get together? The reader patiently waits 300 pages for Dex to realize he is only decent when he is with Emma, and for Emma to have the courage and the confidence in herself to convince him of this. And then she dies.
That being said, I can’t feel so passionately angry about a book (so much so as to actually write a review), and not give it a decent star rating. Next time, though, I’ll skip the end.