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Product Description

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY POPSUGAR • Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

Emily Giffin, the beloved author of such novels as Something Borrowed and Where We Belong, returns with an extraordinary story of love and loyalty—and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both.

 
Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.
 
But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.
 
Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.

Praise for The One & Only
 
“A page turner.” —Southern Living
 
The One & Only is one to read.” —Associated Press
 
“Giffin scores again by bringing her discerning understanding of matters of the heart.” —Family Circle
 
“A poignant story about growing up and growing into your own skin.” —BookPage
 
“Touching.” —New York Daily News
 
“Deep, beautifully written . . . [Emily Giffin’s] latest focuses on a forbidden love of sorts, but in a new setting: a fictional small college town in Texas.” —Marie Claire
 
“Each and every page of this story is entertaining. . . . Giffin is a talented writer who always comes up with a plot that is just a bit different than anything others are writing about. . . . Find a shady spot; get a cool drink, and just luxuriate in the joy of a book well written.” The Huffington Post
 
“Brace yourself for a tearjerker: A tale of friendship and loyalty in a small, football-crazed Texas town shows how quickly things can change when tragedy challenges all that the characters hold dear . . . [A] page-turner.” InStyle
 
“[Giffin’s] protagonists . . . live full, interesting lives outside the purely personal realm—no more so than Shea Rigsby, the funny, flawed, but sympathetic central character in the The One & Only.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
 
“In bestseller Giffin’s much-anticipated latest, a young woman’s life is upended when tragedy strikes the football-obsessed Texas town she’s always called home.” People
 
“To fill your Friday Night Lights void: A tale of die-hard love in a diehard Texas football town from the bestselling author of Something Borrowed.”—Cosmopolitan

Review

Praise for The One & Only
 
“A page turner.” —Southern Living
 
The One & Only is one to read.” —Associated Press
 
“Giffin scores again by bringing her discerning understanding of matters of the heart.” —Family Circle
 
“A poignant story about growing up and growing into your own skin.” —BookPage
 
“Touching.” —New York Daily News
 
“Deep, beautifully written . . . [Emily Giffin’s] latest focuses on a forbidden love of sorts, but in a new setting: a fictional small college town in Texas.” —Marie Claire
 
“Each and every page of this story is entertaining. . . . Giffin is a talented writer who always comes up with a plot that is just a bit different than anything others are writing about. . . . Find a shady spot; get a cool drink, and just luxuriate in the joy of a book well written.” The Huffington Post
 
“Brace yourself for a tearjerker: A tale of friendship and loyalty in a small, football-crazed Texas town shows how quickly things can change when tragedy challenges all that the characters hold dear . . . [A] page-turner.” InStyle
 
“[Giffin’s] protagonists . . . live full, interesting lives outside the purely personal realm—no more so than Shea Rigsby, the funny, flawed, but sympathetic central character in the The One & Only.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
 
“In bestseller Giffin’s much-anticipated latest, a young woman’s life is upended when tragedy strikes the football-obsessed Texas town she’s always called home.” People
 
“To fill your Friday Night Lights void: A tale of die-hard love in a diehard Texas football town from the bestselling author of Something Borrowed.”—Cosmopolitan

Praise for Emily Giffin
 
“Emily Giffin ranks as a grand master. . . . She has traversed the slippery slopes of true love, lost love, marriage, motherhood, betrayal, forgiveness and redemption that have led her to be called ‘a modern-day Jane Austen.’ ” —Chicago Sun-Times
 
“Giffin’s writing is true, smart, and heartfelt.” Entertainment Weekly
 
“[Giffin] excels at creating complex characters and quick-to-read stories that ask us to explore what we really want from our lives.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
 
“A dependably down-to-earth, girlfriendly storyteller.” —The New York Times
 
“Giffin’s talent lies in taking relatable situations and injecting enough wit and suspense to make them feel fresh.” —People
 
“When it comes to writing stories that resonate with real women, bestselling author Emily Giffin has hit her stride.” —San Francisco Chronicle

About the Author

Emily Giffin is the author of eight internationally bestselling novels: Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One You’re With, Heart of the Matter, Where We Belong, The One & Only, and First Comes Love. A graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

9780345546883|excerpt

Giffin / THE ONE AND ONLY

One

I should have been thinking about God. Or the meaning of life. Or simply grieving the fact that my best friend was now motherless and my own mother without her best friend. Instead, I found myself gazing into the sleek mahogany coffin lined with generous folds of ivory silk, silently critiquing Mrs. Carr’s lipstick, a magenta with blue undertones that subtly clashed with her coral dress, the same one she had worn to Lucy’s wedding nearly five years ago.

More problematic than the shade of lipstick, though, was the application. Someone, clearly low on the beauty-­industry totem pole, had colored just outside the lines as if to create fuller lips. It was an optical illusion that never fooled anyone and seemed wholly unnecessary given the circumstances. After all, there would be no photos taken today. No professional albums filled with various combinations of family and friends, posing with Mrs. Carr, horizontal but front and center. In fact, the entire custom of fancying up a corpse for an open-­casket funeral seemed suddenly ridiculous. Cremation was definitely the way to go. It was the way I wanted to go, rather than risk the possibility of going out on a bad-­hair day. Without a husband or sibling, I made a mental note to convey my final wishes to Lucy after some time had passed. She was really the only person it made sense to tell. Besides, Lucy got shit done. She was like a decisive committee with no dissenting members. At least none who dared speak up.

“Do you need anything?” I whispered to her now, breaking into the endless line of friends, family, and virtual strangers offering condolences. I had never seen so many people at a funeral, and, combined with everyone who had come to the wake the night before, it seemed that most of our small town had made an appearance.

“A Kleenex,” she whispered. In contrast to the past three days, she was dry-­eyed, but looked to be on the verge of a fresh breakdown, her blue eyes glassy and round. I handed her a tissue from my purse, once again conjuring her wedding, when I had vigilantly shadowed her with mints and a compact of powder.

“Anything else? Water?” I asked, thinking that it felt good to be needed for once, and it was a shame that it took a major rite of passage to turn the tables on our usual dynamic.

Lucy shook her head as I returned to the second pew, where she had instructed me to sit, along with my parents. She had all the details covered—­from the seating to the hymn selection to the white orchids on the altar—­which was why it was so surprising that she hadn’t noticed her mother’s lipstick last night at the wake, when there was still an opportunity to fix it. At least I hoped she hadn’t noticed it, because as a corollary to her efficiency, Lucy was cursed with the crippling capacity to dwell on even the most trivial matters for weeks, sometimes years. Like the grudge she was sure to hold against Angel, her mother’s hairdresser, who dared to be away this week, on a Caribbean cruise no less. If not to return to do her mother’s hair, Lucy had ranted, then at least to pay her respects to her best client. Secretly, I thought Angel should have been afforded some slack; surely her vacation had been planned for months, and logistically it must be pretty tough to get off a ship on such short notice. But it wasn’t Lucy’s style to cut anyone slack, especially when it came to a slight to her family, whether perceived or real. As her oldest and closest friend, I was also a beneficiary of her extreme loyalty and had long since memorized her bright-­line rules. There was no gray area and no second chances, even when I could muster up my own forgiveness or indifference. That didn’t matter to Lucy, who stood by her creed: You’re dead to me.

There it was again. Dead. I shivered at the finality of it all, cursing the cancer that took Mrs. Carr’s life in ten months flat, not a single symptom until it was too late. Recognizing that praying wasn’t at all like riding a bicycle, I bowed my head and formed silent, clumsy words, doing my best not to question God’s existence while I asked Him for favors. Please help Lucy find a way to be happy without her mother. It felt like an impossible request, and the fact that she had her own daughter, just-­turned-­four-­year-­old Caroline, who was too young to attend the funeral or one day remember her Gigi, seemed to heighten all the emotions of loss. A new generation was a constant reminder of everything Mrs. Carr was going to miss. Birthdays, benchmarks, all of life’s momentous firsts stretched ahead without her.

I turned my gaze and prayers to Lawton, Lucy’s brother, a carefree bachelor but still a mama’s boy to the core. He was standing beside his sister, mopping his face with a handkerchief, likely one Mrs. Carr had pressed for him in anticipation of this day. She had made a flurry of arrangements and plans over the past few months, including a morphine-­induced request for Lawton and me to marry. Kill two birds with one stone, she had said, not exactly a flattering or hopeful description. That wasn’t going to happen—­Lawton wasn’t my type and I was even less his—­but I had smiled and told her I’d work on it, while Lucy made a joke about every couple needing at least one grown-­up. I looked up at the sun streaming through the stained glass behind the altar, wondering if Mrs. Carr was somewhere up there watching us. And if so, could she read my mind? Just in case, I said a final goodbye to her, my throat tight and dry. Then I closed my eyes and mouthed Amen, aware of the glaring omission in my prayer: Coach Carr.

When I looked up again, he was directly in my line of vision, walking from the opposite end of the casket toward the pew in front of me, his hands clasped behind his back, the way he paced the sidelines of a game. I heard him exhale as he took his seat, close enough for me to touch his shoulder if I only extended my hand and leaned forward a few inches. But I couldn’t so much as look at him, hadn’t been able to in weeks, even when I dropped by the house with store-­bought casseroles and six-­packs of Shiner Bock. I knew he was devastated, and the mere notion that I might glimpse him in a vulnerable moment was unbearable, like looking at those award-­winning photos of soldiers or firemen, holding babies, weeping after a catastrophe. I firmly believed that it was always harder to be the one left behind, especially if you thought you were on your way to happily ever after.

Coach and Connie Carr’s story fittingly began at Walker University, the school with the same name as our small town in North Texas, where he was the star quarterback and she the prettiest cheerleader. Except for the one season he played for the Colts, just after Lucy and I were born, the Carrs never left Walker, as he worked his way up the coaching ladder from quarterbacks’ coach to offensive coordinator to the youngest—­and now the winningest—­head coach in Bronco history.

Coach Carr was something of a deity in our town, throughout the state of Texas, and in the world of college football, which happened to be the only world I truly cared about, and Connie had been royalty in her own right. She was more than the elegant coach’s wife, though. She worked tirelessly behind the scenes, as the ultimate fund-­raiser, administrator, social chair, therapist, surrogate mother. She sat with injured players in the hospital, wined and dined boosters, cajoled crotchety faculty, and soothed feelings on all sides. She made it look so easy, with her surplus of charm and kindness, but I knew how demanding and lonely her job could be. When Coach wasn’t physically gone—­on road games or out recruiting—­he was often mentally absent, obsessed with his team. Still, Mrs. Carr had never wavered in her support of her husband, and I honestly didn’t know what he would do without her.

I took a deep breath, catching a whiff of Coach Carr’s familiar Pinaud Clubman aftershave, a few airborne molecules triggering rapid-­fire memories. Lucy and me sitting on his office floor, playing board games while he drew up depth charts and play diagrams. The three of us riding in the front seat of his truck, my hand out the window, as we listened to country music and sports radio. Sneaking into the locker room with Lucy, not to glimpse the shirtless boys (although we did that, too) but to hear Coach’s passionate postgame speeches, thrillingly peppered with cusswords. Much like the one he gave me in his living room when I was seventeen, right after the cops decided not to arrest me for drinking and driving—­and instead dropped me off at the Carrs’. Coach, you got this one? I could still remember the look he gave me—­worse than spending the night in jail.

I allowed myself a fleeting glimpse of his profile now, afraid of what I would find, but comforted that he appeared as strong and rugged as ever. Not at all like a widower. He was a fit fifty-­five, but looked a decade younger thanks to a full head of hair, olive skin, and a strong bone structure. It wasn’t fair, I had thought for years, whenever I saw Lucy’s parents together. Mrs. Carr was beautiful, fighting age almost as viciously as she fought death, but her husband just kept getting better-­looking, the way it was for a lot of men. And now. Now it really wasn’t fair. It was a proper funeral musing—­the inequities of life and death—­and I felt relieved to be maintaining an appropriate train of thought, if not actual prayer.

But in the next second, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction, as I thought of football. Lucy said it was all I ever thought about, which was pretty close to true, at least before Mrs. Carr got sick. Even afterward, I found myself escaping to the game I loved, and I knew Coach did the same. It upset Lucy because she didn’t understand it. She would ask me, through tears, how he could care so much about signing a recruit or winning a game. Didn’t he see how little it mattered? I tried to explain that his job was a distraction, the one thing he could still control. Football was our touchstone. A constant. Something to hold on to as a bright light burned out in Walker, Texas, our little version of Camelot.

A few seconds later, Lucy and Lawton sat down, flanking their father, and the sight of three of them, instead of four, was more than I could take. My throat tightened as the organ began to play. Loud, mournful notes filled the church. I could hear my mother softly weeping between chords, and could see Lawton and Lucy wiping their eyes. I glanced around so I wouldn’t cry, anything to distract me in that final lull before the service began.

I spotted my boyfriend, Miller, who had played for Coach years ago, during my faded era, standing with a few former teammates in the far aisle. They all looked lost in their ill-­fitting suits and shined-­up shoes, unaccustomed to Walker gatherings that weren’t celebratory in nature—­pep rallies, parades, and booster dinners. Miller gave me a two-­finger wave with a half smile as he fanned himself with his program. I looked away, pretending not to see him. Partly because I knew Lucy didn’t approve of him. Partly because I still felt a knot of guilt for having been in bed with him when she called with the final news, my ringer accidentally turned off. But mostly because it just wasn’t the time to be waving at your boyfriend, especially one you weren’t sure you really loved.

“No riffraff at the house,” Lucy declared immediately after the burial as she marched down the grassy embankment toward Neil’s freshly washed Tahoe. I’d known it was only a matter of time before her sadness turned to anger—­and was actually surprised that she had held out this long. Coach had once joked that Lucy had only two gears—­happy and angry.

“Define riffraff,” I asked—­because I really wasn’t sure what she meant other than that she cast a wider net than I did when it came to such categories.

“Boosters. Fans. All players, past or present. Except Ryan. Mom loved Ryan,” she finished decisively, tightening the belt of her long black trench coat.

Mrs. Carr did love Ryan James, who happened to be Walker’s only Heisman Trophy winner, but she had also adored every sorry benchwarmer and earnest walk-­on ever to come through the program. I exchanged an anxious glance with Neil, who calmly said his wife’s name.

“Don’t ‘Luce’ me,” she snapped under her breath. “I mean it. I’ve had enough. Family and close friends only.”

“How do you plan on enforcing that?” Neil asked, glancing around at the droves of acquaintances making their way to the circular drive surrounding the Carr family plot. He pushed his retro oversize glasses—­the kind you could only pull off when you were as boyishly cute as Neil—­up on his nose and said, “Half the town’s on the way over there now.”

“I don’t care. They weren’t even supposed to be at the cemetery. What part of private don’t they get? And they aren’t coming to the house. They aren’t. Tell them, Lawton.”

“Tell who what?” Lawton asked, appearing completely disoriented, useless as ever.

“Tell Shea and Neil that it’s time for family and close friends only,” she replied, for our benefit more than his. She reached up to make sure that no loose strands of hair had escaped her tight, low bun. They hadn’t, of course.

“But they think they are family, Lucy,” I said and could hear Mrs. Carr saying it now, referring to virtual strangers as part of “the Walker family.”

“Well, it’s offensive,” Lucy said, stumbling a bit as her heels sank into the fresh sod. Neil slipped one arm around her, catching her, and I contemplated how much worse this would be if she were in my shoes, alone. “I’m sick of these people acting like this is a tailgate at a damn bowl game. And if I see one more teal tie . . . Who wears teal to a funeral?” Her voice cracked just as Miller, in his teal and gold striped tie, loped toward us with an expression that neared jovial. I made eye contact with him and shook my head, but the gesture was far too nuanced for him.

“Yo. Shea. Wait up,” he called out as I noticed that he not only had donned his school colors but also had a “Class of 2001” Broncos pin centered on his lapel. How he’d managed to keep track of that thing for over a decade was beyond me, especially given that he’d lost his wallet twice since we’d been dating.

Lucy pivoted, squaring her slight frame to all six feet, four inches of Miller. “I’m sorry, Miller,” she said, her chin quivering. “Did you want to sing the fight song for us? Or just relive the glory days when you were . . . relevant?”

“Whoa, whoa, girl. What’d I ever do to you?” Miller said, his emotional instincts on par with his sartorial sense. “Why you gotta call me unrelevant?”

“Irrelevant, Miller. Not to be confused with irregardless, which, by the way, also is not a word. And I’m calling you irrelevant because you are.” Lucy’s long, delicate fingers made artistic flourishes in the air.

“Fine, then,” Miller said, his cheeks even ruddier than usual, his curly sideburns damp with sweat despite the brisk February day. I had told him twice to get a haircut, but he hadn’t listened.

“I just wanted to tell you I’m sorry. Very sorry. For your family. For your loss. I really liked your mom. She was an awesome lady.”

The speech was heartfelt, I could tell, but Lucy refused to cave. I braced myself as she crossed her arms and said, “Oh, puh-­lease, Miller. The only loss you ever cared about was the one to Nebraska when you fumbled on the four-­yard line because you were so coked up.”

“I wasn’t coked up,” Miller said. “I just . . . dropped the damn ball. Jesus.”

I bit my lower lip, shocked that Lucy recollected the play, even the yardage. But she got the rest wrong. It was T. C. Jones who failed the drug test after the game, not Miller, who never really did coke, vastly preferring the mellowing effect of marijuana. In fact, based on his glassier than normal expression, there was a distinct possibility that he had smoked this morning. Maybe even on the car ride over.

“Luce,” Neil said, sliding his grip from her elbow to her forearm and gently guiding her to his car. A child psychiatrist, he had a calming effect on the most high-­strung children—­and the rare ability to soothe Lucy. “Come on now. Let’s go, honey.”

She didn’t reply, just gracefully climbed into the car, crossed her slender legs, and waited for Neil to close the door. As Lawton collapsed into the backseat, Lucy stared down at the pearl bracelet that once belonged to her mother.

“Are you coming with us?” Neil asked me. “Or going with your parents?”

I glanced back toward my mom and dad, walking toward her car. Although long divorced, they had managed to be civil to each other through this ordeal, and, to my relief and surprise, my dad had left his wife back in Manhattan.

Lucy answered for me through her half-­open window. “Neither,” she said. “I want her to ride with Daddy. He shouldn’t be driving alone. He’s being so stubborn.” She stared at me. “Okay, Shea?”

I hesitated.

“Just do it. And make sure he wears his seat belt. One death in the family is plenty,” she said as I looked up the hill, finding Coach Carr in a cluster of dark suits.

“But don’t you think he’d rather be alone?” I asked. “I’m sure he doesn’t want to make conversation—­”

“Well, you’re different,” she said, cutting me off. “He actually likes talking to you.”

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3.7 out of 53.7 out of 5
2,991 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

latemom2000
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Yuck, Yuck, Yuck
Reviewed in the United States on June 5, 2017
What a disappointment! If you are planning on reading this book stop here because there are spoilers. I did not like any of the characters in this book. The main character is definitely stuck in a rut and although they make it sound like she is going to get out... See more
What a disappointment! If you are planning on reading this book stop here because there are spoilers.

I did not like any of the characters in this book. The main character is definitely stuck in a rut and although they make it sound like she is going to get out of it, she is actually more intrenched in the end, in my opinion. The other characters are not very likable either. Stereotypical and boring.

The main reason I dislike this book however is because of the "romance". I was creeped out by it and couldn''t get past the fact that Shea was in love with her best friend''s father who practically had been a father to her. ICK!! Nothing in the story made me like him enough to justify her falling for him. He was a stereotypical football coach who kept calling her "girl". EEWWW!!

Did not make football look good. Did not make Texas look good. Did not make a single character look good. Was not a good read.
49 people found this helpful
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BridgettTop Contributor: Eye Makeup
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
If you don''t like football, I wouldn''t bother with this book.
Reviewed in the United States on May 2, 2017
Based on the reviews I''ve read, I liked this book more than most. It could be that I''m a die-hard football fan, or that, to me, age is just a number. What seemed to bother most people didn''t bother me at all...love is love. Having said that, I REALLY wish Emily... See more
Based on the reviews I''ve read, I liked this book more than most. It could be that I''m a die-hard football fan, or that, to me, age is just a number. What seemed to bother most people didn''t bother me at all...love is love.

Having said that, I REALLY wish Emily Giffin had done a little more research about college football. Has she never heard of conferences? Does she know that an undefeated season does not guarantee a national championship berth? I found little errors like these off-putting.

This book is FULL of football facts/trivia/lingo/plays/etc., so if you don''t care for the sport, this may not be the book for you. If you enjoy football, typically like Giffin''s books, and don''t mind a May/December romance, this isn''t a bad read.
32 people found this helpful
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kaduzy
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Emily Giffin''s worst written book yet (Spoiler review)
Reviewed in the United States on February 26, 2021
Meet Shea, a sloppy small town drunk who can''t seem to control her liquor yet even though she''s in her 30s. She has a dead-end job, no real romantic or family attachments and nothing to distinguish her as a person whatsoever ever except that she has an obsessive love for... See more
Meet Shea, a sloppy small town drunk who can''t seem to control her liquor yet even though she''s in her 30s. She has a dead-end job, no real romantic or family attachments and nothing to distinguish her as a person whatsoever ever except that she has an obsessive love for the local college football team and the man who coaches it -- who just happens to be her best friend''s father. At the start of the story, the coach''s wife, a woman who practically raised her like a daughter, dies. And the woman''s literally not even cold in the ground before Shea begins moving in on the coach of her small town dreams. The writer throws in a romance with an abusive NFL player to temporarily distract us from the fact that she''s a complete creep, but there''s never any doubt that she''s not interested in anything but being the coach''s next wife. She loves the way he bosses her around, never makes a major move in life until he TELLS her to (changing her job, dumping her loser boyfriend) and has no real ambitions of her own. She literally (SPOILER ALERT) ends the book unemployed but delighted that she finally got the old man of her dreams and her football team won. Never mind that she''s a woman in her 30s with no job who just had to take $2,000 from her father and stepmother to get by for the next two months, life is good!

The book has so many other issues on top of that. The football jargon is relentless, so if you''re not into football you are going to be BORED, all caps. I hoped there would be enough romance to balance that out, but Giffin does a very poor job finding that balance. If you''re going to get me on board with some Woody Allen/Son Yi type of crap about a man falling in love with a woman who was like a daughter to him mere months after his wife dies of cancer, then you''d better SELL IT, sister. All we get is a few scenes between her and the coach and the information that they text each other a lot. I think more scenes showing their attraction, their undeniable chemistry and most of all more TIME passing after the death of his wife would have been a better way to sell something this unpalatable. As it is, I was firmly on her friend''s side, not just about how inappropriate the relationship was but about how much Shea takes up her father''s time, preventing him from being the best father he could be to his own daughter so soon after she lost her mother.

Giffin also takes a bad left turn into an exploration of domestic abuse at the hand of the NFL player character, and I wish she''d just left this topic completely alone. It''s badly mishandled. We, the reader, witness this guy physically assault and attempt to rape Shea. Then the Coach reveals that this guy was accused of raping and assaulting a past girlfriend, but the coach didn''t believe her. In the worst-written scene of the entire novel, Shea spends about thirty seconds being upset by this revelation, then changes her mind and wants to sleep with Coach, then when he refuses, she changes her mind again and starts accusing him of being a horrible person who protected a rapist because he wanted his team to win the Cotton Bowl. Then they make up again after Coach gives her a speech about how loyalty to the people you know is more important than protecting rape victims. It''s utterly mind-boggling, and becomes even worse when Shea spends the rest of the book telling people she doesn''t think the attempted rapist is a bad person and that he wouldn''t have actually raped her -- despite the fact that we all saw him pinning her down on the bed while she screamed stop, and he didn''t actually stop until her hero the Coach came into her apartment at just the right time, caught him red-handed, and started fighting him. In handling it this way, Emily Giffin tipped her own hand about how she must feel about sexual assault and how victims should be treated. It''s sickening.

And the rest of the book is just plain poorly written. At the end it abruptly switches from past tense to present tense and her editors didn''t even catch it. The best friend character abruptly changes her mind about accepting the romance and that''s it, that''s the end of the book. There''s no big romantic scene between the two of them, no real satisfying ending. They even bring up the dead wife at the end, just a breath before Shea''s making out with the Coach again. It''s just pure whiplash. Super sloppy writing all around. I''ve been a fan of Giffin''s books for years and she''s the only chick lit writer I bother with, but I think I''m done with her now. Between this, All We Ever Wanted and First Comes Love that''s three bad books back to back to back now. I know this book''s about football but I prefer the rules according to baseball: three strikes and you''re out.
7 people found this helpful
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McLean mom
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointing
Reviewed in the United States on July 3, 2017
I usually love her books. But this one was very awkward. While shea''s character is well developed the affection for coach is just weird and under deve!oped. You get the sense that this really is just hero worship. Also his use of the word "girl" is annoying, belittling and... See more
I usually love her books. But this one was very awkward. While shea''s character is well developed the affection for coach is just weird and under deve!oped. You get the sense that this really is just hero worship. Also his use of the word "girl" is annoying, belittling and distracting. I can not recommend this book.
23 people found this helpful
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Erin
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
... lot of negative reviews about this book but I''m glad I read it anyway
Reviewed in the United States on December 5, 2017
I''ve read a lot of negative reviews about this book but I''m glad I read it anyway. It''s a great novel and has an interesting but not traditional love story. I loved the approach and honestly, all the football. Both seem to be the biggest issue most readers had but I loved... See more
I''ve read a lot of negative reviews about this book but I''m glad I read it anyway. It''s a great novel and has an interesting but not traditional love story. I loved the approach and honestly, all the football. Both seem to be the biggest issue most readers had but I loved it. I enjoyed a woman being an encyclopedia for college football, even if I''m not a huge fan myself. My only complaint is the ending seemed abrupt and could''ve given more closure.
9 people found this helpful
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young adult
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointing story line
Reviewed in the United States on January 7, 2018
I usually love Emily Giffin''s books but was very disappointed in this story. It was very obvious who Shea had feelings for from the first chapter but I thought there was no way that could be the story and there had to be something better going on. Once I got to the last... See more
I usually love Emily Giffin''s books but was very disappointed in this story. It was very obvious who Shea had feelings for from the first chapter but I thought there was no way that could be the story and there had to be something better going on. Once I got to the last chapter (more like the last quarter of the book), I was so disappointed with how it all ended and thought it was far too unrealistic (I know it''s just a fiction, but still), irrational, and inappropriate. Would rather have my money and hours spent reading back.

The only reason I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 is because there were some parts of the book that had me hooked to keep reading.
10 people found this helpful
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Jinna
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good read for Giffin fans and those looking for a different love story
Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2020
Funny I didn''t even read the reviews for this until after I finished it, I just bought it because I have read all of Emily Giffin''s book. I understand why a lot of reviewers didn''t like it but I actually did enjoy it. I like how all of Giffin''s books are so different from... See more
Funny I didn''t even read the reviews for this until after I finished it, I just bought it because I have read all of Emily Giffin''s book. I understand why a lot of reviewers didn''t like it but I actually did enjoy it. I like how all of Giffin''s books are so different from each other and have so many twists that you don''t know what to expect from the beginning. I feel like the sexual scenes are always a bit awkward in her books, this one not an exception. The main romance was a bit weird but I liked how it was a good "forbidden" love story. I probably won''t be recommending this to friends unless I know they have read her other books and can deal with some awkwardness. The football part didn''t bother jer me but I like football.
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Moonglow
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I love Emily Griffin’s books
Reviewed in the United States on July 24, 2021
This may not be one of my favourite books of hers, but that in no way lessens how much I enjoy her stories and the way she writes them. She makes you feel every emotion possible and I love how everything isn’t always wrapped up perfectly. Throughout life there are good and... See more
This may not be one of my favourite books of hers, but that in no way lessens how much I enjoy her stories and the way she writes them. She makes you feel every emotion possible and I love how everything isn’t always wrapped up perfectly. Throughout life there are good and bad situations we get ourselves into, because life is messy and things aren’t always a fairytale. But follow your heart, own your path, and you’ll discover great things. I love how in her books a friend or a close sibling is always what is your lifeline, your necessity to celebrate together or to help ground you and refocus on picking yourself up. Lovely themes, lots of real emotions, you will enjoy her books and you should read them all :)
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Top reviews from other countries

Heidi Shepherd
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A bit of a disappointment
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 13, 2017
Having loved previous books by Emily Griffin I was very surprised to not be overly impressed by this. The story was a bit frustrating but most of all I didn''t connect to the characters. I wanted to like this but just didn''t get that into it.
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RW
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
one word: dull
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 8, 2014
I had high hopes for this book, but I have to be honest there is no real story, I kept waiting for something to happen. I truly feel like I''ve just spent hours reading in my life that I can''t get back. Shea is dull. Her whole story is football and not feeling good enough....See more
I had high hopes for this book, but I have to be honest there is no real story, I kept waiting for something to happen. I truly feel like I''ve just spent hours reading in my life that I can''t get back. Shea is dull. Her whole story is football and not feeling good enough. Her best friend is irritating and has no redeaming features. Every person in this story is one dimensional. I had no particular feelings for anyone.
2 people found this helpful
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"manos79"
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Boring story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 17, 2015
I am sorry to say that this was probably the most boring book I’ve ever read, and I finished it just because I’ve paid for it.. It was boring with the constant reference of American football but even if it was referring to the European one again it would be boring. I’ve...See more
I am sorry to say that this was probably the most boring book I’ve ever read, and I finished it just because I’ve paid for it.. It was boring with the constant reference of American football but even if it was referring to the European one again it would be boring. I’ve read all of Giffin’s books and i really like her writing and style up to now. I give 2 stars and not one, just because she is such a great author and my heart does not allow me to give one star...
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Nicola Lighterness
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not my favourite Emily Giffin
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 7, 2015
I''ve read all of Emily Giffin'' s books and this was my least favourite. I did enjoy it but I found it difficult to get past the American football jargon (as a British woman with very little knowledge of the game!) at first.
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Trisanne Prichard
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Slow start but another great Giffin story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 31, 2015
I have read all of Giffins books and love them. This one when I started it I thought was going to be the first I would struggle with. But I persevered and after a few chapters I was once again captured! Great book for the beach and now I have to wait for her next book to...See more
I have read all of Giffins books and love them. This one when I started it I thought was going to be the first I would struggle with. But I persevered and after a few chapters I was once again captured! Great book for the beach and now I have to wait for her next book to come out 😕
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