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The One That I Want: A Novel [Hardcover]

Allison Winn Scotch
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 2010
Tilly Farmer is thirty-two years old and has the perfect life she always dreamed of: married to her high school sweetheart, working as a guidance counselor in her hometown, trying for a baby. Perfect. 

In fact, on the surface you might never know how tough things used to be. At seventeen, Tilly lost her mother to cancer, her father drowned his grief in alcohol, and she played parent to her two younger sisters more often than being a kid herself. Still Tilly never let tragedy overtake her belief that hard work and good cheer could solve any problem. Of course she’s also spent a lifetime plastering a smile on her face and putting everyone else’s problems ahead of her own.

But that relentless happiness has served her well—her sisters are grown and content, her dad is ten years sober, and she’s helping her students achieve all their dreams while she and her husband, Tyler, start a family. A perfect life indeed.

Then one sweltering afternoon at the local fair, everything changes. Tilly wanders into the fortune teller’s tent and is greeted by an old childhood friend, now a psychic, who offers her more than just a reading. “I’m giving you the gift of clarity,” her friend says. “It’s what I always thought you needed.” And soon enough, Tilly starts seeing things: her father relapsing, staggering out of a bar with his car keys in hand; Tyler uprooting their happy, stable life, a packed U-Haul in their driveway; and even more disturbing, these visions start coming true. Suddenly Tilly’s perfect life, so meticulously mapped out, seems to be crumbling around her. And she’s not sure what’s more frightening: that she’s begun to see the future or what the future holds . . . 

As Tilly furiously races to keep up with—and hopefully change—her destiny, she faces the question: Which is the life she wants? The one she’s carefully nursed for decades, or the one she never considered possible?

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Review

A Redbook Book Club Pick

One of Cosmo Magazine's Steamy Beach Tomes for the Summer

"[A] novel about the choices we welcome and the choices we resist."
Redbook

"With a thriller of a conclusion...keeps readers in suspense until the final electrifying pages."
–American Way

“The real magic is Scotch’s ability to create authentic moments between her characters that push this fast-paced story to the edge and joyfully brings us along with it.”
–The LA Books Examiner

“Well-told . . . a good choice for fans of women's fiction and book clubs. It's fast-paced and feels light yet still packs a satisfying emotional punch.”
Library Journal

"Scotch creates eminently relatable characters, with a particularly excellent understanding of the way sisters interact, and has the ability to craft scenes of real emotional weight."
Booklist

"[A]n aching, honest look into the death and rebirth of relationships....a wise, absorbing narrative."
–Publishers Weekly

"You’ll like this book because it’s not all about a guy. It’s layered with friendships, family ties, heartbreak, and the excitement of a new crush. The One That I Want will call you to reflect on your own life, inspire you to live passionately, and teach you to embrace independence."  --Glamour.com

About the Author

ALLISON WINN SCOTCH is the author of the novels Time of My Life and The Department of Lost and Found. She lives in New York.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story building Jan. 13 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I liked the story development and the unfolding of the character's strength building throughout the book. Didn't think so much calamity could fall on one person :-) I also enjoyed the spiritual addition because I am into that - it wasn't too over the top.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read!! June 3 2010
By BookChick TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Tilly Farmer is 32 years old and has it all: she's married to her high school sweetheart, Tyler, she's working as a respected guidance counsellor at the high school that she graduated from, and they are finally trying for a baby. After a rough childhood- her mother passed away and her father battled the demon of alcoholism while Tilly raised her two younger sisters- Tilly feels that she's entitled to some happiness, and to some peace. Everything changes when Tilly wanders into the fortune-telling booth at their town's annual fair and is given the gift of clarity from an old friend, despite the fact that the details of her new gift aren't explained to her.

Suddenly Tilly is having visions of the future, and they aren't pleasant. She sees her father falling off the wagon and getting drunk, she sees her husband packing up a U-Haul despite the fact that she doesn't want to move, and when the visions begin to come true, she feels powerless to stop things.

As Tilly, once again, begins to pick up the pieces of her broken life, she curses the new found clarity that she has, but she also comes to the realization that her life was not as perfect as she once thought that it was. As Tilly tries to control her gift, and her future, she must figure out what it is that she really wants.

"The One That I Want" is a highly enjoyable coming-of-age story. When Tilly was young she lost her mother and had to become a surrogate mother to her two younger sisters, given that her father was in no shape to raise three little girls. The fact that she had to mature so quickly has left Tilly in a suspended state of childhood, determined to cling to the things from her youth despite the fact that she is no longer in high school.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Characters and Paranormal Intrigue Dec 23 2011
By Lydia - Novel Escapes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The One That I Want was an emotionally charged read that kept me up late tearing through the final pages. Funny and insightful, this tale of having all you've ever wanted and questioning the path not taken, was full of insights on love, marriage, relationships in all it's forms and growth that can sometimes tear us apart. Women's fiction with a deeper emotional tone and a paranormal aspect, this novel was heavier than lighter chick lit fare.

The One That I Want had a strong supporting cast of characters, each one well developed and memorable and contributed to Tilly's growth, acting as a catalyst or assisting her along the way. I enjoyed watching Tilly's transformation and seeing her relationships develop with her sisters and her friends. The story moved along seamlessly and although her visions become predictable, the ending definitely wasn't.

The clarity Tilly was given was an interesting twist. What would you do if we were given the ability to see your future? I'm sure we all have something we wished we could have foreseen, but I'm not convinced it was absolutely necessary for the novel. Maybe I'm just envious at not having that power myself several times over, but thought the novel might have packed a bit more of a punch if she had been able to figure it out for herself.

I found Winn-Scotch's writing drew me right into the story, made me nostalgic for high school in a few short strokes and portrayed the small town setting so well that I was able to relate to it, from the parading football stars to the small town gossip, none of which I have ever experienced. Having been the first Winn Scotch novel I read, she's now on my must read list when I'm looking for chick lit with a heavier tone.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  55 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In The One That I Want June 6 2010
By Naida M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In The One That I Want, Tilly Farmer is a married 32 year old guidance counselor, working for the same high school she graduated from. She is married to Tyler, her high school sweetheart, and the two are now trying to have a baby. They both live in the town they grew up in. One afternoon Tilly goes to the town carnival and decides to see the fortune teller, who happens to be one of her old classmates. The fortune teller gives Tilly the 'gift of clarity' and sends her on her way.

Tilly's life is far from perfect. Her mother died to cancer when she was 16, leaving her 2 sisters, her father and herself heartbroken. Tilly managed to cope, but her father succumbed to alcoholism and her younger sister still resents him for it. Now that Tilly has seen the fortune teller, she suddenly has strange episodes where she has visions of the future. When she 'sees' her father getting into his car drunk, then receives the phone call from the police station telling her he is being held for DWI, she begins to wonder how powerful this 'gift of clarity' really is.

Before she knows it, Tilly begins to have other visions of the future, including one where she sees her husband packing his belongings and leaving town. Tilly begins to realize that things aren't what she thought they once were.

I both liked and disliked The One That I Want. The storyline was interesting and I enjoyed the magical realism aspect of it, but for some reason I just could not connect with Tilly's character. She wasn't annoying or anything, I just didn't feel any type of connection to her.
I hate to sound nitpicky, but one thing that bothered me was the language in the story, at times it felt uncalled for and distracting. Don't get me wrong, I'm the first one to drop the 'F' bomb in conversation, but in this story it just distracted me a bit. It felt like it was overdone in some of the conversations. I know Tilly was mad with the situation, but I'd rather have seen her less on the defense.

Like I said, the storyline was interesting. I did enjoy the friendship Tilly has with her best friend Susanna. I liked how the two support each other through thick and thin. There's a scene where Tilly and a few of the girls get together for Susanna's birthday. They have dinner and drink wine and just vent, that felt realistic and I always enjoy female friendships in stories.
There is a plot twist and the end that I thought was good also. All in all, this was an okay read for me. I do recommend it, others might love it. Though I didn't particularly love this book, I would definitely read Allison Winn Scotch again.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars REALLY?? Did We All Read The Same Book? July 11 2010
By Mercedes J. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Based on all the glowing reviews of this book (which I'm now wondering if a number of them aren't shills by friends of the author), I was expecting to love this book. I absolutely did NOT. I didn't hate it, but I was tempted to quit about half-way through. I stuck with it though...I kept telling myself 'All those people raved about it, maybe it gets better'. Nope.

Right off the bat, I didn't like Tilly. She's not offensive, or rude in any way, but her nickname 'Silly Tilly' is definitely the best way to describe her. I could not relate AT ALL to someone so desperate to relieve her high-school days, that she would become the school guidance counselor just to be able to be there everyday. Her pathetic excitement at planning the prom year after year...she's 32!! Get over it! No WONDER her husband had one foot out the door!

I did like the flashes of her seeing the future. I thought it was the only thing that made the book somewhat interesting and worth finishing. The whole dynamic between Tilly and her husband Tyler began to wear on me though...as did her relationship with her sister Darcy. I could absolutely understand Tyler wanting to leave little Westlake, to see what else life had to offer him. It infuriated me that Tilly, while not wanting to leave the only place she's ever lived (which I can understand), was so close minded that she couldn't grasp how someone else would want to. She wanted everything to stay just it is was...always. And even though her outlook on life changes through the novel, I never really got over my initial dislike for her.

The 'surprise' at the end, the big secret her father's been keeping for years, felt totally out of place. It's almost like it was thrown in as an after thought just to give the story a bit of shock value. Well, it wasn't shocking, it was sad and unnecessary. Overall, I do NOT recommend this book. It's certainly not the worst book I've ever read, but I definitely wouldn't categorize this as a 'Must Read'. I have Ms. Scotch's two other novels on my wishlist, but I think I'm gonna hold off for awhile before attempting another of her books. I'm not ready to write her off completely, but I won't be expecting so much next time around.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Left Me Wanting a Faster Read July 13 2010
By Girls Gone Reading - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Tilly Farmer and I have a lot in common. We are both 32. We both married our high school sweethearts. And we both work in high schools in the towns where we grew up. You would think that all this similarity would breed familiarity, but I found Tilly very difficult to take until the very end of the book. Ironically, I think it was all these similarities that made it harder for me to like her, made me focus on our differences. Tilly, in the beginning, loves prom (I avoid the sponsor for weeks before so I don't have to chaperone), always smiles to fix a problem (anyone who knows me will tell you that I prefer yelling), and thinks her boy-man husband is adorable when he falls asleep watching another baseball game (um...I don't even know how to answer this!).

So as the novel begins, Tilly is "blind" in more ways than one. The fact that it took her two hundred pages to recognize that her husband was a poor spouse was aggravating. The way that she makes excuses for her alcoholic father was not helpful. And the way Tilly spent so much of the book telling me everything was perfect made me want to scream. She ignored the issues in her life for too long in the novel for me to truly love it. And it was this slow beginning that made her ultimate discovery-which came very quickly in the end-lose its punch.

The shining spots of this work came in the end. When Tilly finally finds clarity, she is inspirational. She relaxes and lets the other people in her life handle their own problems. She learns to let go, and that her students, her siblings, and her spouse are able to think without her constant guidance and cliched advice. Tilly almost won me back in these last wonderful fifty pages. She further reminded me of our similarities, when she realizes what she has given up for her family. "I abandoned it: for Darcy, for my family, for my father. I lost myself for them, which we all have to do every once in a while but probably shouldn't do forever." What mother, wife, teacher hasn't sacrificed a lot for their family only to occasionally want it back?

Scotch shows she is a good writer in lines like the ones above, but it was too little, too late to win me back entirely. This is the first time that I have ever read her work, and I would like to read Time of My Life-her first novel. Allison's blog, Ask Allison, is always witty and insightful, and although I never comment I always wish I would. The One that I Want is an interesting idea, but I hope that Scotch's other works cuts to the chase a little faster, and that maybe the characters don't have lives so close to mine!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Winner From Scotch Sept. 19 2010
By Bellingham Bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am always happy when I pick up a book and it turns out to be a winner. Having read Time of My Life previously and absolutely loving it, I was very excited to read this book.

The main character, Tilly, wasn't someone I would hang out with in real life. She is one of those people who loved high school so much she became a guidance counselor at her old high school so she could continue to live in that high school bubble. She had taken on the role of caretaker after her mother passed away and her entire identity is wrapped up in being the one to help everyone. She is married to her high school boyfriend, Tyler, and is so happy inside her bubble she doesn't realize that they are growing apart.

One day at a local fair she runs into her old childhood friend, Ashley, who gives her the "gift of clarity." What this means for Tilly is seeing her life thru new eyes and not necessarily liking what she sees.

I don't want to give away the whole story and ending. I will just say that I am recommending this book to all of my girlfriends.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Given a gift she didn't want July 31 2010
By Vikkil - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was exceptionally well written. It tells the story of a woman who thinks she has it all but once given the gift of clarity, sees what her life truly is. While not miserable, things are certainly not what she thought they were and through this realization, she is able to change her world.
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