One True Loves by Elise Bryant
Release Date: 4th January 2022
Target Audience: YA
Lenore Bennett has always been a force. A star artist and style icon at her high school, she’s a master in the subtle art of not giving a . . . well, you know what. But now that graduation is here, she’s a little less sure. She’s heading to NYU in the fall with a scarlet U (for “undeclared”) written across her chest. Her parents always remind her that Black kids don’t have the luxury of figuring it out as they go—they have to be 110 percent prepared. But it’s a lot of pressure to be her ancestors’ wildest dreams when Lenore’s not even sure what her dreams are yet. When her family embarks on a post-graduation Mediterranean cruise, her friend Tessa is sure Lenore’s in for a whirlwind romance. But Lenore knows that doesn’t happen in real life. At least not to girls like her. Then she meets Alex Lee. After their parents bond over the Cupid Shuffle, she ends up stuck with him for the remainder of the cruise. He’s a hopeless romantic and a golden boy with a ten-year plan. In short, he’s irritating as hell. But as they get to know each other during the picturesque stops across Europe, he may be able to help her find something else she’s been looking for, even if she doesn’t want to admit it to herself: love.
I’m more than a little disappointed by One True Loves. I loved Happily Ever Afters (it was one of my favourite debuts of 2021) so I was keen to get my hands on this one as soon as it popped up on Edelweiss. Thanks to the publisher for providing an e-ARC of this one!
That said, I didn’t like One True Loves. I was expecting a super cute romance with some European travel – it’s set on a cruise ship, for crying out loud! – but instead I got a mediocre and fairly boring story without seeing any European sights. I’m a sucker for travel and adventuring in my books, but this book had none. I also didn’t love the romance. While it was cute, it didn’t stand out to me at all, and it felt like this book was rushed through publication before the author had a chance to really figure out what she was going to do with it.
One True Loves isn’t enough to entirely put me off reading this author because I know she is capable of great things, but I’m sad that this one turned out to be a dud.