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  • One Night is a thoroughly entertaining read.

    A thoroughly modern coming-of-age YA novel with a retro twist. We’re transported to Hawaii with the rather wonderfully named Thompson Lake as he follows an Elvis impersonator to Chicago on a quest to mend a broken heart. Thompson is a high school student who’s looking to reconcile with his ex-girlfriend (notably his first love), Elvis-mad Caroline. On a mission to accidentally-on-purpose bump into Caroline on a night out, he meets Johnny Lee Young, one of Hawaii’s hottest Elvis impersonators. Johnny’s undeniably handsome, popular and talented but – like Thompson – he hasn’t got the girl either. Together, Thompson and Johnny plan a trip to Chicago as Thompson decides to help Johnny reunite with his own ex-girlfriend, Molly. Cue new relationships, adventures and a lot of growing up in amongst Facebook stalking, heartache and countless renditions of “Suspicious Minds”. At the heart of One Night, underneath the constant references to YouTube, Facebook statuses and Nike trainers, there’s the timeless elements of love, family and identity, which culminate in a fabulously funny scene in a church in Chicago as Johnny and Thompson sort-of crash a wedding… Overall, I really enjoyed how Cabinian managed to weave together a story full of parallels and contrasts. We get the similarities between two apparently very different characters. We also get very YA-friendly references to tech, popular brands and social media throughout crossed with Elvis songs, which actually work really well together. They emphasise the timelessness of the plot, which is concerned with relationships between different generations. Set in front of an idyllic Hawaiian backdrop, One Night is a thoroughly entertaining read.

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  • Thoroughly enjoyable

    While trying to win back with his Elvis-loving ex-girlfriend Caroline, Thompson meets Elvis impersonator Johnny Lee Young, and he lands a summer job as his assistant. Between working his job at Super Kmart and helping out Johnny, Thompson's got a busy summer ahead. Somewhere along the way, Thompson changes his focus from Caroline and makes it his mission to reunite Johnny with his one true love - with a bit of help from his friends Ronnie and Greta. Throw in a road - or should I say, air - trip, and Thompson's life is about to change for good. Thompson, as our narrator, has an engaging, easy-going tone, and the author manages to perfectly capture the voice of a teenage boy. The book is full of great support characters, including Thompson's "gangsta" friend Ronnie, his health-food-freak mother, his colorful co-worker Greta, his creepy co-worker Rob, Johnny's sweet Nonna, and - of course - Johnny himself. The author has a great ability to describe people using few words; this talent for people-watching is especially apparent during the trip to Chicago. Johnny's past romantic relationship parallels Thompson's own relationship with Caroline, and it's nice to see how Thompson grows through his summer experience and comes out the other side a better person. It's also a nice change to read a young adult book wholly from the boy's point of view. I had never heard the feature song "Hurt", so I've discovered something new. And I now have a whole new appreciation for Elvis impersonators. A thoroughly enjoyable read. I received this book in return for an honest review. Full blog post (14 September):

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