From my keeper shelf we have One on One by Tabitha King, copyright 1993. It’s a teenage romance with plenty of basketball. The story is set in a fictional town in Maine called Nodd’s Ridge. The two protagonists are Sam Styles and Deanie Gauthier. Both are Superstar captain’s of their respective girl and boy basketball teams.
Sam comes from a good family, gets decent grades and is a good kid. Thus, Sam finds himself attracted to Deanie and he can’t fathom why. She has piercings and is often hostile. People call her The Mutant. Deannie doesn’t really get along with anybody and comes from a dysfunctional family of abuse and other sordid stuff. However, both teens come together through their love of basketball. Sam starts to tutor Deanie on the finer points on the dribble and Deanie guides Sam through his first sexual experience. Their relationship goes through some of the typical bumps in the road of relationships but in the end, they do survive. When I reached the end, I was like: they should make it.
Sam and Deanie make a memorable couple. Each have their adversaries at school and at home. Sam’s first sexual experience is portrayed realistically. He’s clumsy, nervous and clueless. However, the ending was a mixed bag, emotionally, for me but I’ll have to forgo that part of the discussion in fear of spoiling it for you. I remember emailing a pal of mine and discussing this book. This is fiction after all and no one died but the author ends the story realistically. The story as a whole was entertaining and one that I’ve never forgotten. I really liked both characters. It’s been some years since I last read this book but I’ve read it at least ten times since it was published and I rarely reread books. I recently located a hardcover copy since they are so very hard to find around here. Online it sells for a penny and the paperback, too. I couldn’t help flipping through to my favorite parts and marking each one with my book darts. Also, the author knows basketball and portrayed it realistically in this book. Wonder if she played the game. Alas, I couldn’t find a shred of evidence online to support my theory that she probably did.
Tabitha King is a pretty decent novelist in her own right especially since she’s married to the great horror novelist, Stephen King. I’ve never really read any of her husband’s books. I wish Ms. King would still write stories set in Nodd’s Ridge. This is the third book featuring the Styles family. The first two are Pearl and The Book of Reuben. All the books stand alone. I have yet to read Pearl but have read The Book of Reuben, the prequel to One on One, that features Sam’s dad, Reuben Styles. Again, each can stand alone. So are you in the mood to go back to high school? This was a quick read. Ms. King’s dialogue is realistic as well as the conflicts of the characters. Albeit some of it was a little over the top, or intensified a bit. All in all a thrill ride, excellent read and highly recommneded. My grade, A.