The One Who’s Not the One by Keris Stainton

Ever feel like you have lifetime access to the struggle bus while your friends are living the Insta-perfect life with their big house, perfect husband and perfect baby?

Meet Cat. She’s just like us.

Cat was an up-and-coming stand-up comedian until her [also comedian] boyfriend, Sam, left for Australia for an opportunity her couldn’t miss, leaving Cat behind, broken hearted and unwilling to return to the stage.

Five years later, Cat now finds herself in the struggle. She’s working a boring day job, not chasing her dreams, and often finding herself bunking with her best friend, Kelly, to hide from her roommates that eat all of her food, drink her beer, and have loud obnoxious sex in front of her (and this is why I live alone).

Kelly and Cat’s relationship is the stuff of #bffgoals. She is Cat’s solid rock, always wants the best for her, and is always her voice of reason – especially when she needs it the most (like reminding her that all of her relationship problems stem from her father leaving her and Cat’s default of pushing everyone away).

One day, Cat sees Sam’s face on the front of a newspaper and decides to go to his gig as he returns to London. Interesting enough, she runs into Sam’s super hunky brother, Harvey, who makes mushy things happen to her insides. So here, we find ourselves in a story of forbidden love.

Cat soon finds herself between the choice to run from her problems by accepting a new job in New York or face her fears and stay for the possibility of love.


What I liked:

  • Cat is quick-witted and funny so she fulfills my need for sarcasm. The bit between she and Arnold is so adorable and always left me smiling.
  • Kelly was the bright and shining star of this book. While reading the exchanges between the two, I couldn’t help but think about my best friends. This book shines a much-needed light on the importance of strong female friendships and I am here for that!
  • Once Harvey came back into the picture, I was hooked. The dynamics between the two of them was very interesting and I wanted more.
  • I love a good forbidden romance, and this book gave me just that.
  • The dynamic between Cat and her father was interesting. The idea that she has a chance of reconciliation is fulfilling. It also goes to show how having one side of a story can heavily impact the way a relationship can evolve for years to come.
  • The book was a quick and light read, though I wish it had been longer. If that’s what the author was going for, she nailed it.
  • I hope I have a husband like Sean. That is all.

What I disliked:

  • It took me until about chapter 20 to really get into this book. I found myself trying to remember what the significance of the main character was and when the plot would finally begin.
  • There was too little of the good stuff. Readers only got a few chapters to fall in love with Cat and Harvey. Again, I LOVE a good forbidden romance, but not when we only get three good chapters of tension-laced content.
  • I didn’t enjoy the fact that Cat, who was apparently a very good up-and-coming comedian, threw it all away for a man and found her passion again when she finally opened up herself to love? Like, can we please not have women’s success be dependent on the success of a romantic relationship? I am far beyond tired of that social construct.
  • There was so much left unsaid! I feel like the first half of the book was just fodder and nothing of consequence occurred until later on in the book and then all the good content was shoved into the last few chapters.
  • Much more time should have been used building on the relationships and fallout of Cat and Harvey’s new relationship. Am I to believe that they just moved in together immediately? What does Sam think? Was there ever a fallout or blow up between Sam and Harvey? Where is Sam/Harvey’s dad and why is he estranged?
  • The stand-up bits of the novel were mildly disappointing. I expected more from her jokes, and it was a lot of sad self-deprecation that left me not laughing, but affirmed in my belief that she needs to see a therapist.

All things considered, I thought this was a good read, but it left a lot to be desired.

Rating: 3/5

*I received this book as an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. kasiathebooknerd says:

    Great review!! I enjoyed this book but I agree with a lot of what you said…I’m just hoping that a bunch of time went by between Cat and Harvey finally getting together and moving in together, I felt there were a lot of parts where time went by and we weren’t really told

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I wanted more about Harvey and Cat and the fallout after they become official. This could easily have a sequel!


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