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Friday, August 25, 2017

First Impressions: The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

So, my viewer's choice is a pretty dead heat. I don't think I'm going to be able to do everything I listed in the video, but since everything was pretty heavily requested, I am going to try to do what I can -- starting with a first impressions of a very recent release: The One That Got Away, by Melissa Pimentel!

Check out my thoughts, as well as a reading of an excerpt of this modern Persuasion retelling, below. I've also included a written version of the excerpt, for those who are HOH or just plain don't want to listen to me read it, so click through for that. And one thing I forgot to mention: this book actually alternates between the present and what happened in the past! So, definitely looking forward to how that weaves together.

Make sure to let me know what you think in the comments!
And keep an eye out for Melissa's answers in this year's Janeite Convos! (The best of the cringeworthiest went up yesterday!)

I was furiously blowing on the scalding coffee when some- thing caught my eye: staring out at me from the magazine rack was none other than my ex-boyfriend, his face smiling smugly out from the cover of TechCrunch magazine. “Can Ethan Bailey Save the World?” the headline asked, as if specifically designed to annoy me. “I’m guessing not,” I muttered as I pulled a copy from the rack and slapped it down on the counter.
“Four dollars,” said the unsmiling man, hand outstretched.
I peeled off the bills and shoved the magazine deep into my bag, where I could feel it throbbing, and then headed off to catch my train.
The Morris and Essex line is a miniature socio-economic tour of the Greater New York area. I stared out of the window as we chuntered through Chelsea, speeding past the boutique shops and expensive cocktail bars, out past the High Line and over the Hudson River into New Jersey. Through Hoboken and into a sea of squat industrial parks dotted with billboards advertising strip clubs and loan sharks and auto- body shops until the first ad for West Elm appeared and you knew you were out in the suburbs.
I finished off the last bit of bagel and pulled the magazine out of my bag, holding it gingerly between thumb and fore- finger as though it might be radioactive. Which it sort of was, at least to me. The coffee I’d gulped down made an unwelcome reappearance in my esophagus. I leaned in and inspected the photograph. He hadn’t changed at all. If anything, he was now better looking. He had the confident sheen of wealth shining out of every pore, and had obviously used some of his apparently now-vast fortune to have his teeth straightened and whitened. His dark hair was slightly shorter, but still curled around his temples, and his eyes were the same greenish-gold I remembered. Yes, it was definitely him: a beacon of success, heralded the world over as the designer of a generation, and presumably described as one of the city’s most eligible bachelors some- where in the article. At least he was still a bachelor the last time I’d allowed myself to Google him (once every two months, no more) following his split from some leggy fashion editor.
I skimmed the article, which contained the word “genius” so many times I seriously considered sending a thesaurus to the sub-editor, and allowed myself to stare at the accompanying photographs for exactly four minutes. There he was with the late Steve Jobs, arm tossed jovially around his shoulder as they grinned out at the camera in matching turtlenecks. Now he was at the Met gala, aforementioned leggy fashion editor wrapped around him like a baby monkey on a tree branch. And finally, there was a picture of him with his business partner, arms slung around each other’s shoulders and smiling at each other as if they both couldn’t believe their luck.
I couldn’t believe it, either. If you had told me ten years ago that Ethan would end up designing one of the most used and best loved apps of all time, I would have laughed in your face. Actually, first I would have asked what an app was, and then I would have laughed in your face.
I closed the magazine and shoved it back in my bag. You know that feeling when you put coin after coin into a slot ma- chine without winning a single penny, only to walk away and watch the next person who drops a quarter in win the jackpot? That was the feeling that I had been living with for the past seven years, ever since Ethan’s face appeared in Wired in an article entitled “Rising Stars.” I drank half a bottle of vodka with Jess that night, eventually setting fire to the magazine and placing it in a garbage can in what Jess had promised would be a “cleansing ritual,” but which ended up just melting the (plastic) garbage can to the living room carpet and resulted in a serious deduction from our security deposit.
The trees whizzed by as the train sped deeper into New Jersey. I closed my eyes and leaned against the window, head knocking rhythmically against the pane as the train clicked over the tracks. Tomorrow, I would see him again—the first time in nearly ten years. What could I possibly say to him? Would he even talk to me? What if he still had feelings for me? Or, worse, what if he didn’t? I swatted the thought from my mind like an errant fly. The man opposite caught my eye and gave me a friendly smile. He was dressed in a suit, but the edges of his cuffs were frayed and his collar slightly yellowed, and he had the harried look of a man teetering on the brink. I looked back at the whizzing trees, which were thinning slowly and being replaced by identikit clapboard houses and the occasional strip mall. What if I still loved him after all this time? What the hell was I supposed to do then?

From The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel. Copyright © 2017 by the author and reprinted with permission of St. Martin's Press, LLC.

The One That Got Away
by Melissa Pimentel
Contemporary Romance / Retelling, 400 pages
Published August 22nd 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books
Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren't.

Now, ten years later, Ruby is single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There's barely time for a trip to England for her little sister's wedding. And there's certainly not time to think about what it will be like to see Ethan again, who just so happens to be the best man.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can't help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago. Because there is nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past . . .

About the Author:
Melissa Pimentel grew up in a small town in Massachusetts in a house without cable and therefore much of her childhood was spent watching 1970s British comedy on PBS.

At twenty-two, she made the move to London to do an MA in Modern Literature at University College London. She has lived there happily for ten years, though she still adamantly refuses to eat a scotch egg. Before meeting her fiancé, she spent much of her time trawling the London dating scene for clean, non-sociopathic sexual partners and blogging about it, which became the inspiration for her first novel.

These days, she spends much of her time reading in the various pubs of Stoke Newington and engaging in a long-standing emotional feud with their disgruntled cat, Welles. She works in publishing.

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  1. I am not surprised there were ties for all your choices since I was tempted to pick all of them, too. LOL

    I didn't know about this one and I love finding new adaptions of Persuasion. The hints of humor and the subtle differences in this pair that you mention draw me in. I struggle with the running down herself issues, too. I just read a Persuasion modern adaption where the Anne character did that and it was irritating. Hopefully this will be handled well. Thanks so much for the first impression, Misty! :)


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