One True Loves Book Review

Table of Contents

One True Loves Book Review

One True Loves, is a contemporary romance novel written by Taylor Jenkins Reid and published in June 2016, with 327 pages of turmoil it was later adapted into a movie, releasing in April 2023. This book explores grief, love, and the idea that we never stop loving someone, we just grow to love other people as we change. 

one true loves cover

Storyline/ plot

We start this book in the present day where our main character (Emma Blair) is at dinner with her family and her fiance when she gets a call from her husband, but her husband supposedly died in a helicopter crash over the Pacific ocean three years prior. During this phone call Emma’s husband, Jesse Lerner, had exclaimed that he had been saved and was coming home. 

We then switch to the past tense where a teenage Emma Blair was out shopping with her older sister Marie, when Marie takes them both to a swimming gala her boyfriend Graham was competing in. During this swim meet Emma decides to stick with her best friend Olive which is when Emma sees Jesse for the first time and thus, forms a huge crush on him. Emma’s parents own a bookstore that both Emma and Marie work in as well as a few other staff members one being Sam Kemper, a budding musician who seems to have an interest in Emma, although Emma doesn’t feel the same. 

Fast forwards a couple years, Sam graduates highschool and during a fluke run in with the police, it sparks Emma and Jesse to have a summer full of romance which leads to a life of adventure for the pair of them. The pair move to California for college, travel to almost every country you can think of and have a love so pure and simple it leaves Emma ruined when 364 days after their wedding Jesse leaves and doesn’t return. 

We follow Emma as she goes through every stage of grief, from denial and sadness, to acceptance and finally moving on from Jesse when she runs into Sam at a music store and agrees to go on a date with him.

Over the course of two years Emma and Sam fall head over heels in love, they move in together, adopt two cats, share their love for their respective interests before finally getting engaged. 

With Jesse’s return Emma’s whole world as she knows it turns upside down and she is forced to come to terms with who she was then and who she is now, as well as who she wants to be and who she wants that with. We follow Emma along the journey of discovering who really is her one true love. 

one true loves blurb

Writing style

This story is told through Emma’s POV with a split timeline between the past and present, which is also split between before, after and the aftermath of Jesse’s disappearance and his return home. It includes an array of different explanations of grief, and learning to love after loss as well as representing how much particular events can change a person as well as how we change growing up. Taylor Jenkins Reid has an incredible talent at building characters and creating relationships between her characters that feel so real that it makes the story that much more immersive. 

Pros/ cons

I thought that this book had so many positives, from the incredible character depth and descriptions to the way it explains emotions and traumatic events in a way that some may find comfort in the realness of the characters. The pacing was really well done for this book too, the book flowed really nicely and by separating the timeline into different parts it made the book easy to read and not complicated to understand.


Overall I gave this book five stars, the characters were all great and I thought that the process of losing someone you love and growing apart from your past self were explained and represented really well. It was a nice quick easy read with a good structure to it and it definitely was easy to understand what was going on throughout the story, without giving away who Emma ultimately chose at the end.

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