#BookTok Review: ‘One Day in December’ balances plot complexity with endearing readability

The+first+%23BookTok+Bookshelf+review+of+2022+presents+the+wintery+romance+of+%E2%80%9COne+Day+in+December%2C%E2%80%9D+written+by+Josie+Silver.+The+novel+has+garnered+over+860%2C000+views+under+its+TikTok+hashtag+and+explores+romance+in+the+wake+of+tragedy+through+a+decade-long+love+triangle.

Clara Martinez

The first #BookTok Bookshelf review of 2022 presents the wintery romance of “One Day in December,” written by Josie Silver. The novel has garnered over 860,000 views under its TikTok hashtag and explores romance in the wake of tragedy through a decade-long love triangle.

Clara Martinez, News Editor: Print

This week’s #BookTok Bookshelf review brings the perfect read to warm up on these endlessly frigid January evenings – “One Day in December” by Josie Silver. The TikTok community raved about the novel long before the seasonal despair of January set in, with a staggering 860,000 views under #OneDayinDecember.

As we enter another year of superficial lip-sync trends and dancing, I can’t help but find refuge in the literary side of TikTok. Even so, that literary side is no easy place; my “To-Be-Read” list is flooded with recommendations from lovelorn TikTok creators. “One Day in December” appeared too frequently to ignore.

The novel takes place in well-known areas in London – namely Borough Market and Camden High Street – where best friends Laurie and Sarah decide to live together following college graduation. 

One snowy day in December – true to the title – Laurie peers through the frosted window of a classic London bus and observes a man waiting at the stop. Of course, Laurie immediately knows this stranger is the love of her life. 

Photo used with permission from Ballantine Books

It is a typical love at first sight: eye contact seems too intense to be ignored and the world seems to melt away in a whirlwind of glitter and rainbows. There is expected hesitation when both see their future together flash before their eyes, before the bus continues to the next stop. Inevitably, Laurie is left with the emptiness of regret as days turn into months and she still has not found the supposed man of her dreams. 

Laurie searches bars, bus stops and everything in between to find the potential love of her life. A year elapses, and she has almost given up hope of finding him. But, when Sarah decides to bring her new boyfriend to their annual Christmas party, Laurie realizes an introduction is not necessary. The man Sarah has been raving about for weeks has the same face Laurie has been trying to find for a year. 

Despite her questionable choices when it comes to honesty, Laurie is nevertheless likable with complex motivations. ”

The chapters that follow take place over a decade as fate continues to take its unpredictable course. From new romances to lingering jealousy and familial tragedy, Silver framed this novel with a gripping plot, diverging from its fellow chick flicks.

The writing style of “One Day in December” also contributes to its easy readability, with the novel progressing from Laurie’s authentic first-person perspective. Despite her questionable choices when it comes to honesty, Laurie is nevertheless likable with complex motivations. 

Despite its easy readability, the dialogue remained an unrealistic aspect of the novel that detracted from the plot. For instance, one of Laurie’s boyfriends gave her the nickname “Starfish” after they met on the beach. I simply could not take deep conversations about love and jealousy seriously when he kept referring to Laurie as a species of marine invertebrate. 

Consequently, moments that could have been remarkably emotional and riveting often left me disappointed following yet another awkward conversation muddled with cliches.

“One Day in December” is designed for those who still wake up with a pair of rose-colored glasses on, even when life’s labors continually take their toll.”

Moreover, there is a degree of unpredictability in which a reader feels subjected to the likes of a “Debbie Downer” skit on Saturday Night Live; just when I thought Laurie finally pulled herself together, another disaster would come flying out of nowhere. 

With that being said, this novel has an emotional capacity far deeper than I anticipated from a book circulating the For You Page. Although, after “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller, I should have been aptly prepared. 

“One Day in December” is designed for those who still wake up with a pair of rose-colored glasses on, even when life’s labors continually take their toll. It is perfectly suited for a bit of self-indulgent romance before Valentine’s Day comes anxiously knocking on the door.

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