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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 25 September 2001
I loved this book! As a Lisa Jewell fan, I ordered it instantly and I was glad to find she is up to her usual brilliant standard.
The novel is slightly different from her previous offerings as it is a murder mystery as much as love story. However, the book is character-driven as much as it is plot-driven, and Jewell stil focuses on strong characters and scenes of moving emotion, which are her strength. At first, I felt the book took a while to get going, focusing on the heroine, Ana, travelling to London to pack up her dead sister Bee's belongings. But then the pace really kicked in and I found myself franctically turning pages, desperate to see what would happen next. I finished the book in 48 hours and I guarantee you will too - it's a real page-turner!
Having recently lost someone I loved, I was intrigued by the bereavement theme of the novel. However, it was not nearly as dark as I expected. Though the book initially seems to be heavier in tone than her previous novels, touching on themes such death, AIDS and disability, they are handled very gently and softly. There is a warm sunny feelgood atmosphere to the novel which is one of Jewell's most endearing qualities as a writer. Reading her book is a little like watching 'Friends' or a good romantic comedy at the cinema - you are left feeling uplifted, wishing the sparkling characters whose lives you shared could step from the pages and become real.
Best of all are the characters - all exotically named - Ana, Flint and Lol. At first they all seemed slightly eccentric and I found them a little fantastical compared to the gritty realism of her previous novels. But as the novel progressed, the characters took shape, grew flesh and bones and become real and well-rounded. If I had any criticisms of the novel, it would be that Flint and Ana's love story is perhaps not as strong as Ralph / Jem in 'Ralph's Party' or Dig & Nadine in 'Thirtynothing.' 'Ralph's Party' is, I believe, still her best work, because an ensemble piece was the best way of showing off her skills -the 6 characters from Alamanac Road were all so diverse, allowing her to cover a rich variety of themes and relationships. But 'One Hit Wonder' comes a close second!
A friend of mine was put off buying the novel because she thought it was 'Chick Lit', a genre which has received so much bad press recently. However, I'd assert that Jewell doesn't belong in the Chick Lit genre at all - there is nothing fluffy about her work - no heroines worrying about their weight, or silly jokes, or absurd plots involving weddings or Mr Right etc. Her novels are in a league of their own - they are simply strong, well written popular fiction for both male & female readers of all ages.
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on 30 December 2001
Hands up for Lisa proving twice already that she is more than a one hit wonder. 'Ralph's Party' was a great debut, a refreshing read I just couldn't put down even when I was fighting sleep or on the other hand bumping into fellow Tube riders with the book in front of my face. I bought it for pretty much most of my friends and waited impatiently for Lisa's second offering. 'Thirtynothing' was good too, much closer to 'home'. Being a North Londoner for 5 years now I enjoyed the story even more so. With Lisa's first two books I realized that I loved her style of writing, her great sense of humour, her ability to breathe rich and colourful lives into her characters and remind me why I love London. I just finished reading 'One Hit Wonder' and third time in a row felt sad that I have no more pages to look forward to but have to wait for another whole year when Lisa will hopefully publish her fourth novel. Again she didn't disappoint me, 'One Hit Wonder' is a page turner, a really insightful read, very poignant, very funny and also very wise and quite sad. I liked it's mystery unravelling itself slowly and teasingly, skeletons falling out of a padlocked closet, a journey of self discovery and the romance blossoming amongst confusion, craziness, excitement, sadness, and redemption. I particularly liked Anna, the heroine, I think she is my favourite character out of all three books. I cheered for her getting out of her shell and becoming a confident young woman and I cheered for her... falling in love with London. Bee, Flint, Lol, Gay and Zander are also very strong, interesting characters. I really wished at times to be able to sharp shoot like Zander, punch Gay's lights out, go out for drinks dressed up to the nines with Lol, Anna and Flint....In life things happen for a reason and I am so glad that Lisa Jewell managed to show it in this book. She also yet again succeeded in describing London in such amazing detail with obviously a lot of love for the place so I could actually feel, see, hear and smell the warm, buzzing with activity and various smells lovely summer nights in London. I hope Lisa keeps on writing and reminding us of little things in life which are all a part of the big picture. We tend to forget! Thanks Lisa and well done!
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on 9 January 2002
I have just finished reading One-Hit Wonder after as promised by 'The Times' being in a 'sweaty, addicted reading frenzy' - all I can say is I've got a hell of a lot of sleep to catch up on!!! Lisa's third novel easily joins its Predecessors in being exceptionally well written and thoroughly enjobyable reading. From the moment I read the first line I was utterly hooked. If you can improve on two already brilliant novels - Lisa has done it - well done. I experienced every emotion - it takes a very talented writer to bring you to tears - tears so real you feel you're not really reading fiction at all. I must admit when I first started reading it I thought 'well this is fantastic but where will the romantic coupling come from' - I really thought the book was in the style of mystery fiction but to weave this wonderful romance slowly and carefully into it was an added treat. The suspense is held right until near the very end - which again is real talent - normally with many novels, whilst enjoyable, you invariably guess the outcome very early on. I'm a big fan of this so called 'chic-fic' but Lisa Jewell is surely amongst one of the most talented and unique... Keep up the good work and roll on novel number four!
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on 15 July 2004
I have to confess that i believe one hit wonder is lisa jewells greatest piece of work. One hit wonder breaks the 'chic lit' mould dealing with issues that are deeper then the heroines best friends cheating lying boyfriend and her own dysfunctional family that are common in most novels. Jewell deals with life issues such as death and grief in a way that people can relate to, is funny but does not turn vulgar or disgusting. I was pleasantly surprised that a novel that deals with such serious issues could be done in such a light hearted matter but still seems thought out and inspires pathos in the reader. It is definitely a novel to keep and bring out of the bookshelf and read over every couple of months.
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VINE VOICEon 25 August 2009
One-Hit Wonder is the story of Bee Bearhorn, a young woman who had a number one hit single in 1985, then after all the fuss died down, was never heard of again. The narrative begins as Bee is found dead in her flat, and her estranged half-sister is called upon to collect her belongings.

Ana Wills hadn't heard from Bee for years, mainly due to their mother - a selfish neurotic woman with a knack for treating people like dirt. Ana feels sad that she never got to know Bee better, but finds that going through her things she is discovering more and more about the sister she never saw. Now it's Ana's job to unravel the mystery of the missing cat, her secret country cottage and the weekends away, where everyone she knew thought she was with someone else. Teaming up with two of Bee's closest friends, Ana sets out to get to the bottom of Bee's mad life, and what could possibly have made her do what everyone thinks she did...

This is a lovely book. I actually picked it up because I wanted cheering up and hadn't read the back properly. However, despite the less than cheerful beginning, I was soon hooked into the book. It's paced in such a way that you're drip fed information and are left gasping for more. Every page I read I knew I was closer to finding out Bee's secrets, but it's drawn out and truly keeps you on edge. Fabulous. A good, fun read with some very deep and meaningful themes.
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on 30 June 2005
This book twists and turns throughout leaving you wondering what is around the next corner. The twist with Zander is one of many great plots written into this book. It also shows that mistakes can be resolved one way or another. I read this book in one night because I couldn't put it down. I would love to know how Flint and Ana get on and who can forget Lol, you can really connect with the characters. What a book!
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on 25 October 2001
There's few books that capture the imagine to the extent that they get you searching for details of a ficticious pop star which you expect to find really exist.
The superb story line of One-hit Wonder not only allows for dramatic twists that simply aren't possible in other novels, it almost demands them.
Not many books make me cry. This one did.
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on 13 January 2002
I read this book in one sitting, quite gripped, but, alas, rather in the way one is gripped when gorging on a big box of chocolates in a weak moment. Afterwards, you feel rather sick! I loved Lisa's Jewell's earlier novels (Thirty Nothing, Ralph's Party) and yes---she is an accomplished storyteller--but 'One Hit Wonder' ultimately disappointed me, and left me with a yukky, gooey feeling---all the wit and irony of the earlier books has been replaced by sentimentality of an OTT kind. You might even need a sick bag towards the end. Maybe I'm being unkind---lots will love this, esp. those who like Isabel Woolff and other chick lit. gals. If you like Claire Chambers, or even A.S.Byatt---this is not for you!
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on 20 April 2003
I have to confress that before "One-Hit Wonder" I had never read anything from Lisa Jewell, but now I can't wait to read more from her. When I order the book, I thought that it was going to be another "chick-lit" but to my surprise it was alot more.
The book is about Ana, a young woman from Devon who comes to London after the death of her half-sister Bee (the one-hit wonder)to settle Bee affairs. After a while Ana begins to realize that there is more to her sister than anyone would have guessed. And with the help of two of Bee's friends Ana seaches for the truth of the One-hit Wonder.
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on 30 September 2001
This is such a good book that you can hardly put it down. It is better then Ralph's party, easily and almost as good as thirty nothing, an all round sucsess story. This book is four out of five as it'sfunny, romanic and stylish, yet there is not enough of it. You just want to keep on reading and find out what happens next!
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