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One Day follows the story of Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley, who meet and form a friendship as they graduate from university in 1988 and charts the progress of their lives by 'checking in' on their lives annually on the anniversary of the day they met.
This novel contains examples of the following:
- Amicably Divorced: Dex and Sylvie.
- Anyone Can Die
- Better as Friends: What Dex and Emma initially settle on.
- Betty and Veronica: Emma is the Betty to all of Dex's other love interests as Veronicas, while he is the Veronica to her Bettys (Ian especially).
- Bittersweet Ending
- Book Ends: The first day Emma and Dex spent together.
- Brainy Brunette: Emma.
- The Casanova: Dex, especially in his early years.
- Disposable Fiance: Ian. Their relationship is shown to be one more of convenience than passion.
- Hot Dad: Dex becomes one.
- Ladykiller in Love: Eventually.
- Mood Whiplash: From heartwarming to tearjerker in the space of one traffic accident.
- Romantic False Lead: Several. Ian and Sylvie are the most prominent.
- Romantic Runner-Up: Ian again.
- Shotgun Wedding: Implied between Dex and Sylvie once she got pregnant.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Sort of. Their timing is off, and often when one is single the other is not, but also they both need to go through a significant amount of Character Development before being mature enough to handle their own relationship.
- Uptown Girl: Inverted. Dex comes from a wealthy, upper-class family and Emma from a more modest background.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Emma calls out Dex on his shallow, party-boy lifestyle. As does his mother.
- Will They or Won't They?
- Your Cheating Heart: Sylvie cheats on Dex with his boss.