81 of 88 people found the following review helpful
I always get very excited at the thought of a new novel by Jojo Moyes and thankfully I wasn’t disappointed in this one.
Jess’s life is a mess – her ex has left her with two kids (and a smelly dog) to bring up, cash is in very short supply and she’s juggling two jobs just to stay afloat. When her mathematical genius daughter Tanzie gets a chance to enter a competition with a huge cash prize, Jess will stop at nothing to get her there. Meanwhile Ed Nicholls is also going through a bit of a rough time. Tricked into a spot of insider trading by a dodgy girlfriend, he faces losing the software business he built from scratch as well as the affluent lifestyle that went with it.
When Jess and Ed’s worlds collide, a very entertaining road trip ensues. Jojo Moyes writes with such warmth and empathy that you can’t help but like the characters she creates, even if their actions are infuriating and frustrating at times. She manages to infuse her storylines with some heartwarming moments and feel-good vibes, without them becoming sickly or over-sentimental. Although both Jess and Ed’s lifestyles are nothing like mine, I still believed in them and was rooting for them almost from the off. There are some very funny moments (mainly thanks to Norman the flatulent hound) but at times it’s also quite a poignant and thought-provoking read.
My favourite Jojo Moyes novel is still Me Before You (which would take some beating) but that said I was thoroughly entertained and amused by this very engaging tale.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2014
I loved Me Before You and was thrilled to see that Jojo Moyes had written something else for me to devour. This is quite different, however.
As with all great books, this is character-driven and is told from not just one point of view, but from that of (almost) everyone involved, chapter by chapter.
The basic story revolves around a road trip, but on a much deeper level is the brilliantly-observed interplay between the characters: Jess, the single mum in financial straits, Nicky, the `goth' stepson who is searching for his `tribe', Tanzie, the gifted maths genius, desperate to win a place at the school of her dreams, Mr Nicholls, who becomes inadvertently involved with the family (and is not without his own problems) and Norman, wonderful Norman, the family dog.
There are so many problems for this family to contend with that the reader becomes nervous about the prospect of resolution, but Jojo Moyes does it with flourish. This is a tale of hardship, trust, romance, psychology, relationships... and will make you laugh and make you cry.
And Norman. Don't forget Norman. You will adore him!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2015
I bought this as I am a JoJo fan having read many of her other books. If her name had not been on this book I would never have believed it was written by her. It's complete tosh. I realise that is harsh but the only reason I gave it two stars was because I didn't want to be too unkind. The story is nonsense. It's full of holes and frustrations where you find yourself screaming 'that would never happen'. The frustration in the plot (and the use of the word plot is questionable), is that you know that it would not be like that. In the end I just became irritated that the author would treat her readers like this. Oh also there is not one of the characters that I liked or even felt for. I struggled to believe that they would ever exist and come together in anyone's world. I have probably wasted my time writing this as there are so many five star reviews that they will end up higher in the listing but this is truly my honest opinion and I am a disappointed reader. I expected the best and think I got the worst of JoJo.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2014
This is the position I adopted last Sunday when I started and finished The One Plus One by JoJo Moyes. I met JoJo (I know, shameless name dropping) at the Henley Literary Festival (see here), she came across as extremely passionate about her writing and when she spoke about this book, it made me want to read it at once.
Jess is a breadline single mother to a misunderstood teenager and a maths genius. When Tanzie (the genius) gets the chance to go to a private school and fulfil her potential, Jess needs to find £2000 to pay the fees which the scholarship won't cover. There's a maths olympiad in Aberdeen whose prize will more than cover the fees, so all Jess needs to do is get there.
Ed started his own software company with his best mate from University, he's well off owning a summer home in Jess's home town on the south coast. But things start to go wrong, he's facing criminal charges and his company is taken away from him. A string of bizarre coincides lead him to give Jess and her family a lift to Aberdeen, a journey which changes everyone's lives.
I was really interested in the concept of this novel, an enclosed car journey with near total strangers made even more unbearable by a flatulent dog. The situations are hilarious and made me laugh out loud at points, the characters are really likeable and the plot (and sub-plot) has twists and turns to keep you guessing.
This is an easy read, but it's not your typical chick-lit. How all the endings get sewn up isn't obvious (one made me gasp with disbelief) and all the characters have flaws, no perfectly coiffed hair and yummy-mummy outfits here.
My favourite minor character was Des, the landlord of The Feathers:
Des, the landlord, has never been seen in anything but faded tour t-shirts, jeans and if it was cold, a blouson leather jacket. On a quiet night, if you were unlucky, he would detail the merits of a Fender Stratocaster against a Rickenbacker 330 or recite with a poet's reverence all the words to 'Money For Nothing'.
This takes me right back to my childhood (in a good way), my Dad played Dire Straits non-stop and I'm sure he had a blouson leather jacket too :-)
I have one criticism of this novel, is it believable that Ed gives Jess a lift to Aberdeen? I kept questioning this during the road trip and I'm not sure it is, I leave you to make your own mind up on that one. But if you can suspend your disbelief, I'm sure you'll enjoy this as much as I did.
This is my first JoJo novel and I will definitely be reading more.
109 of 123 people found the following review helpful
There's 'chick lit' and then there's 'chick lit' (sorry - I dislike the term too). Some I wouldn't touch with a bargepole - I like a bit of 'meat' and depth which is often lacking. Since reading a World Book Night copy of 'Me Before You', I've mentally added Moyes to my list of 'willing to try more' writers. This sounded promising.
And it was. Even though at the heart of it is a basic boy-meets-girl, it's really a story about families. As with Me Before You, it starts with a rich, successful businessman and his life-changing problem - computer whizz-kid Ed is accused of insider trading and banished from his joint directorship while the case is investigated. A million miles away on a council estate, Jess is struggling with two jobs, two children and no child maintenance from her estranged husband. Working in a pub and running her own cleaning business, one of her customers one day rudely shuts a door in her face, having a bad day of his own.
It's a pure romantic-movie shuffle that get these two main characters into the same scene. And then another. It's the kind of story where you WANT certain things to happen, and the characters are well-enough written for you to feel you know who they are, you understand them, you want things to turn out well for them.
This applies to the other two main characters - just as important to the story are the children. Teenage Nicky is everything a typical teenager often is - withdrawn, sullen, introspective. Favouring gothic make-up, he becomes a target for a vicious local family. Younger Tanzie is also struggling in her surroundings, having an affinity for mathematics but no way of climbing out of the local school system in which Jess knows she'll also become a victim. Nicky's growth in particular through the book is one of the most enjoyable facets of the story. Tanzie adds a lot of the humour and heart to the story. As does the drooling, shedding and rather flatulent dog mountain, Norman.
And the story turns on Tanzie - a maths competition in Scotland forces Jess's story away from the council estate, it could raise the money to send Tanzie to a private school where she could thrive. But how can they get there?
Jess is impossible to dislike. She's hardworking and self-sacrificing, ever-optimistic, and just trying to make ends meet and scrape together a decent life for her small family. Her relationship with Ed is believable - he's shaken into awareness of those around him by her response to his rudeness and his growing admiration for her and her children allows him to see both his own personal problem and tense family situation in a clearer light. Ed is not a perfect hero, but with flaws and tics (wearing identical clothes every day to avoid the effort of planning an outfit) he's also hard to dislike.
We have a family drama, a road movie, a tentative romance, all bound up in a car with our four characters (and of course Norman), in which each of them go on their own little journey inside the slowly northbound car. At times you don't want the road trip to end. I really came to like the four of them, could see each of them clearly as I read, and knew just what I wanted to happen.
And at the end (no spoilers), I was pleased with how Moyes chose to bring the strands together and settle the story. Realistic and without sappiness.
If you're a fan already of Moyes, you'll continue to be pleased. If you've never tried her, I can recommend this if you are looking for something that isn't a difficult read, treads a well-worn path with style and humour, and entertains with a touching little family love story.
Review of a Netgalley advance copy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2014
We open up the tale with Jess & Nathalie, Jess is our main character, well one of them, and Nathalie as they go about their job, cleaning. They are chatting and giving the reader an insight into Jess's life. The next few chapters bring in Tanzie, Ed and Nicky, each chapter has a name underneath the chapter so you know which person it is coming from or focusing on. The view point alternates between first and third person, this is done with ease though and actually adds to the joy of the story.
Jess is struggling to make ends meet, her husband is trying to sort himself out at his mothers whilst Jess keeps the home, finance and kids going. Working herself to the bone with two jobs, lack of time with the kids and money worries she still manages to maintain a positive outlook. When she gets an opportunity for her daughter Tanzie, to better her life, she will do anything she can to make it work.
Ed is our other big character, he has money, homes, cars and everything a geek could ask for. When his life and routine come to a halt whilst he is investigated and everything he knows is at risk, he meets someone in their hour of need. What follows is a journey that will highlight strengths and weaknesses in each of them and force them to question their chosen paths in life.
Oh.My.God I love this book! I thought after Me Before You I wouldn't be able to 5 star another book by this author as it was their peak book. I was wrong, although this is a totally different kind of book it stirred up a lot of the same responses as Me Before You. Gasping out loud (always a tad mortified when this happens, especially if people are around), smiling, laughter and tears, everything a great book should do. The ARC I got is 436 pages, I devoured it in 6 hours and it would have been quicker but I had to do some things to do in between. I was loath to put it down, I couldn't wait to find out where it was going, what else would come to light and how it played out for the characters. When I read the first few chapters, I wasn't convinced I was going to love it as I thought there might be too many characters. There are 4 centered ones, Ed & Jess are your big characters and Nicky and Tanzie feature heavily too, as well as their daft dog Norman, but as I said, the chapters are titled with their names and it is really easy to follow.
I didn't want it to end, I loved the characters and think there is someone for everyone to relate to. If not someone personally then at least one of the situations. The book covers a host of issues, single mum struggling to make ends meet, misfit kids, the misconception and judgments people make on each other, betrayal, honesty, love and loyalty to name but a few.
I will continue to buy up this authors works and this is a keeper for me! 5/5
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2014
Jess is a single mum struggling to make ends meet for herself, two children and their dog. She lives in a council flat in a poor neighbourhood, she works two jobs and makes her daughter's clothes in an attempt to save money. But despite her best efforts her credit cards are always stretched to the limit and the money worries never leave her mind. So when her daughter, a maths prodigy, is offered a place at a prestigious school that can change the young girl's life and give her better prospects for the future, Jess has yet another thing to worry about. Because while they are offered a ninety per cent scholarship, the most generous one ever given, the remaining ten per cent is still well out of her budget. How can she give her daughter the opportunity the girl so desperately wants and deserves?
Ed is great with computers and he and his best friend Ronan have made a lot of money with the company they set up together. But they are not very good with financials, so they let other people run that side of the business while they still hold a large portion of the shares as the company's founders. Despite several failed relationships things seem pretty great for Ed as he loves his work and the routine it gives him, but when he's accused of insider trading and faces jail time, the world as he knows it falls apart.
Opposed to Jojo Moyes' previous novels I've read I didn't feel an instant connection with this story and the characters. Whereas Me Before You was an emotional rollercoaster and The Girl You Left Behind was that as well as immensely intriguing, The One Plus One was more subtle. At first it read like a formulaic romance novel, as I expected that the poor woman trying to support two children while barely making ends meet would be swooped up and saved by the rich and handsome computer whiz, but of course it wasn't quite a straight forward as that.
First of all, the characters are far more interesting than may initially seem the case. Both Jess and Ed have a lot of depth and their stories are layered, stretching much further than "single mum" and "computer geek". Jess' two children Nicky and Tanzie also take a prominent role within the novel and both have their own unique and very important stories to tell. Nicky's struggles in particular are a very real problem for teenagers in this day and age, and it was heart-breaking to see it all unfold and escalate.
The story itself while slightly slow at the start, as mentioned before, takes the reader by surprise in terms of intrigue and before I knew it the book had become so gripping it was absolutely impossible to put down. In fact, despite its fairly vast size I ended up finishing it in a single day (far too late at night too as reading this novel was definitely preferable to going to sleep).
At times the journey within the pages was reminiscent of the quirkiness of Little Miss Sunshine and other road trip adventures, but while there were funny moments to enjoy for sure, for the most part this was a powerful and heartfelt piece of writing rather than a comedy. It touched upon real problems faced by people just like you and me on an every day basis. Moyes writes about it with a lot of heart and optimism, the latter embodied by the cheerfulness and honesty of the character of Jess who remained a hopeful voice for the majority of the book despite the adversaries she was facing.
Ever since Moyes broke my heart with her astonishing novel The Girl You Left Behind I've been mesmerised by her storytelling abilities. With The One Plus One she once again proves she has that magic touch which can turn a concept that could've been ordinary or dull into something extraordinary and thought-provoking. With inspirational characters and a powerful story she tugs at the reader's heartstrings (the beautiful kindness of strangers as shown within this novel was a particularly moving moment for me) and makes them think about her words and the message underneath long after turning the final page.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
At first glance the characters don't seem to be inspiring. Jessica Thomas was pregnant at seventeen and is a low income single parent mum with multiple jobs; her Goth / Emo "son" Nicky is the offspring of her waster ex-husband and his drug addict ex, and her ten year old daughter Tanzie - Constanza - is a maths prodigy who is destined to go to the same secondary school where Nicky is bullied for being a geek. One of Jessica's jobs is cleaning and this is where the love interest - Ed - is introduced. Ed is a successful software developer who is divorced. His parents sent him to an independent school but that didn't have enough money to send his sister Gemma, who later becomes a social worker. Ed's father is seriously ill but Ed rarely makes the journey to see him. It sounds like a scenario for a Ken Loach film, but hang on, as Jessica says; "good things happen". It centres around a scholarship offer to Tanzie from a local independent school and the problems in funding the shortfall in the fees. A possible source of funding is a maths Olympiad in Aberdeen.
The characters, particularly Jessica, seem drawn from life as though JoJo Myles knew someone well who had been through the endless juggling to make ends meet. If you're a parent with year 6 primary children you may know of national maths contests and, hoping for a scholarship to a good independent school.
Well written, nicely paced and for me, resonances with real life.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2014
First of all I’d like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy of this book to read and give my honest opinion.
For me the whole storyline gave off a homely feel so I found that I quickly felt comfortable with it. The characters were easy to become familiar with and this made me care about them pretty much from the start. Jess and her family’s touching tale oozed realness and I followed their day-to-day ups and downs with interest.
Something I particularly enjoyed was the range of emotions I felt whilst reading, there were heartbreaking moments which had me in floods of tears but there were also lighter moments which had me laughing out loud!
Bullying and the effects it has on a person and those surrounding them was a prominent feature of this book for me, this was one side of the storyline which really pulled at my heartstrings and I felt that the author tackled it sensitively and with care.
My favourite part of the storyline had to be the entertaining road trip, it was so easy to visualise and had me giggling at the awkwardness of the situation.
This was a compelling read that drew me in and wouldn’t let go.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2014
Fantastic!! Couldn't put this book down.
Disappointed when I had finished this book.....it made me laugh and cry it was well written from beginning to end. Great story line.......I loved it. I would like to thank my friends for telling me about this book and look forward to reading more of her novels.