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on 7 September 2014
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on 11 August 2014
This was the daftest book that I've read in a long time. I can only imagine the response of an agent or publisher if this was submitted by an unpublished author. It certainly wouldn't have resulted in a contract.

JoJo, when you are trying to write about a quirky character, try not to make her sound completely stupid. Bear in mind this woman is supposed to be living in complete poverty, her ex husband's Rolls Royce lies abandoned in the garage and she's too nice to sell it, even though he doesn't pay maintenance and is clearly living with another woman. So then when her daughter enters a Scottish Maths competition in Aberdeen (with its re-sit in Basingstoke...) our heroine dismisses the idea of a coach or train as too expensive and puts the entire family in the untaxed, uninsured Rolls Royce which hasn't been moved for years and sets off to drive to Aberdeen. Just out of interest, JoJo, do you have any idea how much petrol a Rolls uses? Why would someone reject the coach as too expensive and decide it would be cheaper to drive a Rolls?

And how long was that journey? If it was 500 miles and the child couldn't travel at more than 40 mph (hmmm...) then the journey could be done in one long day. Why did it take the best part of a week? Arrgh that whole journey made me so annoyed.

And how could the heroine forget that she'd stolen money from the guy giving her the lift? Most people would be mortified, scarlet with embarrassment the whole time, but not her!

I usually like JoJo Moyes' books but this one was just ridiculous. Her agent and publisher have to take some blame for allowing such a daft book to be published.
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on 27 February 2014
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.
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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.
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on 19 May 2014
I've read several books by this author and enjoyed all of them. This one seems to be the exception! I took it on holiday and was looking forward to a good read but was sorely disappointed. This is a modern day fairytale romance which stretches credibility to the absolute limit, totally unbelievable plot, totally unbelievable characters. It really was very silly. I'm just surprised that Jo Jo Moyes even wrote it let alone got it published!
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on 21 January 2018
This front cover is very simple with the author's name and the title in a big circle; which then draws your eye to the family; who are standing in a row, with their backs to the reader. And a lovely dog in the middle.
The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes is a story about a single mother, called Jess. She has a daughter; Tanzie who loves everything maths and her teenage stepson Nicky; who is being brutally bullied and can only seem to rely on her. Her ex and their father Marty is really no help at all. So Jess has to juggle two jobs, the children and the constant money worries all by her self.
Jess receives a phone call from Tanzie's school teacher informing her of her daughters gift with numbers. He really thinks that Tanzie could really benefit from getting a scholarship at a private school; where they would embrace and encourage her talent for maths. The only problem is she needs to come up with the money to send her there, and knowing how much her daughter would really like and benefit from this wonderful opportunity.
From the start it's clear that Jess can't come up with the money and Marty is no help at all. But Jess receives another phone call from Tanzie's teacher, as he knows of her situation he thinks he may have an idea of how to get the money to sent Tanzie to the private school. Their is an Olympiad in Scotland; a competition for students gifted in maths and the prize money would be enough to send Tanzie to the privet school. Her teacher thinks Tanzie has got a really good chance of winning. The problem they now face is not only getting there but doing it on a shoe string. Jess finds herself and her family getting into a difficult position, when Mr Nicholls reluctantly offering his help! But will Jess accept? Will Jess get to the bottom of Nicky's bulling? Will Tanzie get to the competition at all? They have to face a few heddles alone the way, but will they be able to get over them?
I think Jess and Mr Nicholls are drawn together because they both find themselves going through difficult times and in- advert ally helping each other through them and is this the start of something? I also really liked that Mr Nicholls saw how much Nicky loves technology and encourages him to come out of his shell, that was quite sweet, I think he saw a bit of himself in Nicky! I found all the characters to be intriguing and complex, which really helped me to carry on reading till the end of the book. But, having said that I did feel for me it was quite slow in pace. The rating for The One Plus One is purely because this particular story wasn't really for me, that's all. I do plan to read more of Jojo's work in the future, and actually have two books in my to-read pile!!!
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on 7 July 2014
Enjoyed Me Before You and had hoped it would be as good but not to be. As a big animal lover i couldn't bear to read it after 75% of the story after the obvious happens..... Terrible!!!!
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on 5 February 2017
I surprised myself and really enjoyed The One Plus One. I’m not the biggest reader of women’s fiction, if you look at my book shelves you’ll find a lot of classics, some YA back from when I was a YA, and an awful lot of crime thrillers. I’ve already read a couple of crime novels this year so I thought it was time for a bit of a change and this one has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while.

I’ll be honest I really struggled to get started with this one, the first two books I’d read this year I was picking up at every free moment, staying up late to read just one more chapter, to begin with this didn’t happen with this book. It certainly wasn’t that it was badly written it just wasn’t what I normally choose to read, but I was determined this year I was going to read more outside my norm so I persevered and slowly but surely the book grew on me and I ended up making it through the 500 and something pages in just a couple of days.

The One Plus One has 4 main characters:

Jessica Thomas, a single mother living on a council estate, working a couple of jobs and trying to do the best she can for her daughter and stepson

Nicky, the son of Jessica’s ex (Marty) who came to them when he was 8 and stayed when his dad left. A shy teenage boy who doesn’t fit in and his bullied by the Fishers – that family from the estate

Tanzie, Jessica and Marty’s daughter. Still at primary school Tanzie is a maths genius who much like her big brother doesn’t fit in with the other kids on the estate.

Ed Nicholls, Ed is an IT geek, but a successful one, or at least he was until he’s accused of insider trading and life as he knew it fell apart.

Each chapter of The One Plus One focuses on one of these 4 characters. Jessica was such an easy character to warm to, she was still in her teens when Tanzie was born, and when Nicky needed it she willingly took him in, she works so hard to try and give her kids the best she can I defy anyone not to be rooting for her within the first few chapters. Nicky at the beginning of the novel is constantly bullied by the Fishers and is incredibly withdrawn, the first chapter focusing on him is literally a sentence long, as you learn more about what he’s going through you’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel for him. Tanzie is perhaps my favourite character of the four, when I was at primary school I was a bit of a maths geek too, though not as much of a prodigy as she is, so I found it very easy to connect with her, I was lucky enough to have friends at school but I found it very easy to put myself in her shoes. Finally Ed… At the start I really didn’t like him, he was a partner in a software company, recently divorced from an Italian model he sleeps with the woman that both he and his best friend had a crush on at university. She’s not what he thought she would be and so he gives her money and suggests she buys shares in his company so she can pay of her debts and go travelling. Ed ends up being charged with insider trading “ha, he deserves it” I thought. However turns out he’s a grower, and by the time they’re halfway to Scotland to get Tanzie to her Maths Olympiad you can’t help but hope that things will work out for them.

There are a lot of twists and turns along the way. Jojo Moyes manages to create a great connection between the reader and the characters and you can’t help but every single one of the ups and downs along the way, there’s humour throughout, and you can’t help but smile after spending days cramped in a car with 2 kids and a rather large dog, Jessica and Ed realise that actually while they’re both a bit weird they kinda like that about each other, and your heart breaks when something Jess does early on comes back to haunt her, it was enough to keep me turning pages until the end.

Would I recommend it?

Without a doubt. The One Plus One is completely out of my normal reading zone. I’d heard of Jojo Moyes before, it was hard not to with all the publicity for the film version of Me Before You, this was the first book I’d read by her but it won’t be the last. I will confess that I perhaps slightly looked down on what might be considered ‘chick lit’ while I certainly can’t claim to only read books of the highest critical acclaim and have shelves full of Tolstoy and Chekhov I was a book snob. Jojo Moyes has completely changed my opinion. This sort of book will probably never stand up there alongside Shakespeare but who says it has to? This book is a incredible enjoyable read. Jojo Moyes has created characters who are perfectly flawed, people you can really identify with and you genuinely want life to work out for Jess and Ed. And you know what with all the current uncertainty in the world sometimes you just need to escape into something with a happy ending, and you have to hope that in life sometimes doing the right thing and trying your best will pay off, even when you think everything is falling apart around you. As Tanzie says at the end ‘sometimes you just have to keep going’
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VINE VOICEon 5 October 2014
Imagine yourself in a car, with your daughter, your step son, a rather large slobbering dog and a man you hardly know. What would it be like? Then drive from the south of Britain to Scotland. Avoiding all motorways and not exceeding a speed limit of 40 miles of hour, it all sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Actually it turns out to be the turning point for Jess Thomas.

Jess is trying to hold her life together, she has two jobs and two children who are frightened of life, step son Nicky is being bullied and is trying to be different in a world that wants you to fit in with a stereotype. Tanzie, is a young maths whizz and has the opportunity to better her future by going to a private school. Trouble all of this needs money. Jess sees an opportunity and makes a decision.

Ed Nicholls has money, in fact he has quite a lot of money. But Ed has made a mistake and any decisions that he once made are taken away from him, he has nothing now.

Thrown together in this car, they discover who they are and also a lot about each other and what is important in life and it seems the answer might not necessarily be money.

Trouble is, money is what Ed has and Jess is in need of it. Can they both look past this?

This is the first Moyes that I have read, and was the choice of my book club. The main part of the story is the car journey and for me, I found this both moving and funny. I admit to laughing out loud to some of the things that Tanzie says. Her maths brain never seemingly being able to switch off. However outside of this car journey, it did rather slow down for me and sort of lost its momentum in moving the story on. It is at these points I felt the book could have been a lot shorter than it actually was and I could not really believe that Jess could let her husband walk away for two years without actively trying to do something about it. She was determined to do right for her kids why not her husband? That was probably the only part where I felt that actually maybe this was not quite believable, but this is only a small point and my opinion.

What I can say about this book, is how it is very much a book of its time, the main characters are human they have strengths and weakness and Moyes shows how all these things shape a person and how they can ultimately help you change and find out who you really are and want to be. That was certainly the case with Nicky. We see how social media and technology is playing a dangerous part in our lives, Nicky seems to be the victim of such behaviour. Families are no longer the two point four children they are an amalgamation of the various parts of our lives and somehow it works, even for Jess in the end. Even the slobbering dog has a part to play is the new family life.

Yes this is a book about romance at its core and sometimes that is all a book needs, but not in this case it gives you more and shows you that togetherness is important and the people around you who you love. Money can only enhance it, it cannot bring it. A book of 2014 and if you want to know about social culture then this would be a good example.
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on 29 March 2014
This is the second of Jojo’s books that I’ve read. The first was Me Before You and it absolutely killed me. I was heartbroken for the last half of the book crying full on massive tears so that coupled with what I’d heard about this book before I read it, I knew to expect another fantastic read and another absolute tear jerker.

The story is all about Jess and her family as the struggle to make ends meet every day never mind every month, and how the “the kindness of strangers”, one in particular, has an impact on her life.

This story is that of a modern family. One quote from the book which really stuck with me was this…

“That’s how families are, these days. It’s not all two point four.”

Jojo has depicted an issue that many people in the UK, and the wider world face on a daily basis. We all hate a 5 week month, and are always complaining that we are skint but there are families out there who actually have nothing. Not a thing. Jess is one of those mothers scrimping and saving, robbing Pete (the electricity bill) to pay Paul (the rent). It really hits home and sets a rhythm for the rest of the story.

You read the story with a massive sense of empathy for Jess and the delicacy with which Jojo has written her story you can really imagine living it. The harsh reality is not played down to make nice reading but it balances against a sense of hope you have from start to finish that everything will end well for the family.

On the opposite side of the tracks you have Ed. Ed has a self made fortune and although at first when he enters Jess’s life it feels like he thinks that he is above the lowly cleaner and that they are in totally different societal leagues it turns out that actually Ed has a lot to learn from Jess and there is probably a message in there for every reader, whether it’s to appreciate what you have in life, remember that doing a small kindness for someone may make a monumental difference to them or even if it’s simply recognising the fact that not everyone is as fortunate as you – there is something to be learned.

I read through this book in a day and not because it was particularly short but more to do with the fact that I couldn’t put it down. My hope for the story to end well coupled with my intrigue about the development of all of the characters throughout the story made it really keep my interest. I would really recommend this book if you are a fan of chick-lit with a more challenging, though provoking slant and if you enjoyed this then I think you should have a look at Freya North’s book Secrets which The One Plus One really reminded me of.

Erin x
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