Review: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

one-plus-one“One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You
American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted Stateside she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation Me Before You. Now, with One Plus One, she’s written another contemporary opposites-attract love story.
Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.
One Plus One is Jojo Moyes at her astounding best. You’ll laugh, you’ll weep, and when you flip the last page, you’ll want to start all over again.” – Publisher Summary

I became an instant fan of Jojo Moyes after reading her breakout hit, Me Before You, last year. I was more than pleased, then, to recently have the opportunity to read and review her newest hit-to-be, One Plus One. A modern day Cinderella story, One Plus One features Jojo Moyes at the romantic, humorous, tear-jerking top of her game.

Jess is a single mother raising her stepson and her mathematically gifted young daughter. Working as a cleaner at the local seaside estates, money is tight – very tight. When her daughter, Tanzie, is offered a position at a prestigious private school that will nurture her intellectual gifts, Jess is devastated that the family is unable to afford the necessary fees to allow Tanzie to attend – until she hears word of the Math Olympiad, which offers a $5,000 prize to the winner. With Tanzie’s math abilities, success is a sure thing! Now, how to get there…

Ed is a highly successful software developer recently accused of insider trading. He is hiding out at his seaside estate where he meets Jess as she is cleaning. Things don’t start of on a high note. Days later, Ed is driving home one evening and sees a family of three standing at the side of the road next to a broken down car. You guessed it – it’s Jess and the kids, attempting to make their way to the Math Olympiad. Feeling sympathetic and guilty, Ed offers to take the family there on the spur of the moment – something he strongly suspects he is going to grow to regret.

The foursome embark upon a trip that normally would have taken one day, but instead takes several given the fact that Tanzie, er, upchucks if riding in a vehicle at a speed of more than 40 mph. Along the way there is much humor as the two worlds of Ed and Jess collide and they grow ever more comfortable with each other. As always with Jojo Moyes, romance sparks but Jess has a secret – one she’s almost forgotten – that could blow everything out of the water should it come to light. Will this unlikely foursome make it to happily-ever-after?

First of all, I will have to say that this novel will never compare to the magical, romantic, beauteousness that is Me Before You. Once you let go of that expectation, you will find that One Plus One is a wonderfully sentimental yet comic love story. I was unexpectedly brought to tears on more than one occasion. Moyes writes of Jess’s economic situation with a desperation and devastation that was very real to me, and as a single mother myself, was frightening to think of for very long. The gentle humor Moyes infuses into each scene brings a smile to the reader’s face even while there are tears in one’s eyes. You want this family to win. You want Jess and Ed to end up together. You want this to be a happy ending. It’s up to you, my friends, to find out if that happens or not. Prepare yourselves for a trip to the bookstore on July 1st!

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes is in stores and online July 1, 2014. Buy it, read it, love it.

4 stars

Penguin/Viking – Pamela Dorman Books {via NetGalley}

 

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