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Monday, June 30, 2014

One Plus OneBy Jojo Moyes

Published by Pamela Dorman Books
Release Date: July 1, 2014

*ARC received at BEA


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 that reads like a modern-day Two for the Road.

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.

Review: As a reader I tend to gravitate toward fantasy or historical literary fiction, One Plus One was a bit of a departure for me. I’m really happy to say I enjoyed it. The plot of the novel, a road trip fraught with various mishaps as a family travels to a competition, is reminiscent of the movie Little Miss Sunshine but includes a lot more romance. It’s funny, poignant, sad, romantic in an unexpected way, and I always found it entertaining.
           
One thing I appreciated was the fact that this is not a narrative where the heroine meets a rich man who then solves all of her problems with his money. Cinderella stories are all well and good, but with contemporary romances I prefer to read about couples coming together as equals. This is something that Moyes does very well, as Jess and Ed both have issues that they help each other with, though ultimately they take individually take action to solve their problems. 

Another of the novel’s strengths is the way it presents class issues. Jess is a single mother supporting two children by working two low-paying jobs. They live in a neighborhood with a family whose teens are targeting Jess’s adopted son Nicky, going as far as putting him in the hospital with severe injuries. The constant stress and anxiety caused by this inescapable persecution affects Nicky’s school performance and leads him to consider dropping out entirely. The police are no help or protection, they are dismissive of Jess due to her lower-class status. Jess's daughter Tanzie earns a scholarship to a school that would open up many opportunities for her future, and also allow her to escape the bullying Nicky is facing, but the scholarship does not cover the exorbitantly expensive uniforms and all of the fees. Jess first meets Ed while cleaning his house, and at that point he treats her like a tool, not a person. 

As far as the characters, while Jess (resilient single mother who always tries to stay positive) and Ed (computer geek who has disconnected from his relationships) felt like extremely familiar character types, they were developed and dynamic enough that their characterizations had depth. Nicky and Tanzie, however, are a bit more two-dimensional. Some of the story is told through their POVs, but I found their characteristics a bit on the cliche side. Still, the writing of each POV was distinct, adding many different voices to the narrative.

This story includes car sickness, a flatulent dog, surprise reveals, characters taking responsibility for their actions, characters being mature about divorce, and characters maybe not always following their better natures. I had fun reading this book and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a novel with well-developed romance, a humorous road trip, and some social commentary. I'll have to check out more contemporary novels in the future. 

Four Stars


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Monday, June 30, 2014

Early Review: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

One Plus OneBy Jojo Moyes

Published by Pamela Dorman Books
Release Date: July 1, 2014

*ARC received at BEA


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 that reads like a modern-day Two for the Road.

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.

Review: As a reader I tend to gravitate toward fantasy or historical literary fiction, One Plus One was a bit of a departure for me. I’m really happy to say I enjoyed it. The plot of the novel, a road trip fraught with various mishaps as a family travels to a competition, is reminiscent of the movie Little Miss Sunshine but includes a lot more romance. It’s funny, poignant, sad, romantic in an unexpected way, and I always found it entertaining.
           
One thing I appreciated was the fact that this is not a narrative where the heroine meets a rich man who then solves all of her problems with his money. Cinderella stories are all well and good, but with contemporary romances I prefer to read about couples coming together as equals. This is something that Moyes does very well, as Jess and Ed both have issues that they help each other with, though ultimately they take individually take action to solve their problems. 

Another of the novel’s strengths is the way it presents class issues. Jess is a single mother supporting two children by working two low-paying jobs. They live in a neighborhood with a family whose teens are targeting Jess’s adopted son Nicky, going as far as putting him in the hospital with severe injuries. The constant stress and anxiety caused by this inescapable persecution affects Nicky’s school performance and leads him to consider dropping out entirely. The police are no help or protection, they are dismissive of Jess due to her lower-class status. Jess's daughter Tanzie earns a scholarship to a school that would open up many opportunities for her future, and also allow her to escape the bullying Nicky is facing, but the scholarship does not cover the exorbitantly expensive uniforms and all of the fees. Jess first meets Ed while cleaning his house, and at that point he treats her like a tool, not a person. 

As far as the characters, while Jess (resilient single mother who always tries to stay positive) and Ed (computer geek who has disconnected from his relationships) felt like extremely familiar character types, they were developed and dynamic enough that their characterizations had depth. Nicky and Tanzie, however, are a bit more two-dimensional. Some of the story is told through their POVs, but I found their characteristics a bit on the cliche side. Still, the writing of each POV was distinct, adding many different voices to the narrative.

This story includes car sickness, a flatulent dog, surprise reveals, characters taking responsibility for their actions, characters being mature about divorce, and characters maybe not always following their better natures. I had fun reading this book and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a novel with well-developed romance, a humorous road trip, and some social commentary. I'll have to check out more contemporary novels in the future. 

Four Stars


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