The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

6a010536b33b69970b01a511659232970cI received this book from Penguin SA for review consideration.

The One Plus One is my first Jojo Moyes read. I feel like everyone has read at least one of her novels except me, so I started with her latest one. The One Plus One is an unconventional love story and quite an enjoyable read.

Jess Thomas is a single mother. Her husband left her two years ago with 2 kids and she is struggling to make ends meet. She works as a cleaner and has a part time job at a bar to take care of her and her children, which means she doesn’t get to spend as much time with her children as she wants to.

Tanzie, her daughter, is brilliant with numbers and excels at Math. She stands a chance to get a scholarship at a private school that Jess cannot afford. Her stepson, Nicky, is a troubled boy. He has this Goth thing going on and therefore gets bullied by the boys at his school. It gets so bad, that he ends up in hospital. Sometimes all these get too much for Jess, yet she remains positive and cheerful. One remarkable woman she is.

However, she is not without her faults.  People make mistakes and she makes one that involves one of her clients, Ed Nicholls, a rich businessman who she found to be awfully demeaning. Ed is the CEO of his own IT software company who finds himself in a predicament – in the middle of an insider trading scandal.

Jess tries to improve the life of her children and that involves getting Tanzie to go the private school that will provide her the education and opportunities to excel in life. However, she struggles financially and without the help of her father, her only option is for Tanzie to compete in a Maths Olympiad in Scotland that can win her 5000 pounds. So she and her children set out to Scotland, but they found themselves into trouble.

Ed Nicholls comes along and rescues them from the side of the road and offers to drive them to Scotland. Knowing what Jess thinks of him, this might just be the roadtrip from hell. You’re right, it sure starts out like that, with Jess, the kids and one stinky dog in Ed’s expensive car. However, it doesn’t remain that way as they all start warming up to each other, especially Jess and Ed.

This novel is packed with family dynamics and drama. The best part of the novel is definitely the characters, which are well fleshed out and they all seem to be people you can relate to.   There are romance, conflict, family drama, illnesses and struggles. It’s easy to feel sad for Jess and her kids, I sure got really frustrated and angry with how the bullies got away with hurting Nicky. Sometimes, life is so unfair, but there are always solutions, and as Jess believes, it will all work out in the end.  I enjoyed her writing style too, the story flows and there are many elements in the story that brought out emotion in me. The love story is only but one element of the story that made it so enjoyable to read and I think that is why I liked this novel. It’s more than just that – it has believable characters and a story you can really get engrossed in.

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