July 3, 2014

You Just Need to Find Your People

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Penguin | Pamela Dorman Books
Pages: 384 pages
Source & Format: NetGalley; e-ARC
Amazon | Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
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.

Thoughts on One Plus One
I don't even know where to start with One Plus One, but I guess this is as good a place as any: Jojo Moyes has done it again! I usually roll my eyes when a book's summary ends with a line like this one, but it's actually true for this book: "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."

Seriously, doesn't that sound like promotional copy language? AND YET EVERY WORD IS THE TRUTH.

I fell in love with Moyes after reading Me Before You and The Girl You Left Behind last year, and then I thoroughly enjoyed The Last Letter from Your Lover earlier this year. If I hadn't been convinced before, I certainly was after that third book: Jojo Moyes is one of my very, very favorite authors OF ALL TIME. I keep thinking that she's write something that disappoints me, and then she just goes and exceeds all my expectations.

Jess's life hasn't turned out the way she imagined. She got pregnant really young, dropped out of school and got married. Her husband's child from a previous relationship moved in with them, and then her husband left because he was suffering from depression. The kids, Nicky and Tanzie, stay with Jess, and she cares for them in the best way she knows how. She's working two jobs to try and make ends meet, her husband isn't contributing anything, Nicky is being bullied and Tanzie is a math genius with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to go to a prestigious school and compete for a generous financial reward.

There's no way she can get Tanzie to the Math Olympiad on her own. At one of her lowest moments, unexpected help arrives. Ed is a tech millionaire with big problems of his own, and he's not sure why he feels so compelled to help Jess and her kids. She may clean his house, but he has no real obligation or vested interest in her life. And so begins an unforgettable road trip...

There are quite a few characters in One Plus One, as well as multiple narrators, so it took me a few chapters before I was really able to enjoy the story. It wasn't confusing or anything - it just took me a minute to grasp everyone's relationship to one another and get into the flow of the story. But once I did? WOAH.

Jess is only 27 years old, but she seems so much older at times. Her life forced her to grow up quickly, but she's managed to retain the most positive and optimistic outlook on life. I seriously just wanted to hug her and high five her at the same time! Nicky is a social outcast, and my heart just ached for him. I wanted him to find, as Ed later tells him, "his tribe." Everyone needs someone to belong to and to feel included and understood. Tanzie is sweet, hilarious and so smart. I didn't even understand what she was talking about a few times, and I'm pretty sure none of the other characters did either. And Ed is this sort of self-centered nerd who has made a mistake that could cost him everything. Offering to drive this band of misfits is totally out-of-character for him, but it's a choice that might just propel him in a new direction.

Honestly, these characters absolutely made this book. I was an emotional basketcase the entire time I was reading, and that only happened because I was so invested in these characters. The multiple narrators worked perfectly, and I had no trouble telling them apart. And I loved the way their different voices and perspectives added so much to the story! It can be tricky to juggle multiple POV, but I should have known that Moyes would do it flawlessly.

The writing is also just so lovely. There were moments where I teared up and others where I was legitimately laughing out loud. One scene in particular had me grabbing my phone to tweet Ellice about how much I was enjoying it. But that was just one moment among so many that I could have talked about! I loved these flawed characters, the awkward but hilarious situations that they got themselves into, the emotional depth in their vulnerability... Basically, this book was perfection.

Moyes was already on my auto-buy list before One Plus One, but she's quickly pushed past many of my old favorites. I highly, highly recommend this book! I can't even compare it to Me Before You because they're so different, but I have no doubt that fans of it will find even more to love in this book. I rarely give out my "So Obsessed With" rating, and this will be the second book in one week to receive that rating! Just trust me when I tell you that you want, need and MUST read One Plus One. You can come back and thank me later.

PS - I can't wait to re-read it. I need all these feelings in my life again!

So Quotable
“Because she knew that something happened to you when your mother didn't hold you close, or tell you all the time that you were the best thing ever, or even notice when you were home: a little part of you sealed over. You didn't need her. You didn't need anyone. And without even knowing you were doing it, you waited. You waited for anyone who got close to you to see something they didn't like in you, something they hadn't seen initially, and to grow cold and disappear, too, like so much sea mist. Because there had to be something wrong, didn't there, if even your own mother didn't really love you?”
*I received this book from Penguin in exchange for review consideration. I was not compensated in any way for my review.

2 comments:

  1. I want to say a million things but I'll simply say that I love you mentioning that you were an emotional basketcase based on your typical reading style. I am almost ALWAYS an emotional basketcase so what on earth does this say for me beginning this book? WHERE DO I SIGN UP? I need a book to capslock and email and text over asap.

    Oh, Jojo.

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  2. You make such a great case for me to read more Jojo Moyes books, and soon. I still cannot believe I've only read Me Before You (which was really good!) until now. One Plus One sounds AMAZING, and I absolutely love that you already feel the need to re-read it after finishing! Plus, the things you've mentioned about falling in love with these characters, and just really getting emotional? Sounds right up my alley. Lovely review, Hannah!

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