Review: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: One Plus One by Jojo MoyesOne Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Narrator: Ben Elliot, Elizabeth Bower, Nicola Stanton, Steven France
Length: 12 hrs, 19 mins
Published by Penguin Audio on July 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Humor, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars

One single mum
With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it's hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn't. Because you have to . . .

One chaotic family
Jess's gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she'll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess's teenage stepson, can't fight the bullies alone.
Sometimes Jess feels like they're sinking . . .

One handsome stranger
Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it's like to be lonely. And he wants to help . . .

One unexpected love story
The One Plus One is a captivating and unconventional romance from Jojo Moyes about two lost souls meeting in the most unlikely circumstances.

I’m calling it: I officially love Jojo Moyes’ books. One Plus One is my second one. Once again, it’s not a book that I feel like I would normally have liked; it’s not a subject that calls to me particularly. In fact, if I’m objective, this book is rather ridiculous. I probably shouldn’t like it. But, you know what? It just works somehow and I totally love it, the same way I did Me Before You. Basically, Jojo Moyes is a skilled puppeteer of my emotions.

Jojo Moyes excels at characterization. That’s been the case in both One Plus One and Me Before You. She makes me feel for them so much that I totally don’t care if things are melodramatic because I am having all the feels and I need everything to turn out okay. Actually, I may love her books the same way I love kdrama. Do I know my emotions are being manipulated in, often in very tropey ways? Indeed I do. Do I care? NOT ONE IOTA.

I experimented with another Moyes novel on audiobook (The Ship of Brides), but I didn’t dig the narrator, so I quickly shuffled that back into the to-try-in-print-someday pile. One Plus One however was immediately perfection on audiobook. For each of the four third person limited POVs, there is a narrator, and the narrators all fit their characters perfectly. I’m kind of in love with the narrator who voiced Nicky, because he totally sounds like James McAvoy.  This is definitely one of the times where the audiobook enhanced my emotions, rather than distancing them. It takes a third person story and makes it feel like it’s in first person, because the characters are real and talking to me.

The plot revolves around the family unit of mother Jess Thomas and her two kids, Tanzie and Nicky. They’re a “modern family,” the father having left to live with his mom due to emotional problems. Nicky’s not actually Jess’ kid, but the father’s with another woman. From the way Jess treats Nicky, though, you would never guess he wasn’t her biological child. One Plus One is the sort of story which is all about family being what you make and not what you’re born to necessarily. I have a total weakness for this sort of story.

Jess, Tanzie and Nicky have crap lives. Nicky’s bullied because he wears mascara and doesn’t fit in, bullied so badly he had to go to the hospital. Tanzie also doesn’t fit in, mostly because she’s a math genius. Things are looking up when she gets a scholarship to a prestigious local school, but even the 90% scholarship leaves more for Jess to pay for than the family can afford. Thus, the road trip to Scotland with a stranger, Ed, so Tanzie can compete in a maths competition.

So the riding with a stranger bit? Ed happens along at the right time and offers to help against his best judgment. In the end, though, spending time with Jess’ family is just what he needs to get over his first world problems. His life is fucked up, but it’s still cake compared to what Jess is going through. He’s able to get out of his own head a bit and realize that. Also, I love the way the ship was done and Moyes is a genius for getting me to ship a couple that’s known each other so briefly but thinks they’re in love.

As I said, it’s melodramatic, a term I break out only for the stuff that’s reaching One Tree Hill levels of scandal and bad things happening. Seriously, everything bad that can possibly happen occurs to Jess. It’s over the top. Then it all resolves into an HEA like magic. Literally like magic, View Spoiler ». So I do judge the plot a bit, but I also totally bought into all of it emotionally.

There you have it. One Plus One is an emotional, adorable, British read. My head has some concerns, but my heart loves it wholeheartedly. Also, the audio is perfection.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif james mcavoy dancing

2 responses to “Review: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes”

  1. Laura says:

    I just got this book because I loved her Me Before You but I haven’t started it yet. I will now!

  2. Carol says:

    I just had to comment on your review. It perfectly described my feelings while listening to it and then when finished, trying to figure out why I loved this book so much.
    You mentioned that this type of book isn’t one you would normally be drawn to. My sentiments exactly. Yet, I loved it.
    I also loved (need a new adjective) the narrator who voiced Nicky. His voice is almost exactly like James McAvoy.
    I also thought the young narrator who voiced Tanzie did a remarkable job as well.

    Thanks for the great review.

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