Sunday, February 1, 2015

{Review} ONE PLUS ONE by Jojo Moyes

ISBN #: 978-0525426585
Page Count: 384
Copyright: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

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.

Mandy's Review:

We're in a time period where the definition of "family" has come to mean many different things. There's still the standard, more traditional idea of a family (mother, father, children), but now we support blended, non-traditional families. This is one of the ideas Ms. Moyes uses in this novel.

Jess used to be a wild child who could care less about the rules and that's what her boyfriend, Marty, loved about her. When Jess became pregnant, they decided to marry. The once wild Jess now became a more responsible, careful Jess ... especially when Marty's other child (Nicky) comes to live with them. All of the responsibility was too much for Marty and he left. Two years after leaving, Jess is still trying to be understanding and makes no demands on Marty for child support. She believes he'll make the situation right once he gets back on his feet. In the meantime, Jess still works two jobs and barely makes ends meet.

Nicky continues to live with Jess, even after his father leaves. His mother is a crazy lady whom nobody wants around. When we meet Nicky, he's your typical Goth-like teenager who doesn't like to talk and gets teased by others. Occasionally, he'll even get beat up by the local bullies. Nicky never retaliates, though, and nobody understands why Nicky's so passive. It's because Nicky is wiser than his years. Instead of feeling angry about the bullies, he pities them. Nicky knows that the bullies probably realize they'll never amount to much in life and they take their frustrations out on the first person available.

Tanzie, short for Costanza and the daughter of Jess and Marty, is a 10-year-old math genius. She loves working at math problems and is well beyond her years in this subject. She is presented with an opportunity to go to a private school on a 90% scholarship. The problem is, the balance of the tuition fees is still more than Jess can afford. Their solution? For Tanzie to compete in a Math Olympiad and win the 5,000 pound prize, which would cover a couple years' worth tuition at the private school. The problem? The Math Olympiad is in Scotland, more than one country away from where they live.

Ed has always been a geeky tech guy. He and his buddy Ronan start up a tech company. Over the years, it has grown to the point that they sell it so they only have to worry about writing code and coming up with the next great idea. When you're at the top of your game is when you tend to become too confident in your position and one fatal mistake can bring you crumbling down. That's what happens to Ed in the form of an ex-college friend whom he had always had a crush on but could never speak to. Dating her now shows Ed that all he was missing was a crazy, emotionally unstable female. To let her go gently, Ed gives her a check to invest in some stock that will soon be worth more than it is, allowing her to make money selling it so she can pay off her bills and go traveling.

One Plus One refers to Tanzie's love of math, but it also refers to when two people come together to form a relationship. This novel is emotionally engaging and you find yourself invested in the lives of the characters. I love the interaction between the four people mentioned above. I love how they each have their own dramas, yet they're a perfect blend together. I love how each chapter is in one of the four characters' voice so that the reader gets to know each of them intimately. All around, One Plus One is a satisfying read and is my favorite Jojo Moyes book thus far.

*A hardcopy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

** This also counts towards one of my 2015 Amazing Book Race reads.

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