Let me set my reading scene for you this week before I dive into this one, folks. This has been a week of gum in the washing machine (fortunately found it all before loading the clothes into the dryer), almost putting the soap pod into the dryer instead of the wash, moths eating my basil, and having to tackle yard work in really icky heat (our garden was overgrown by TREE sized weeds, most of which I cleared out for the actual planting of the garden but some I left for fun times later).
So yeah, a week of normal, daily annoyances. So it was after an afternoon of sweaty yard maintenance that I treated myself to a LONG soak and dove into Jojo Moyes's latest, One Plus One.
I don't know that anyone can go into a Jojo Moyes book without some sort of expectations at this point - unless you live under a rock and have no access to the RAVE reviews her Me Before You racked up. But I didn't read Me Before You. So while I knew that she was pretty much adored by all of the reading public, I still didn't quite know what I was in for.
Jess has been struggling to make ends meet for ages. She's a single mom caring for her brilliantly maths talented ten-year-old daughter, Tanzie, and her stepson, Nicky, with no support from her ex. She works two jobs and still has to pick and choose which bills to take on first. Nicky is being relentlessly bullied by the neighborhood thug and Tanzie has been offered an almost full ride at a school that Jess still can't afford. So when Jess, a woman who always follows the rules and really is trying to be the best mom she can be, is faced with an opportunity to do the wrong thing for what seem like the right reasons, she's facing a real dilemma.
A local maths competition with a hefty prize could solve all of their problems, but getting there is a trial and a half. Ed Nicholls comes to their rescue but Jess is reluctant to accept his help. After all, he has kind of already helped even if he doesn't know it and Jess's guilt over the whole thing has left her ready to explode.
One Plus One is CUTE! Super freaking cute! I read half of the book in just one sitting and was dying to get back to it when I had to set it down.
All of the characters are wonderful - Ed, who's kind of a sucker (his problems are definitely his own fault even though it's impossible not to feel sorry for him), Jess who's warm and funny as well as resourceful and a little snarky, Nicky who stands out in a crowd but refuses to bow down to pressure, and Tanzie - smart as a whip and hilarious in my opinion. In spite of everything, the all keep going. I just wanted to wrap them all in a big hug!
Style wise I definitely see why so many people love Moyes's work. One Plus One maintains a lightness even in the midst of some fairly serious problems - though I think this one is probably still a bit lighter than Me Before You, all things considered.
Really, this book is just a real delight all around! It's a bit of a feel good read, there are plenty of laugh out loud moments, and I enjoyed every single bit of it!
(Book clabbers, the kind folks over at Penguin have put together a kit to go along with One Plus One. Check it out here if you're interested.)