“You know, you spend your whole life feeling like you don’t quite fit in anywhere. And then you walk into a room one day, whether it’s at university or an office or some kind of club, and you just go, ‘Ah. There they are.’ And suddenly you feel at home.”
I think that part of the reason The One Plus One didn’t receive a higher rating is that I’m simply not really into the genre. Why would I read a book that doesn’t really appeal to me in the first place, would you say? Because I like trying to read a wide variety of genres and Jojo Moyes has been recommended to me repeatedly by contemporary romance fans. (Although Me Before You is always mentioned first). When I saw a copy of The One Plus One at a hostel book exchange a few months back, I decided to grab it and it has been collecting dust on my shelves ever since… I’m glad I finally decided to pick it up, because I can definitely see why Jojo Moyes would appeal to fans of the genre. The character development is more than excellent and the prose is really easy to read. I found some parts of the story quite predictable and even cliche, but the general idea of a road trip where total strangers have to travel together with a huge dog in a car is quite entertaining. The story mixes funny moments with more serious topics and even throws in a moral lesson or two… If you like contemporary romance, I think you will most likely enjoy The One Plus One.
Jess has been struggling to make ends meet ever since her husband went back to live with his mother two years ago. She not only has to take care of her mathematically gifted daughter Tanzie, but also has her stepson Nicky and an enormous dog living with her in her cramped house… Just as she receives the news that her stepson was beaten up yet again by some bullies, she also finds out her daughter has the chance to improve her future by attending an exclusive private school. The problem: Jess can’t really afford to pay for it all even with an almost full scholarship. They will have a chance if Tanzie wins the math Olympiad, but how will they be able to go all the way to Scotland without money? Will the successful Ed really stick to his offer to give them a ride all the way?
Even though The One Plus One is not really my cup of tea, I could still really appreciate the less-than-perfect characters and their development. Sure, some of the plot twists were quite predictable and I wasn’t really blown away by this story, but I think that contemporary romance fans will probably enjoy this novel a lot better. I will definitely try to read another Jojo Moyes novel in the future even though I’m not really into the genre…