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.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Penguin Group|
|File size:||2 MB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***
Copyright © 2014 by Jojo Moyes
Ed Nicholls was in the creatives’ room drinking coffee with Ronan when Sidney walked in. A man he vaguely recognized stood behind him, another of the Suits.
“We’ve been looking for you,” Sidney said. “Well, you found us,” Ed said.
“Not Ronan, you.”
Ed studied them for a minute, then threw a red foam ball at the ceiling and caught it. He glanced sideways at Ronan. Investacorp had bought half shares in the company a full eighteen months ago, but Ed and Ronan still thought of them as the Suits. It was one of the kinder things they called them in private.
“Do you know a woman called Deanna Lewis?” “Why?”
“Did you give her any information about the launch of the new software?”
“It’s a simple question.”
Ed looked from one Suit to the other. The atmosphere was strangely charged. His stomach, a packed elevator, began a slow descent toward his feet. “We may have chatted about work. No specifics that I re- member.”
“Deanna Lewis?” said Ronan.
“You need to be clear about this, Ed. Did you give her any information about the launch of SFAX?”
“No. Maybe. What is this?”
“The police are downstairs searching your office, with two goons from the Financial Services Authority. Her brother has been arrested for insider trading. On the basis of information that you gave them about the launch of the software.”
“Deanna Lewis? Our Deanna Lewis?” Ronan began to wipe his spectacles, a thing he did when he was feeling anxious.
“Her brother’s hedge fund made two point six million dollars on the first day of trading. She alone cleared a hundred and ninety thou- sand on her personal account.”
“Her brother’s hedge fund?”
“I don’t understand,” Ronan said.
“I’ll spell it out. Deanna Lewis is on record talking to her brother about the launch of SFAX. She says Ed here said it was going to be enormous. And guess what? Two days later her brother’s fund is among the biggest purchasers of shares. What exactly did you tell her?”
Ronan stared at him. Ed struggled to gather his thoughts. When he swallowed, it was shamefully audible. Across the office the development team was peering over the tops of their cubicles. “I didn’t tell her anything.” He blinked. “I don’t know. I might have said some- thing. It’s not like it was a state secret.”
“It was a fucking state secret, Ed,” Sidney said. “It’s called insider trading. She told him you gave her dates, times. You told her the company was going to make a fortune.”
“Then she’s lying! Shooting her mouth off. We were just . . . having a thing.”
“You wanted to bone the girl, so you shot your mouth off to impress her?”
“It wasn’t like that.”
“You had sex with Deanna Lewis?” Ed could feel Ronan’s myopic gaze burning into him.
Sidney lifted his hands. “You need to call your lawyer.”
“How can I be in trouble?” Ed asked. “It’s not like I got any benefit from it. I didn’t even know her brother had a hedge fund.”
Sidney glanced behind him. The faces suddenly found something
interesting to look at on their desks. He lowered his voice. “You have to go now. They want to interview you at the police station.”
“What? This is nuts. I’ve got a software meeting in twenty minutes. I’m not going to any police station.”
“And obviously we’re suspending you until we’ve got to the bot- tom of this.”
Ed half laughed. “Are you kidding me? You can’t suspend me. It’s my company.” He threw the foam ball up in the air and caught it, turning away from them. Nobody moved. “I’m not going. This is our company. Tell them, Ronan.”
He looked at Ronan, but Ronan was staring fixedly at something on the floor. Ed looked at Sidney, who shook his head. Then he looked up at the two uniformed men who had appeared behind him, at his secretary, whose hand was covering her mouth, at the carpet path already opening up between him and the door, and the foam ball dropped silently onto the floor between his feet.
Reading Group Guide
“Afterward he wouldn’t be entirely sure what had made him stop. . . . Perhaps it was just to convince himself, against all available evidence, that he was not entirely an arsehole” (p. 78).
Jess Thomas doesn’t need to be a maths whiz like her daughter, Tanzie, to know that she’s broke. Ever since her husband, Marty, left two years earlier, the twenty-seven-year-old single mom has struggled to care for Tanzie and her stepson, Nicky, with her meager earnings as a cleaner and bartender. Still, Jess always manages to smile and hold strong to the belief that everything will work out. But when Tanzie gets the chance of a lifetime to attend the posh private school St. Anne’s, Jess—who gets zero child support—has no idea how she’s going to pay for it.
Though Jess’s finances are already strained to their limits, she fears that if Tanzie can’t go to St. Anne’s, her odd, bookish daughter will get bullied at the local school she’s slated to start the next year. Jess has good reason to worry: Nicky—who wears eyeliner and dyes his hair black—is regularly terrorized by a local gang.
She’s already feeling uncharacteristically down when she arrives to clean Ed Nicholls’s beautiful, slate-floored vacation house. Jess finds Ed obnoxious in the extreme, but it feels like the last straw when he rudely slams the door in her face. Ed, a London-based software developer, has big problems of his own: he’s currently under investigation for insider trading, the company he has helped build is under threat, and he has only himself to blame. Yet even Jess’s quite legitimate outrage at his behavior cannot penetrate the wall of anxiety that surrounds him.
When Jess learns of a Maths Olympiad—and a first prize of five thousand pounds—being held in Scotland, she realizes this could be the answer to all of her family’s problems. Packing Tanzie, Nicky, and Norman—their overgrown, flatulent dog—into a decrepit Rolls Royce, she heads for Aberdeen.
But the car gets stuck on the side of the road before they even get out of town, and all seems lost—until Ed pulls up and, in his first unselfish act ever, impulsively offers to help. Ed thinks he’s the one doing Jess a favor, but as they hit the slow road to Scotland, “his stroppy cleaner, her two weird kids, and [their] enormous reeking dog” (p. 95) open his eyes—and heart—in ways he never expected.
The author of the blockbuster bestseller Me Before You, Jojo Moyes has won fans around the world with her unforgettable characters and seamless blend of humor and heartbreak. In One Plus One, Moyes takes readers on the road trip of a lifetime in an irresistibly romantic tale that confirms her reputation as a writer with a rare gift for capturing “the complexity of love” (People).
ABOUT JOJO MOYES
Jojo Moyes is the #1 international bestselling author of Me Before You, The Girl You Left Behind, and The Last Letter from Your Lover,among others. She lives with her husband and children in Essex, England.
A CONVERSATION WITH JOJO MOYES
1. Your characters are fun and quirky and so real. Tell us a little about where your ideas for your characters and their stories come from.
Thank you! Most of my books are inspired by different snippets of things, whether they be news stories or things people have told me. In the case of One Plus One, I’d wanted to write a road trip for ages—and then when I started thinking about the differences between today’s Haves and Have Nots, it suddenly seemed like the perfect thing to put some very different people together. Anyone who has sat next to a stranger on a long-haul flight knows that there’s no better way to find out who someone really is than to be shoved together in close confines traveling for any length of time.
2. One Plus One is a novel in a contemporary setting, just like Me Before You, and some of your other novels are historical, such as The Girl You Left Behind. Do you prefer writing one over the other? How do you decide where and when to set your books?
I often write one in reaction to the last. So The Girl You Left Behind was a huge, sprawling romantic epic that crossed a century and took all sorts of historical research. After that I just wanted to write a tight little emotional comedy set in the modern day with very little research in it. It’s entirely possible that in a book or two I’ll be back to doing something on an epic scale again.
3. Like Me Before You, One Plus One has a love story between two people of very different socioeconomic backgrounds. What draws you to explore that disparity?
Well, Me Before You was basically about class and aspiration. Lou came from a background where you were encouraged to have little of either. One Plus One, on the other hand, is simply about money. I’ve been watching the difference between rich and poor in society grow ever wider, and with One Plus One I guess I wanted to ask: what happens if you have the aspiration, or the talent, but simply don’t have enough resources to be able to climb up to the next rung of the ladder? We’re always being told you can have anything if you work hard enough. Well, what if the deck of cards is really stacked against you? Does that truism still stand?
4. When you form characters, do you ever incorporate aspects from people you know?
If I do, I do it unconsciously! It’s the fastest way to lose friends or upset people I know. But I am an inveterate people watcher (a polite way of saying I’m nosy) and I think I’m always wondering about people I know or know of and wondering why they do what they do and what effect it has on those around them. So I think I pick up a lot of characteristics almost by osmosis.
5. Norman is in some ways the hero of the book. It must have been fun to write about him. Is he based on a particular pet you’ve had?
Norman’s popularity has been something of a surprise to me. I set out deliberately not trying to write a “cute” or anthropomorphic pet. Norman is fat, not particularly beautiful, disobedient, lazy, greedy, flatulent, and drooling. And yet people love him. I very nearly sent him to a sticky end and happened to tweet one night: “I can’t decide whether to kill the dog.” When I woke up I had 100-odd responses, all saying “Don’t kill the dog!” Readers get very attached to their fictional pets.
6. While the stories and circumstances are completely different, Ed in One Plus One and Will in Me Before You are successful men in their fields who have a devastating setback, either professionally or personally, and each meets a woman who helps add some color to their lives and helps them figure out their lives. Is this a coincidence?
I suppose in the case of One Plus One I very much didn’t want Ed to “save” Jess, even though he was financially able to. I wanted her, in the immortal words of Pretty Woman, “to save him right back.” If there is a theme it’s that we all have something to offer one another, if we can bear to open up a little, even if it seems very unlikely initially. I don’t think Ed has any shortage of colorful women (see his ex-wife!), but he is a man with no self-awareness until he meets Jess. She has many more of the traditionally “male” traits: she’s practical, resourceful, fierce, and protective—and she’s good at DIY.
7. Your novels don’t fit a pattern, yet there’s always a love story and often a social issue in play. They are issues many of us face in real life (such as being different and bullying in One Plus One and assisted suicide in Me Before You), and you write about them with humor and present them in a palatable manner. What piques this interest?
I think you’re a pretty blinkered sort of novelist if you can ignore some of the social issues we see around us today. I think it’s possible to write “commercial” fiction (horrible phrase) and still tackle serious issues. But I’ve found over the years that if you leaven it with a little humor, readers are often much happier to tackle the darker subjects, like suicide or bullying or serious disability. That’s how life is, after all—ask any member of the emergency services; they always have the best jokes.
8. Jess teaches her children to be morally upstanding but makes one questionable decision, which threatens to ruin her relationship with Ed. Do you think it’s ever okay to do something ethically wrong, if it’s for a “good” reason?
I have no answer to that question! But it’s one that I do find fascinating. I asked the same thing essentially in The Girl You Left Behind, when Sophie has to decide whether to sleep with the German Kommandant in the hope of winning her husband his freedom (and possibly his life), even though she knows that doing so will probably lose her his love. I would argue that most people who do bad things think they’re doing them for a good reason. History is littered with examples.
9. One Plus One has such a cinematic feel, it would translate really well to film. You wrote the screenplay for Me Before You. Did that experience change the way you write novels? Do you imagine how they would work as a movie as you write?
It certainly made me realize how much slack we leave in them! I have always written “visually”—i.e., I have to play out a scene in my head, almost as if I’m acting it, before I write it, to see if it works. I don’t think the way I write books has changed, as I still do the same thing, but I do perhaps make every scene work a bit harder—asking myself: does it move the story forward? Does it tell us something about the character?
10. What do you hope readers will take away from One Plus One?
First, as with all my books, I hope it just gives them a few hours’ escape to somewhere they hadn’t expected to go—that’s certainly what I want from a book. I hope very much it makes them feel something, whether it brings about laughter or tears. On a wider note, perhaps they might not judge or dismiss those around them quite so swiftly. I heard a really good saying the other day, along the lines of “Be kind, for everyone is battling something you don’t know about.” And I suppose I’d like my books to have a similar message. Although saying my books should have a message makes me sound unbelievably pompous. So maybe just a good read.
11. Your main character, Jess, is a single mom with a blended family. What are some of the challenges this brings her in One Plus One?
I think most families today contain some element of blending. I come from one. But I wanted to write something in which this was not necessarily an issue in itself, just an everyday reality. Likewise, I wanted to write something where the mother was not either (a) dead (check most children’s fairy tales) or (b) problematic or (c) irritating or interfering in some way. I just wanted to write about a family that might not be made up in a conventional nuclear form but was loving and close and a bit different. And as a mother, I really wanted to write a mother who might be flawed but was loving and resourceful and smart and protective—like most of the mothers I know in real life.
12. Jess’s daughter, Tanzie, is a maths prodigy. Girls in the United States still struggle against the stereotype that they are inherently worse at maths than boys. Is this also true in the UK, and do you hope your book will help to empower girls in overcoming this social obstacle?
Yes! And I say that as someone who is pretty hopeless at maths herself. The more books I write, the more I realize I don’t want to write stories in which girls fixate exclusively on how they look or what they buy or whom they fall in love with. I try to write female characters whom someone like my daughter might ultimately be inspired by—girls who actually do things, or get joy from learning or building or traveling. Tanzie, for all her oddness, is completely comfortable in her own skin, almost more so than anyone else in the book—until circumstances tell her strongly that she shouldn’t be.
13. There are some steamy scenes in One Plus One! How do you approach writing sex scenes?
Well, if my editor had got her way, they would have been a fair bit steamier. I do struggle with sex scenes, mostly because of the language. Either you employ biologically accurate terms, which tend to pull the reader up short, and can sound a little startling, or you go with awful euphemisms that make your toes curl. I’m getting a little braver with every book—but it’s hard when you live in a small village. Everyone assumes that you base the scenes on your own life. Weirdly, they never do that with anything else I write about.
- Even though Marty himself is reluctant, Jess opens her home to Nicky, Marty’s son by “a woman he’d dated briefly in his teens” (p. 9), after his birth mother essentially abandons him. If you were Jess, would you be willing to raise Nicky as your own child?
- Aileen Trent sells designer clothes at a cut rate to people who could never afford to buy them in the shops. Since Jess strongly suspects that they are stolen, is it wrong for her to buy a few items for Tanzie?
- Jess takes the money that Ed drunkenly drops in the taxi and decides to use it to pay Tanzie’s registration fees. Would she have made that choice if he hadn’t behaved rudely to her while she was cleaning his house? Does his treatment of her excuse her decision?
- Is it more difficult for the poor to lead law-abiding lives? To what extent is morality a matter of character or circumstance?
- Ed’s parents couldn’t afford to send both Ed and his sister, Gemma, to public school, so they sent only him. Was it a fair decision? Is Gemma’s resentment justified?
- Ed helps Nicky get revenge on Jason Fisher by showing him how to hack Jason’s Facebook page. Since Jason intimidated the witnesses to Nicky’s beating into not speaking out against him, is it a justifiable retaliation?
- At what point in their journey does Ed begin to think less about himself and more about helping Tanzie and her family?
- Does Ed’s ignorance mitigate the seriousness of his crime? Should he have spent time in prison, or do you feel he was given a fair sentence?
- Jess’s mother “had been right about many things” (p. 166), but she never made her daughter feel loved. As a result, Jess makes it her priority as a mother to make Tanzie and Nicky feel loved. What is something that your parents did right? What is something they did wrong that you hope to rectify if you are or plan to become a parent yourself?
- Do you support Jess’s decision to go into debt to pay for Norman’s hospital bills rather than put him to sleep?
- Did Ed’s financial success go to his head, or was he self-centered before he was rich? What did he have to learn about himself in order to forgive Jess?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Loved it. Two people with their own problems are suddenly together. It has you cheering for the underdog and wjshing that karma does get the good and the bad what they deserve
One plus One was an okay read. Typical love story.. Girl meets boy, girl doesn't like boy, girl falls in love with boy, boy leaves girl, boy comes back...ta-da...Happy Ending. Still, even though I knew the happy ending was coming, the over all story held my interest. I finished it, but nothing that shook me up.
A very charming book. Well written and I loved the characters. The characters were very true to life, a mother struggling to do the right thing for her children, the children a little off center and a goofy dog. And not to forget the male character and his connection to the family. The book was very different from Me Before You. It was a delightful and funny book. Ms Moyes other book, The Girl I Left Behind was also very good and very different from this book. She is an excellent writer and brings so much to her books. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and her other books.
I admit it, this is the first novel by Jojo Moyes I've read. Now I've been buying her books along the way, I believe I have three others--but I often don't get a chance to read books I buy when I'm trying to keep up with my review piles. Well I have been missing out! I have to start with the main character Jess! I absolutely loved Jess. Here she is working her bum off to take care of her family--no one helping her, but she could really use the help! She is resourceful, helpful and wants to do right by her kids. She is everything a mom should be. She honestly reminded me of my own mom. We also struggled financially and she just did everything she could to put us first. I was sad for Jess, wanted to cry for all the struggles, yet I was clapping for her and cheered her on because she doesn't want anybodies tears. Then there are Jess' children, Tanzie and Nicky. What great kids and they love their mom. Tanzie is just a sweetheart who loves her Maths. I could completely understand how Jess would do anything she could to help Tanzie get into a good school--I mean I wanted to pull out my own checkbook to help! Oh and Nicky...I just wanted to give that boy a hug! These characters felt so real. Their story felt real. All the mishaps, sadness, joy--life. Moyes captured the beauty of the ordinarily wonderfulness of life. One Plus One is a wonderful novel, with imperfect characters with messed up lives who are just trying to get by. Told in multiple voices (mostly Jess). A book you don't want to miss. One Plus One equals a perfect summer read! Highly recommending.
I really enjoyed this book, well written. Moyes has a great grasp of human character, I felt she was describing my life at times. Only one complaint, I bought this book on Nook and it wouldn't load the last page.
Jess and her messy little family's perseverence inspires. I loved all the characters in this book, and would keep reading if i could. Sad i finished, but i could not put it down!
One Plus One was fabulous, a perfect book with a well written plot line. I don't think I've ever read a chick lit road trip book. This is my first try at Jojo Moyes's writing and it is definitely not my last. The plot was refreshing and definitely unique in the way that the romance was presented as well as the issues the characters face and the relationship between them. It was told from multiple POVs that included the main protagonist, Jess, the love interest, tech millionaire Ed, Jess's math genius daughter and bullied step son. Jess is trying to make ends meet with working two jobs and trying to keep her family afloat. Her husband left her two years ago and hasn't helped with child support because of his "illness" which is apparently depression? anyways, that's not where Jesse's problems end. Her step son is being bullied and beaten up on a weekly basis and her young daughter just got the best opportunity of her life, to go to a private school with a 90% scholarship. However the 10% is still too much money for Jess. The struggle she goes through, trying to figure out a way to make it work, the desperate feeling she experiences is very sad. I really felt sad for Jess, she really was a good mom. She wants the best for both her children, even though one of them isn't even her biological son and was dumped on her, something people that she meets always find confusing. Still, she treats them both equally and with so much love, it makes me teary eyed thinking about it. Ed however, is in deep trouble. He did something stupid and is now being investigated and banned from getting near his company or touching any work related material. One night Ed was driving, trying to occupy his time before he goes full on crazy when he sees Jess and her kids on the side of the road, car not working, and police talking to them. Next thing we know, Ed is driving the whole family to Scotland. What's hilarious is that Tanzie, Jess's daughter, will throw up if she's in a car that's at a speed higher than 40 mile/hr. Also, another someone worth mentioning was the family dog. Even though he doesn't speak (obviously) he had a very big presence in this book and I loved him! The road trip was all kinds of hilarious scenes but witnessing all the people getting closer together, forming connections, trust, and leaning on each other really made me teary eyed multiple times. The relationship between Ed and the kids was especially sweet. One Plus One was more about the people, their issues, and how leaning on each other and trusting each other and opening up your heart to them is sometimes what is missing in your life. Of course a romance in a chick lit is inevitable but I felt that Jojo Moyes focused more on each individual. Not that the romance wasn't good, because it was really well done. I Truly loved her writing and her storytelling style. I already own Me Before You and I am excited to pick it up. I'm definitely going to make it a goal of mine to go through her bibliography and read all her books.
I was drawn to J. Moyes with Me Before You, and searched for more as soon as I finished. This was my second read by Moyes, and quite possibly one of the best books I've ever read. Stick with the beginnning as she pulls the characters to each other; the story made me hopeful for them, and the resolution is glorious! Enjoy!
One Plus One introduces us to Jess, a strong, hopeful, determined mother of 2, and Ed, a tech-savvy rich guy who has gotten himself into some trouble. Jess is raising Tanzie, a math genius, and Nicky, a teenage boy who is having trouble figuring out where he fits in. Jojo Moyes has once again written a story worthy of tears, smiles, and audible aw's. She skillfully wove a tale that took me on a small range of emotions and left me smiling at the end. I expected One Plus One to have a major sad point because that's what I've come to expect from Moyes' novels. However, I was happy to find that the tear jerking moments were nothing close to what I predicted. One Plus One is for readers who love fiction, family stories, and a bit of romance. Highly recommended!! *I received a digital ARC of this title in exchange for my honest review.
Am I the only one who didn't like this? I have read all of Moyes books. Me Before You is one of the best books I have ever read. Her latest book, One Plus One, is not even in the same league. The characters are depressing, I wanted to scream at them the whole time. I was so excited when I heard Moyes had written a new book. If you haven't read her others-do! Don't waste your time with this one
“One Plus One” is a truly beautiful story. As with all of Jojo Moeys’s books I loved it. Drama, humor and tears...excellent!!
Jo Jo never disappoints! Another awesome book I couldn’t put down. Great story line, characters to feel connected with, and a heart warming ending.
This story tugs at your heart. Some people never catch a break but things usually turn out right. You will come to care about Ed, Jessica and her family even Norman.
I love books by Moyes, Delightful surprise every one
Another great read. Couldn't put it down!
I loved this book! I read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes before and loved her style of writing. This book has plenty of drama and romance! I loved the characters and their stories. It was a great chick flick kind of book and would make an amazing movie!
I loved this book so much!!! I read every night, helps me fall asleep. But with this book I just couldn't put it down no matter how late it got. I love how real it is! I could relate as a mom and as a woman with this book, which is refreshing! Jojo Moyes is a very fantastic Author and I hope she keeps writing, mostly due to the fact of I have almost read all the booksshe has written Thus far.
I am not one for chick lit and was concerned I would not like this novel but it crept up and grabbed me. A quick and easy and utterly fun ride. ~*~LEB~*~
I thouroughly enjoyed this book
Well written. This is my third book by jojo Moyes and it does not dissapoint. I really enjoyed the characters. I will be reading more from this wtiter.
Luved!! Great characters, great writing. Laughed and cried, couldn't put it down!