One Ordinary Day at a Time

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.

Buy this Book on

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Pub Date 10 Jun 2021 | Archive Date 1 Apr 2022

Talking about this book? Use #OneOrdinaryDay #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


‘A beautiful book about unexpected friendships and daring to dream’ Ruth Hogan ‘About a Boy meets Educating Rita… warm and big-hearted’ Sarah Vaughan

Behind every ordinary day, behind every ordinary story, there’s an extraordinary one just waiting to happen…

Two people.

Simon Sparks hides in plain sight – his astonishing gifts locked deep inside himself, as he dreams of lost potential and extraordinary tomorrows.

Jodie Brook hides behind what you think of her – a single mum who can barely make ends meet. But her dreams are filled with the education she always wanted and discovering a better life for her and her son.

One life.

When Simon and Jodie’s lonely worlds collide, it upends everything. But as it becomes clear they have so much to learn from each other – Jodie can show Simon how to rejoin the world, and Simon can help Jodie prepare for her greatest challenge yet – they begin to realise that life could be so much more.

One ordinary day at a time…

‘A gorgeously quirky, charming and inspiring read’ Beth Morrey, author of Saving Missy

‘A perfect blend of light and dark with warm characterization and a lot of heart’ Harriet Tyce, author of Blood Orange

‘It's the best book I've read in ages. If you like Gail Honeyman, you'll ADORE this’ Anstey Harris, author of The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton

‘A beautiful book about unexpected friendships and daring to dream’ Ruth Hogan ‘About a Boy meets Educating Rita… warm and big-hearted’ Sarah Vaughan


Advance Praise

Praise for Sarah J Harris:

'Intriguing, original and memorable – I couldn't put it down!' Libby Page, THE LIDO 

‘A rich tapestry… distinctive and compelling’ OBSERVER 

‘Blisteringly real, utterly enthralling … a story that will make you look at the world anew’ STYLIST 

‘Highly original’ MAIL ON SUNDAY 

‘Astonishingly good, 5 stars’ SUN 

‘A beautiful, original novel, at once funny and tragic and brave’ Sarah Pinborough 

‘With its vivid descriptions and one-of-a-kind narrator, this beautiful and quietly dark novel is a real gem’ HEAT 

Praise for Sarah J Harris:

'Intriguing, original and memorable – I couldn't put it down!' Libby Page, THE LIDO 

‘A rich tapestry… distinctive and compelling’ OBSERVER 

‘Blisteringly real, utterly...

Available Editions

ISBN 9780008377359
PRICE £2.99 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (MOBI)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 75 members

Featured Reviews

I really enjoyed the Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder so I was delighted when I was able to read and review Sarah J Harris’s new novel.
I would describe #OneOrdinaryDayataTime as a fresh, charming and uplifting tale of friendship, people who don’t easily fit in and beating the odds. The author is skilled at writing characters who you immediately relate to and care about - male and female. She also has the ability to write children. Little Zak is delightful, believable and undoubtedly one of the stars of this show. Her description of Jodie’s experience of the care system was heartbreaking but accurate and it needs to be told.
I would definitely recommend this uplifting, moving and often funny novel.
Thank you to the author, her publishers and @NetGalley for this opportunity.

Was this review helpful?

One Ordinary Day at A Time is a modern love story without any romance whatsoever and trust me when I tell you that it works beautifully. The unlikely setting for this touching friendship between “One Star Simon” and single mother Jodie is the local burger place where they meet at work.
Both have escaped abuse and bear the scars, in Jodie’s case, literally. Both have dreams bigger than their current ordinary lifestyles as Jodie battles poverty and Simon battles his inner demons. When Jodie asks Simon to help tutor her to get into Cambridge University, he initially rejects the idea, until Jodie persuades him that he too, needs teaching. Simon’s lack of people skills alienates him even more than his unusual lifestyle.
As these two broken people finally unveil their inner layers to one another, a friendship emerges as life throws more and more curve balls at them.
I won’t give away anything else apart from to say that this book is both gritty and heart-warming. It’s not soppy or sentimental but it will have you rooting for a happy ending with two very unlikely friends that have more in common than either would admit to. It’s actually a very beautiful book that will stay with you long after you finish it.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Another quirky, clever and original novel from Sarah J. Harris. I found myself totally invested in Jodie and Simon's stories - both of which will stay with me for a long time to come.

Was this review helpful?

#oneordinarydayatatime #netgalley
[With thanks to Netgalley and HarperFiction]

One Ordinary Day at a Time is an absolute GEM of a novel. An affirming, engaging and intriguing tale, I was captivated from the early chapters by both characters, premise and execution of the narrative.

Telling the story of two protagonists - Jodie and Simon - we join their worlds at a time of distress and general downheartedness. Jodie is a single parent, with a son who we can't help but instantly like. Simon is, what initially seems to be, a failed intellectual. Both are working at a fast food restaurant and from the early stages of the novel, it's clear that they are miserably watching the world shift and change around them, whilst they both remain stagnant in their own dilemmas; keeping secrets or staying shut off from making true connections with anyone else.
Automatically, readers will find themselves empathetic and undeniably curious about the secrets that both keep How the meeting of two such different souls is thus the trajectory the plot hinges on to journey to it's conclusion.

The premise perhaps seems saccharine, or predictable in the meet cute of a male/female pairing, who despite their differences, share a uniting outlook on the world. But what is most satisfying, and admirable about the way Harris writes her stories, is that there is always much more going on under the surface. What really is an 'uplifting' or 'feel good' tale, as some reviewers have called this, also does the work on a different level to create a much more three dimensional world to become involved in. The predictability factor gets knocked from the expectations checklist pretty quickly as the narrative shifts, sweeps and turns around the reality of Jodie and Simon's world and situations.
Like with Bee Larkham, Harris presents a story and characters that have quirks, are flawed and who really tug you into the journey they embark upon. This is no ordinary story, and is truly a pleasure to read. One Ordinary Day at a Time capably adds to it's overriding uplifting tone: a sprinkling of stark reality, a dash of mystery and an abundance of beautifully written prose.
Definitely one to recommend. Beautiful and one of the best things I have read in some time - from any genre.

Was this review helpful?

One Ordinary Day at a Time is a study of two characters. Jodie Brook, orphan never in one place very long, troubled education concluded by becoming a single mum. Aspires to study Literature at Cambridge. Simon Sparks, child genius, mathematician extraodinaire, Cambridge scholar. Both serving fries in Prince Burger.

Jodie's doing an Access to Higher Education Diploma at Kensington College so she's making an effort to succeed at her goal but what's Simon doing? Wry smile here! It's years since I taught on an Access course (one of the earliest) but I'd guess Jodie's teacher Monica and the team will have been rebuilding her confidence and getting her and others very like her back on track. College is just a means to an end, we realise that!

I loved the story. Even as progress is being made in the present secrets and lies from the past are surfacing and threatening to destroy everything. I'd just finished a book by one of my favourite authors and the cliffhangers at the end of the chapters kept my interest in that one. With this book I just wanted to keep reading, simply didn't notice the time passing!

ARC courtesy Netgalley and Harper Fiction.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: