Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Classification: YA Fiction, Contemporary
Source: ARC from Hachette Book Group
To be published by Poppy on January 2nd, 2012
Would I recommend it?
Summary (from Goodreads):
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.
Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.
Wow. This book completely blew me away.
From the blurb on the cover, you would expect this novel to be romantic and cheesy, dealing you extraordinary and unbelievable events on every page.
But this is so, so not what this book is about.
Yes, Hadley and Oliver do have a chance meeting. Yes, there are "twists of fate" and "quirks of timing" that are romantic and sweet. But no, this book is not the touchy-feely, chance-happening-with-a-beautiful-stranger book that will either sweep you off your feet or make you puke, because it is believable.
When Hadley and Oliver meet, there are no perfect one-liners or smoldering glances, because when you meet a stranger, especially a handsome stranger, it is bound to be a little awkward in real life. It is no different in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Hadley knows that when she agrees to let Oliver help her with her bags that he is a complete stranger, yet her circumstances, as well his, make it possible for them to connect despite their disconnect.
While most of Hadley and Oliver's interactions are endearing, they are also seared with grief and heartache, both known and unknown, as well as the uncertainty that comes with getting to know a person and trying to decide when they actually qualify as a friend instead of a stranger.
The way that Smith infused this quirky love story with Hadley's past experiences with her father, her parent's failed marriage, and the anger/confusion/grief that comes along with these types of situations was poignant and emotional. I felt very connected to Hadley during these moments. The story was definitely richer with the addition of a complicated, messy divorce, as well as Oliver's own story. Without these serious elements, the story would have felt like just another teen romance; without substance and not worth your time.
After reading this story straight through, I pre-ordered the hardback version, which I plan on marking up with my favorite lines and quotes.
If you love contemporary stories, or books about travel, or stories that are as heartbreaking as they are heartfelt, or books that aren't cookie-cutter, or novels that are written by a clearly talented author, then please. Please. Buy this book.
Would I recommend it?
Yes! A wonderful, heartfelt, emotional contemporary!
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