Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Jennifer E. Smith
Publish Date: January 2, 2012 *
Poppy/Little Brown
Review Copy
Reviewed by Megan @morsini 

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.  Goodreads

I had a really strange reaction to this book.  Not a bad reaction, per se, just a strange one.  In that it continually made me want to weep and when I finished the book (after having spent two hours sitting in a study carrel at the library), I locked myself in my car and gave in to the tears for about ten minutes.  Yep.  That girl with her head down on the steering wheel and weeping?  That was me.  Which is why I'm hoping one of the other girls will read this book ASAP and supplement this likely-to-be incoherent mess of a review.  Because I mostly just want to say: ohmygoshyouguys READ THIS BOOK.

It wasn't that it was a particularly epic love story, or that it was sad in any way.  It's definitely a book you open knowing that it will have a happy ending.  But it was...I don't know.  Quietly perfect.

Smith writes this book in the present tense, which for a story taking place over a twenty-four hour period is absolutely the right choice.  There's just something incredibly romantic about living in the moment.  There's not much of an opportunity for Hadley to fantasize about the future, about where everything is going, which is SO refreshing to me.  I'm sort of over the love stories that declare these high school boys to be the one and only.  I mean, I GET it.  It feels that way.  I felt that way at that age too.  But it's not reality.  So it's nice to see a couple get together because the timing is right for them AT THAT MOMENT.  It's "love at first sight," not "forever-love at first sight."

When Hadley and Oliver meet it's very natural and believable.  They are each in need of a friend at a particular time in their lives and that they would bond in a place like the airport seems completely convincing.  I happen to love airports - there is something about the camaraderie that is developed in those waiting lounges.  Unlike Hadley I do not find it at all claustrophobic, but a great way for people to connect.  And I have never met anyone who was not willing to watch my bag for a moment.

To say that this story is every girl's fantasy is a bit of an understatement.  (By which I mean, okay, it's MY fantasy.)  I mean, who doesn't want to end up next to a beautiful boy with a foreign accent for seven hours?  So of course you will root for Hadley and Oliver and though you know how it's going to end your heart will drop when they separate at customs and you'll hold your breath as Hadley goes through the rest of the day.  And even though it's a short book and a brief period of time, the amount of growth seen in the character of Hadley is truly remarkable. 

Basically, the point is, Smith does a tremendous job with this book.  It was the perfect read for a cold, winter day the weekend before Valentine's Day, and I think it will be a perfect summer beach read.  Actually, I can't think of a time when it would *not* be a perfect choice.  It's a fast read, but if you're prone to weeping it may leave you a little emotionally unstable.

*Goodreads says this book came out in January; the ARC says February.  So.  Sorry to be so delayed.

1 comment:

Hannah Lorraine said...

Awesome review! I had a similar reaction. I didn't sob after but I did curl into myself and contemplated life for a bit. This book is perfect. And I love that it's not love at first sight but the possibility of love at first sight.

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