Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Great title, isn’t it? I won this book from Claire Legrand’s #ARCAPALOOZA contest on Twitter. Claire is uber generous, and so much fun! Her book, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, is due out in Fall 2012, and I wish there was a time machine so I can get my hands on her book. You can find her website here.

Blurb 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 18B. 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.

About the Author:

Jennifer E. Smith is the author of the three young adult novels: The Comeback Season, You Are Here, and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently works as an editor in New York City.

The Book: YA Contemporary

When Hadley misses her flight to London, she ends up waiting in the airport for the next available flight. She’s all kinds of mad, and not just because she’s barely going to make it to her father’s wedding to a British girl he left his family for, and whom Hadley has never even met in person. Hadley, in typical child-resenting-both-parents-for-their-divorce fashion, does not want to go to the wedding, let alone forgive her father for leaving her and her mom in an emotional mess. And did I mention she’s claustrophobic, thereby making the thought of flying in a metal tube ten times scarier than meeting the new stepmom?

But Hadley meets Oliver, a British Yalie student, who’s also heading to London for a family affair. He offers to help her with her bags, and when they end up seating in the same row in the plane, he helps her forget about the tiny, closed-up space.

I really enjoyed reading this (I finished it in about 2 hours!). It’s light, it’s cute, and who doesn’t like stories of a serendipitous nature, right? While the romance aspect hovers above their heads for most of the story, it is really Hadley’s relationship with her father that takes the spotlight. It’s about forgiveness and love, for letting go and taking in new risks. There’s also a sort of parallel-contrast between Hadley’s relationship with her dad, and Oliver’s relationship with his dad. While Hadley and Oliver struggled to come to terms with their own individual heartaches, they realized that together, they keep each other grounded.   

This reminds me of a cutesy summer flick that leaves you smiling and feeling fuzzy warm inside after you leave the movie theatre. The conflict’s not a matter of life and death (yeah, you know me. I mostly read fantasy or dark fantasy/dystopian/horror so this was different for me), but it’s a sweet reminder of how we need to put things in perspective and learn to look beyond our own (hurt) ego. In Hadley’s case, her father truly loves the woman he’s marrying, and while he knows this hurts Hadley and her mom, it is an unescapable truth.  

So, if you’ve got an hour or two to spare, or the next time your flying somewhere, pick this up for a pleasant, enjoyable read.

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