Thursday, January 5, 2012
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
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.
The title of this book put me off not because I can never manage to say it correctly, but because there is really nothing I hate more in novels than people falling in love after approximately ten seconds of knowing each other. I was definitely anticipating that kind of annoying romance, but luckily, it never appeared-- one of the many things that surprised me about this book.
I love stories with small casts or that take place over a short amount of time or, really, anything that pushes the story in a more unconventional direction. Quirks like those can definitely make it more difficult for a story to be any good, but luckily the one day setting and small cast helped this book more than hurt it. Despite the short length of time it covers, Hadley manages to go plenty of places. I anticipated much of the book occurring on the plane because of the length of a flight to England, but the plane ride is only the first part of the journey. I'm not going to say much further than that, but I will say that Hadley definitely goes to plenty of other surprising places throughout the rest of her day, each one more unexpected and amusing than the last.
Luckily, Hadley and Oliver manage to surpass the setting in greatness and make even the most dull places, like the plane ride, fun. Oliver is wonderfully humorous and witty, and Hadley always manages to keep up, making their interactions consistently amusing and adorable. However, each of them also have moments of pure honesty that clearly establish an emotional bond between them and make them so much more than just a love interest for one another. I wish the rest of the cast was as nicely developed since there was so much emphasis on family relationships, especially between Hadley and her father, but sometimes the supporting characters were shafted for the Hadley/Oliver romance. However, I still liked their inclusion for the added depth and emotion they brought to the novel.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is at different times happy, poignant, and heartbreaking, but it's always romantic enough to melt even my cold, bitter heart.
Book details: Poppy/Hardcover/$17.99