by Jennifer E. Smith
This might be a record-setting moment guys. Someone turn on the word-count-clicker… today’s magic word: cute. Will you look at that completely cute cover*!!
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.
My Expectations: kind of in the middle, I've read both raving reviews and meh ones.
Delivery: I did like it, but I didn't really feel the spark.
Put-down-ability: I read it all in one sitting, but 4/10 because if there was a fire...
The premise of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (whew! What a title. Imagine having to type that out five times over) is completely adorable, I mean.. can you think of a better meet-cute? I went into it expecting a fluffy, light-hearted yet lovely read because it’s been getting mostly favourable, even gushy reviews from most bloggers. What I got out of it was not what I was expecting, to say the least.
I had a few problems with it, and I’m breaking the trend and I’m going to talk about these negatives first. I really felt the balance between a cute, quirky love story and a serious, familial-redemption story was off. I thought the jumps between serious and cute moments were jarring, especially towards the end. It kind of felt as if the book set out to be cute, found itself in serious, then hastily steered its way back onto the “cute” road, making it an odd journey. In addition, I never really bought into the idea of twists of fate and all that, but I do admit to being totally cynical (true love? *retch*).
That said, the cute boy was cute, yet sadly forgettable (seeing I forgot his name almost immediately after reading the book.. it’s Oliver). I thought he was lovely enough, but someone in passing, like a cute boy I would talk to on the plane, yet say goodbye to (oh, how fitting…). I’m not going to lie; I do envision a different, more non-typical-YA ending for this book in my head. Hadley was a great protagonist as well, I connected a lot more with her character, and I got used to the odd choice of third person POV rather quickly, which speaks volumes about the writing (very smooth and great word choices makes it a quick read).
And now on to one of the things I really, really connected with and loved about this book. It was the serious stuff. Hadley’s flying to London to attend her father’s remarriage to some British woman, but she still harbours still deep, unresolved feelings regarding her parents’ divorce. I found this aspect of the story to be the most convincing, because my own parents divorced years ago and it felt like Smith really got it. YA takes a lot of different takes on parents (oh, they’re dead 50% of the time too, which is always fun… kidding) but it’s rare when I feel like the author gets it. I have such a similar relationship with my dad as Hadley does with hers, and sometimes there’s just small phrases or thoughts that capture exactly, almost to the tee, how I felt or feel about it. There’s the pain, the broken trust, the trying and the not trying, there was so much truth in it that it hurt. If there’s anything I’ll be taking away from this novel, it is the truth that Smith captured in Hadley’s parents’ divorce.
I know, bummer, eh?
And well, that aspect is the one I really appreciated about this novel, though in my opinion, it was resolved much too quickly for my tastes. Or maybe I’m just one to hold a grudge. I also adored (and was envious of) Hadley’s supportive relationship with her mother, so yeah, that’s always fun. Parents make fun times. Oh, and each chapter started off telling you the time (the book takes place in 24 hrs) which I thought was cool.
Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
Recommended for: fans of Amy & Roger's Epic Detour :)
7.5/10 – because I didn’t really love it, but I thought it was kind of cute and liked the serious aspects. Personally, I felt the general story arc relied too heavily on the idea of the meet-cute, rather than fully exploring deeper themes of lingering emotions. I never felt anything for Oliver, much to my dismay, but I really did like Hadley’s character growth and her interactions with whomever she meets. The quick resolution bothered me, and it was a bit too perfect in the end, so ultimately, I’d recommend it if you want to pick up a fast, enjoyable read with some surprising depth.
author website / twitter
*odd note, while it's a cute cover, it was kind of embarrassing to hold up and show to the random Engineering PhD guy who struck up a conversation with you as you were reading. Just a thought. Damn my inability to stray from YA.