Monday, 2 January 2012
Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Released: January 5th, 2012
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.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, or Statistical as I will now refer to it, is one of those books that makes me sigh every time I think about it. It's contemporary YA fiction at its best, and kept me up reading late into the night. Once I started it I couldn't put it down, and I was willing to forego sleep to find out what happened to Hadley and Oliver. That's how much I love these people: they feel like friends now, and I want more. Whether I'm going to get it, I don't know, but I'm not above grovelling. Jennifer E. Smith, are you listening?!
Everything starts at an airport, where Hadley is running slightly late. She had to go back for her book, gave herself a papercut and ran into traffic on the way to the airport. She misses her flight, a flight that will get her to her father's wedding in England, and has to wait for the next one, where she's assigned seat 18A. It's because of those few lost minutes that she meets Oliver, a boy booked on the same London-bound flight, and the holder of ticket 18B. What follows is a lovely, lovely day of getting to know each other, which quickly moves into a drama-filled day of stress and emotion. I won't say why, and instead I'll just let you read it and peel away the story layer by layer. It's so worth it.
When I first heard about this book, I thought it would be a cheesy, unbelievable story about two people who meet, lock eyes and vow to spend eternity together. However, that isn't the case. I believed in every word Hadley and Oliver shared and, when their eyes inevitably locked, I felt it. I also wanted to climb into my book and steal Oliver away for myself, but we can't have everything, can we? Seriously though, if I could manifest my perfect boy, it would be him. I imagine him to be a mix of Ed Westwick (Chuck, Gossip Girl) and Darren Criss (Blaine, Glee), AKA. Swoony and Swoonier. In my mind he has Ed's Britishness and Darren's beautiful hair. *sigh* If any movie casting people are reading this, please see to it that these two audition. Thanks. ;)
Anyway, back to reality. Hadley and Oliver have chemistry, and I'm talking instant chemistry. If they sat next to a bunsen burner, it would flare and light up the room in a second. They're the best contemporary characters I've encountered in a long while, which leads me to my only complaint: I wanted more of them. Hundreds of pages more. The page count is fairly short, but wow could I have read on. As soon as I turned the final page, I wanted to flip back to the beginning and start all over again.
Statistical is like an old-school romance in a contemporary setting: think chance meetings, lingering looks and endless possibilities that all take place within a whirlwind 24-hours. It's the perfect example of how everything happens for a reason, and that even the most irritating displays of self-inflicted tardiness can lead to something way beyond what you imagined. Jennifer E. Smith will make even the hardest of hearts believe in love at first sight, and I think this book will cement her place in the YA contemp world. Readers will fall in love with her story and characters, and I'm sure she'll soon be inundated with requests for a sequel. I'll tell you right now: I will be first in line!