Sometimes I like to put the fantasy, science fiction, and dystopia aside and just read a really good love story (though some of the more pessimistic among us would argue that love stories are also fantasies). My most recent favorites have been Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. Now I can add one more to that list: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. At first, I thought this book would be a romance between math nerds (which would have been totally cool with this former Palmetto High School Math Team member), but I was wrong. At its core, this book is about how a chance meeting can change a person’s life forever…
Hadley Sullivan is running late. What’s worse is that she’s running late to something that she wants no part of in the first place–her father’s wedding to “that British woman” in London. She misses her flight by about four minutes is forced to take the next plane–which will arrive at Heathrow approximately two hours before the blessed event. A bit of a time crunch, to say the least. So, now she has a time to kill in a crowded airport. Time to think about how much she doesn’t want to see her dad or his new bride. Time to worry about the flight and being trapped in a tube thousands of feet in the air. Time to stew over what she said to her mom this morning.
Purely by chance (or fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it), Hadley meets Oliver, a London native (who’s kind of a looker) who will be sitting next to her on her upcoming flight. The two hit it off instantly, and Hadley feels like she can tell Oliver anything…and she does. She tells him little things about herself (favorite color, animal, etc.) as well as big things (how she feels about her dad and this wedding, how her relationship with her mom is going, and how things ended with her ex-boyfriend). Oliver shares some stories of his own, including a glimpse of his relationship with his own father. Hadley and Oliver are so wrapped up in getting to know each other that their time at the airport and the flight to London seem to pass in a blur.
Before either of them are ready, Hadley and Oliver arrive in London, and they are forced to go their separate ways–Hadley to the dreaded wedding, and Oliver to his own family drama. Will they ever meet again, or has fate brought them together for only this one flight? Will Hadley be able to get over her anger with her father and be part of his new life? Will Oliver be able to deal with his own family issues? Is there any hope that these two will meet again despite the odds? What’s the probability that two young people could meet, fall in love, and find each other again in the span of 24 hours? Find out when you fall in love with Jennifer E. Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight!
Even though I totally knew there would be a happy ending, I was still enraptured by this story. I love the idea that you can meet someone tomorrow, and that will ultimately be someone you’ll spend the rest of your life with. If even one little thing had changed leading up to that meeting, entire lives could have been completely different. It’s kind of cool (and scary) to think about.
I also enjoyed how Hadley–and even Oliver–explored their family situations. Hadley spent much of the book angry at her dad–and her mom and future stepmother–and it was interesting to see how her views of those relationships evolved during the course of one very long day. Oliver’s issues were thought-provoking as well and helped Hadley put her own problems in perspective. In a lot of YA novels, the parents are secondary figures–and are often horrible–but this book allowed both characters and readers to see the humanness of parents. We were all given a look into the relationships between husbands and wives, fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, and mothers and daughters. These family dynamics are not always calm and smooth, but, at the end, these people are still family.
If you’re looking for a quick, fun, engaging read, I strongly urge you to give The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight a try. You won’t be disappointed!
You can find out more about author Jennifer E. Smith and her books at http://www.jenniferesmith.com/. You can also follow her on Twitter @JenESmith.