The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Publication date: 2 January 2012 by Poppy/Little Brown
ISBN 10/13: 0316122386 | 9780316122382
Category: Young Adult Fiction
Keywords: Young adult, contemporary, romance, travel, family, love
Format: Hardcover, eBook
I had high hopes for this book when I started it. The pretty cover and clever title gave me the impression that it was going to be an impossibly romantic and sweet read that would make me want to hop a plane to London immediately. I am really happy to say that The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight met all of my expectations and more.
The story begins in a place where most of us have been before. Hadley, rushing to catch a flight to London for her father’s wedding, misses it by four minutes. By chance, Hadley meets Oliver, who is also waiting for the next flight. Amid quiet conversations, jokes, a duck movie, pretzels and a bit of whiskey, Hadley and Oliver get to know each as they cross the Atlantic.
I am not usually a fan of characters falling madly in love right away so I was a little worried that the relationship in Statistical Probability would seem superficial or inauthentic. I think this could have easily gone into cheesy and cliché territory, but it didn’t. Oliver and Hadley’s relationship never seemed forced. Even though they only know each other for a short period of time, they spend that time really getting to know each other. They talk about their families and the issues with them and about their feelings as well. The things that they share are things you wouldn’t normally share with someone you just met, but their connection is real enough that I could imagine them sharing these things with each other. The romance aspect is always there but it’s not overpowering. Smith lets the characters take the lead on where the relationship will go.
And speaking of characters, I really liked both Hadley and Oliver. Hadley was someone I could immediately relate to. She is a normal teenager with her own quirks and imperfections. She’s impetuous and sweet and shy at times. She has a lot of anger and sadness about what happened with her father. Despite her anger, she also really misses her father and she is trying her best to accept his new life. Their relationship is complicated and I was really invested in the outcome of it. There were some really touching moments between father and daughter that had me a smidge teary eyed (just a smidge).
Oliver is exactly the type of boy that I always wish would sit next to me on a plane. He’s funny, cute and has a British accent. He’s the perfect companion to spend a long flight next to. I loved that he tried to distract Hadley from her fear of flying.
This is the first book I’ve read by Smith and I really enjoyed her writing style. It’s easy to follow and she manages to pack a lot into a fairly short book. Her writing is full of little details that add up to a very rich and three dimensional story. I really felt like I was in the airport with Hadley and Oliver, navigating the crowded terminal, and later taking the long flight with them. I loved listening in on Hadley and Oliver talking about everything and nothing at all and learning each other in process.
Statistical Probability was a really fun, refreshing read. It made me smile and sigh and break out my travel guides. In a world of cynicism, it’s a story of love, hope and second chances that makes me believe that maybe a happy ending is possible. It also makes me hope for a cute British seat mate on my next plane flight, though that’s probably a long shot. But one can hope, right? :)
Find the author at www.jenniferesmith.com and follow @JenESmith on Twitter