Friday, April 27, 2012
Book Rant: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
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.
I have stopped calling what I do book reviews, because they're not really reviews as much as me rambling unprofessionally about what I think on certain books. I recently bought this on my Kindle (I'm sure I will post eventually about how I am a total e-book convert and am in love with my Kindle) and cleaned it off in two days.
This book is a real page-turner, probably having something to do with its timeline of events; as the blurb says, the entire story takes place in 24 hours. Ambitious! I loved how fast-paced it was, and how realistic, even considering its unrealistic premise. I found myself thinking exactly what the main character, Hadley, was thinking about what was transpiring around her. For one, let's be real. Nobody finds true love on a flight to London with a British boy. Oh sure, you can probably think of examples of disgustingly perfect people who have disgustingly perfect love stories,** but that stuff doesn't happen to you or me, is what I'm saying.
Yes, okay, once on a flight in China, I talked to the guy next to me for the entire time and he asked for my number at the end of the flight — but he was also a Shanghai businessman and nine years older than me. It was not the same thing. If he had a British accent, we may have had a go at it. (I'm kidding, I'm not that shallow. Probably.)
But back to the book, the book is incredibly descriptive without being overly wordy. This really strikes me in the very beginning when Hadley's still at JFK, and Jennifer E. Smith makes the airport come alive with her descriptions. Having spent a lot of time in airports (and liking them, unlike Hadley), her details were spot on. And then again, when Hadley's in London, I felt like I was actually there too — the congestion, the weather, the cabbie, it was all perfect.
As for Oliver, what do you want me to say? He's British, he has green eyes,** and he's endlessly charming, like all Brits in American YA novels, apparently. He may not be a super unique male lead, but he gets the job done, and yeah, he does all the right things at all the right times and makes it very hard not to root for him. This book reminds me strongly of AMY AND ROGER'S EPIC DETOUR by Morgan Matson, which I also loved. Both books are quick reads, have nice romantic story lines, creatively involve travel, and deftly weave in family issues.
The one thing that I would say bothered me, but not enough to give the book a negative review, is the quick resolution of the conflict with the father in the book. He is, in a word, a jerk, for what he did, and I have a hard time believing Hadley gets over all those months of grief in 24 hours. Explaining his infidelity as "he fell in love" was also distasteful to me, but that's just a personal gripe; it didn't seem to disturb anyone else on Amazon.
I would recommend this book to fans of AMY AND ROGER and ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS (and LOLA!). Also to people who aren't totally unpleasant/cantankerous, and to fans of love in general — which is hopefully everybody. Despite minor flaws, it's a harmlessly fun and engaging read, and it goes quickly.
*One of my professors met her husband in Paris. Is this even real?
**Oliver has "startlingly green eyes." This was one small thing that irritated me. What is startling about having green eyes? What, have you seriously not seen green eyes before? Plus, people don't have "startlingly brown eyes," probably because brown eyes are too boring for fiction, and I don't know anyone who would be startled by how brown someone's eyes are. And obviously, nobody falls for brown-eyed Englishmen. How pedestrian. But now I will go ahead and admit that green eyes are really attractive, completely negating everything I have just said.