Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

This novel is nominated for the Abraham Lincoln award. It is as much a teen romance as it is about coping with a divorced parent's betrayal and learning to move on.

The last thing Hadley Sullivan wants to do is travel all the way to London to watch her father get married to a woman she's never met. Yet here she is in an airport waiting for a flight because she missed the first one by all of four minutes. As she waits for the next flight, she befriends a fellow traveler - a teenager named Oliver. The two of them hit it off and even manage to sit together on the flight, allowing them hours to form a bond that helps Hadley face seeing her father for the first time in about a year. Throughout the entire flight, Hadley is trying to cope with the anger and betrayal she feels for her father's decision to leave her mother and her for life and love in England. Even when she lands, she's immediately whisked away for the wedding with no time to address anything with her father. Then she learns the real reason Oliver is in England and feels the pull to be by his side, but who is she to do such a thing for a boy she's only known a few hours? Are Hadley and Oliver meant to be together? And will she make peace with her father before it's too late for their relationship?

This entire novel takes place over twenty-four hours. For the first part of the novel it just seems like two teens hanging out - nothing too memorable about the experience. I didn't initially get the feeling that this was two teens falling in love - the type of love that has Hadley frantically trying to find Oliver after they land. Their relationship seemed to be more about what the other person does for their sanity than necessarily how they make their hearts soar. As Oliver says at the end of the novel, "I feel better when I'm with you" (234). Hadley is going through an extremely emotional time - she's exceptionally mad at her father - and Oliver does a lot to help her cope with that. So this novel is subtly not even really about falling in love. I think this novel is really more about both characters working through the relationships they have with their fathers. Don't get me wrong, there is definitely a relationship that forms between them and Hadley is crushed when she thinks their time has come to an unhappy end, but this book has a bigger picture which makes it more than a fluffy romance.

This novel is a fairly quick read. Through it you get the joy of a romance and the hope that comes with a character undergoing emotional healing. This is a well rounded book and an enjoyable read.

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