The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I picked this up on a whim based on a good review on here. For a 200-something page teen romance, not bad! It was witty and endearing, and while not perfect, it was worth the afternoon it took me to read.
Our main characters are Hadley and Oliver, two teenagers who meet on a plane to London, both on their way to unpleasant ceremonies. Hadley's dad is marrying the woman for whom he left Hadley's mom and she has a lot of bitterness to overcome. Couple that with some crippling claustrophobia and the plane ride to London is pretty much Hadley's worst nightmare. Yet somehow a plane ride next to Oliver doesn't turn out to be so bad.
Oliver's a pretty good romantic lead. Hot British guy from Yale, you know, cliches all over the place, but he was quirky. He and Hadley start this running joke: he's doing a research project over the summer, but he always comes up with some ridiculous topic and never actually admits what it is. Most of their dialogue is this sort of thing, witty exaggerations and jokes that keep them both in good spirits. We get another side of Oliver, though, and he can really be an arse--and rightfully so. I won't give spoilers here, but be assured that he isn't Mr. Perfect.
Then we've got Hadley's dad. He's a literature professor at Oxford, and while I would have enjoyed more John-Green-brand lit humor, it made for an interesting character and there were some scattered Dickens quotes here and there. I don't entirely get the bitter child of divorce thing because my parents divorced when I was really young, but there are some good points brought up. When we learn about Oliver's dad, some things about Hadley's dad get put into perspective. There was also this one line: "What Dad had done, he hadn't just done to him and Mom, and he hadn't just done it to him and Hadley. He'd done it to Hadley and Mom, too, had turned the easy rhythms between them into something brittle and complicated." That one I get.
I'd say the strongest point of this was the style. It's a quirky teen romance and, aside from some deeper reflections on divorce, doesn't pretend to be anything more than that. It's not really about love at first sight, per-say, just about coincidences and the way things sometimes just fall into place. It seemed like all the supporting characters had something wise and supportive to say on the matter, whether they meant to or not, and the chemistry between our young lovers was there the instant they met. A good pick-me-up book after reading something intense, for sure.
View all my reviews