The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: January 2, 2012
Challenges: Audiobook Challenge
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
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.
The title? Brilliant. The cover? Brilliant. The book? ALSO Brilliant. I had been excited for months to read this one, but when it was released I was too afraid to pick it up. This book had been teasing me for months, drawing me in with its siren call and promises, telling me it could fill the gaping hole that's left between Stephanie Perkins novels. And y'all, those are big promises. Promises that I wasn't sure my siren book friend could keep. But fortunately, these sirens are apparently not the same as Odysseus's sirens, because I got all I wanted and more.
This book takes place over the course of a 24 hour period. Penning a complex, natural romance that can come to a boil in 24 hours is a seriously challenging task, and Jennifer E. Smith conquers it. Hadley is a broody, dramatic teenager that manages not to overstep the line into obnoxious. Oliver is an adorable and funny British bloke (swoon) that I am pretty sure any reader would love to date. Excuse the creepy factor, but I would love to keep a mini-Oliver in a jar that I could open every time I got a little sad. He could cheer me up with his silly jokes and accent, and I could give him little Oliver-hugs because he's so adorable. But second to that option is reading the book, in which we get to watch something very real build between him and Hadley among their innocuous chit-chat and the deeper, harder conversations.
While the core story is between Hadley and Oliver, there is actually a lot else happening in the tale that both ties them together and pulls them apart. We get to meet Hadley's father and step-mother to be (whom she's never met), in addition to a cast of other characters, all of whom were fleshed out and added bursts of life to the narrative. The craft in this story was incredible. I would be crying one minute, laughing the next, cringing at something awkward the next. I can recall at least one moment where I was doing all three simultaneously. I don't want to spoil anything, but some of the scenes between Andrew (the dad) and Hadley, or Charlotte (the step-mom) and Hadley, were extremely difficult and touching, and those made the book for me as much as the parts with Oliver.
My only complaint: I took a flight the day after reading this and there was no Oliver or cute British boy!!! My flight was just the regular variety of suck. I feel scammed.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is a book about love and family. I jumped into a world and story that was vivid and honest and charming. The characters, the dialogue, and the pacing are all crafted with extreme care and skill, and I love the premise of how much life could change if you happen to be four minutes late. This book has definitely entered my pile of favorite contemporary romances, right next to Anna and the French Kiss. I give it 5 out of 5 Stars and I would highly suggest picking up your own copy as soon as possible.
I'm super-dooper picky about accents in audiobooks, but I was very pleased with Casey Halloway's versatility on this one. The only downside of listening to this one is that it's so good, you might have to pull over to laugh or cry at different points if you are driving (I did).