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

2 Jan

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Genre: Contemporary YA

Publisher: Poppy

Published on: January 2, 2012

Source: Bought it

Summary: 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 STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT was a couple of new year firsts for me: first book I read in the new year; first book that made me cry of the new year; first book that gave me the tingles and swoons of the new year; first book I read in ONE DAY of the new year; first five-star book of the new year. If this book is any indication of the year to come, I’m ready to jump in head first, you guys. Cause this book was delicious and emotional and special. *Sigh*

So the first thing I noticed RIGHT AWAY about this book, and the relationship between Hadley–young, kind of neurotic, a little bit emo 17-year-old who is dealing with the aftermath of her parents’ divorce and her father’s subsequent remarriage–and Oliver, who is charming and kind and makes me melty, was the EASE of their spending time together, even as strangers. The conversations they have on the plane trip to London are things of awesomeness, and they made me so, SO happy. The dialogue was snappy, funny, and EASY. They have conversations like people who have known each other for years, who don’t always fear the other’s judgement, and have no problems thinking of things to say to one another. They talk like two people who could never run out of things to tell each other, and I LOVED THEM, not just because of what they are, but because they take place between two people who DON’T know each other at all.  It flows so smoothly. It’s beautiful! HOORAY for TALKING!

And OLIVER. Oh my goodness. Somebody catch me when I swoon! He was just so sweet and had this chill confidence that was so attractive. I could sense right away why Hadley felt comfortable and easy around him. Oliver had his own demons to deal with, but his heart was so awesome and his feelings so refreshingly genuine that reading the moments he and Hadley shared actually felt like an intrusion. I think I mentioned this somewhere else (can’t remember where. Old lady brain) that he reminded me nearly instantly of St. Clair from ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, one of my all-time YA boyfriends. And it’s true. They’re both lovable, funny, confident, sweet, warm, and kind. HEART = MELTED.

But as much as this story is about Hadley and Oliver finding each other, it’s also about Hadley coming to grips with the aftermath of her father’s affair and subsequent marriage to the lady who done wrecked her family’s home. I can’t tell you how sad I was when reading about Hadley’s dad’s wedding, and how heartbroken I felt for her when she realizes that her father isn’t anything like the man she knew anymore. How he has more friends, uses British vernacular, and seems happier on this one day than she seems to ever remember him being with their family. I felt lonely and deserted and sad, like MY dad had somehow fallen off of his pedestal, too. (NOT POSSIBLE in real life because my dad is THE BOMB.) It squeezed my heart real tight, and made me realize that there was a time when I would have been just as miserable and heartbroken and ANGRY as Hadley. When a loved one’s happiness wouldn’t have made me happy at all, which is terrible. Terrible! But HONEST. And I LOVE when books do that, give the characters real emotional hurts that they don’t handle in the most selfless, forgiving way. Make it ugly, y’all, and I’ll love it even harder. Because that’s REAL, yo. 

And then, of course, despite totally wanting to yell at Hadley’s dad and tell Charlotte to quit trying to be nice already so I can STEW in my EMO BITTERNESS, I actually wound up feeling like a hideous tool. Because how could I NOT wish for my family to be happy? Right? Hadley realizes this, too. That her anger comes from missing her dad, and while I wished for Hadley’s sake that he HADN’T waited until he got married to someone else to invite his daughter to visit, I squeezed out some happy sobs when things started wending their way towards happy-endingville. Hadley’s dad really was kind of awesome, and Charlotte was open-hearted and warm, and everyone was lovely and happy.

Cause you know what? Good people screw up sometimes–parents, emo kids, whoever–and THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT told a story of exactly that in the best way: a little bit heartbreaking, full of misunderstandings, and always, flush with opportunities to wise up about people and forgive and accept their imperfections because you love them. AWESOMESAUCE. And you know something else? For all the cheesy insta-love that pops up in unbelievable, SILLY ways in YA these days, GO FIGURE that the one book that’s actually BASED on insta-love manages to make love at first sight seem genuine, real, meaningful, sweet, and perfectly swoony. Amazing.

Pick this one up somewhere, guys. It will make you feel ALL OF THE EMOTIONS. *Sigh*


8 Responses to “Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith”

  1. Lucy January 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    This is going to be one of the very first books I read this year. Your review makes it sound completely amazing and I’m prepared to be blown away. And you went there with the Etienne St. Clair comparison – big shoes to fill! I’m so excited to read it 🙂

    It’s always hard coming off of a 5-star read. What do you read next that will compare?

    Fab review as always!

  2. Candice January 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    Oh, I’ve been waiting for your review ever since I saw on Twitter you were reading this! I cannot wait to get my hands on this book and read it and fall in love myself, because honestly, I’ve already fallen in love with it just from reviews!!!! What a great way to start your year off! 🙂

  3. April Books&Wine January 4, 2012 at 7:06 am #

    ALL OF THIS! I am nodding my head. I agree the most about Hadley and Oliver’s conversations in particular. I thought that was what made it feel genuine and not like instalove, because they have an easy banter, and well I think steady conversation is a NEED for a healthy relationship.

    AND OMG YES OLIVER/ST. CLAIR COMPARISON. I’m glad I’m not the only who felt that.

    Also high five to awesome taste in first of the year books!


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