Monday, 2 January 2012

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

In One Line: Girl meets boy. Girl loses boy. Girl gets boy back. In 24 hours!!!
Genre: Contemporary lovey-dovey awesome.
The Gist:
Hadley has to fly from America to London to be bridesmaid at her estranged father’s wedding to a woman she hasn’t even met. At the airport she meets Oliver, a bit of a charm-smoothie, but what are the chances of finding your perfect dream-boat in the departures lounge? Turns out they are on the same flight, and what follows is a bit of a whirl-wind of loveliness as Oliver and Hadley discover that they are perfect for each other. But will they be able to find each other within the madness of London and each other’s families?
The Cover:
I saw the planned UK cover for this book, which was all floaty pastel clouds and curly writing. My feedback was that it should be more like a film poster, as this book is begging to be made into a screenplay by Richard Curtis. Then I was shown the US cover and I thought THAT IS IT!!! Two young lovers finding each other in an airport with whimsical cartoon writing that lets you know that the book doesn’t take itself too seriously. A great cover that won’t put off adult readers but engages and interests younger ones too. Perfecto!
Why You’ll Love This Book:
  • It is so cute. And so lovely. And so entirely what every one of us thinks about in some point in our lives. Who hasn’t sat on a tube train, glanced at the boy opposite and wondered whether or not they are THE ONE? This book takes that fantasy and runs away with it to a place of cotton candy and bunny kittens. 
  • It’s plausible, which is a shock for a book that relies so hugely on coincidence. This is largely down to the great writing. The descriptions of the airport and the flight in particular completely resonated for me. 
  • Playing guess the casting is great fun in this! I was overwhelmed in places by how wonderful this book would be as a film, in the style of Four Weddings and a Funeral, or anything ever made by Richard Curtis ever, so I was envisioning all sorts of British legends in the supporting roles. I mean, now that Harry Potter is over, what else do they have to do? 
  • You can read it in a day. Got plastered on Friday night? Snogged someone completely fit but wholly inappropriate and then had a drunken row with your best mate about something you can’t remember? This book was made for the Saturday morning hangover. 
  • It’s very hopeful. I mean, if Hadley and Oliver find each other in a crowded departures lounge, then maybe that cute boy sitting on the other side of the tube carriage is THE ONE! It’s a book that makes you want to try, and restores faith in human beings. 

Why You May Not Love This Book:
  • If you are a cynic, avoid at all costs. There are a lot of useful coincidences in this book, and if you peer too deeply between the lines you’ll probably find all sorts of plot holes and nonsense. But I suspect that the vast majority of you (like me) will not even notice any of these things because the book is so darn lovely.
  • There are quite a few flashbacks into Hadley’s life, which is understandable seeing as the main action of this book takes place over a 24 hour period. But I found the flashbacks a little boring, and suspiciously like padding. I think I may have glossed over some of them, skimming ahead to see when the next Oliver encounter was. 
  • London is not that convenient. You know what Richard Curtis did with Notting Hill in the film, Notting Hill? Jennifer E. Smith kinda does the same with London here. This is especially, achingly obvious in the final parts of the book, when Hadley has to track Oliver down despite having no idea where he is. Coincidence takes over, and any true-Londoner ends up rolling their eyes. 

The Hypersomnia Test:
I read this book in one luxurious day, so there wasn’t much chance to test it against the peculiarities of my stupid brain. It was a fantastically enjoyable book though, so I have no doubt that it would have passed the test. 
Final Verdict:
Short and whimsical and altogether really charming. Read this when you are feeling blue and I dare you not to be thoroughly cheered up!
Further Reading:
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
To buy the Statistical Probability of Love at First sight click here!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVED this book! It was just so completely lovely and I kind of want to cuddle it. And by 'it', I mean Oliver... ;) Great review!