The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightFeaturedHot
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, henceforth to be referred to as TSP for brevity's sake, is a sweet, quick little book. The story has a similar feel to Love, Actually, with the sense that while everything doesn't turn out as hoped, love will ultimately conquer all. In fact, TSP has a very cinematic quality to it. This book has high ratings pretty much across the board, and I can certainly see why.
I have been on so many flights, but I've never ever gotten to flirt with a cute guy in the waiting area or sit next to one on the plane. Can I just be a character in a novel already? Seriously? Hadley misses her flight to London for her father's wedding by just four minutes. Had she not missed the flight, she never would have met the sweet, charming, silly Oliver. Had she not met Oliver, she might not have grown up enough to bond with her father again.
Smith's writing is incredibly interesting. TSP is written in third person present tense, which one does not see particularly often. I really did not have a problem with that at all, though I've never been as particular about tenses as most readers, but some of the flashbacks and memories had some awkwardness with tenses. I did love her writing, though. There were a lot of quotes that reached out and grabbed me.
On the surface, this book seems entirely about the romance, about a girl and a boy meeting and falling in love over the course of just a day. However, fun as that can be to read, I maintain the book had more depth than that, and, for that reason, I rate it more highly. At least as much focus is put on Hadley's relationship with her father as on her blooming relationship with the adorable, British Oliver, who actually doesn't have a huge role in the second half of the book but for cameos.
Oliver really steals the show, though, particularly with his absurd lies about what he's studying at Yale. Their interactions are adorable and I especially loved their surprisingly deep conversations about love and marriage. They do not fall under my heading of instalove. The two form a real bond while flying on that plane, and I could see them actually going back to Connecticut and becoming a real couple. They're super into each other, and certainly feeling starstruck by the serendipity of everything, but their interactions are not cheesy or full of protestations of eternal tender devotion.
What Left Me Wanting More:
TSP joins the illustrious list of YA novels with present parents. Both Hadley's mother and father love her and want to do right by her, despite the chaos of the divorce. Hadley has not seen her father since she found out about Charlotte, his soon-to-be wife. The realization that her father has moved in also results in Hadley developing claustrophobia. This element seems tacked on to me, disappearing except when it benefited the plot to have Hadley freak out. For how big of a deal she makes of her claustrophobia in the early chapters, it seems not to affect her much later.
I liked the way her interactions with Oliver convinced Hadley to give her father another chance. Her own crazy actions and excitement over meeting a new boy lead to her reevaluation of her father's affair with Charlotte. While that was well done, I still could not forgive him as easily as Hadley does. While I did think she and her father were on a good path, I felt that her forgiveness was too complete to be entirely believable in such a short time frame.
The Final Verdict:
If you are looking for a quick read with a sweet romance, you cannot go wrong with TSP. I know I will be reading more Jennifer E. Smith books in the future without a doubt!
At first glance, I was expecting this to be a light, easy read but I was wrong. While this story does have it's pleasantly romantic moments, it's overall theme of heartfelt love runs throughout the whole book.
When Hadley misses her flight to London she's both relieved and frustrated. She doesn't really want to go to across the pond to begin with but the thought of waiting around in a crowded airport for a few hours waiting to catch the next flight out isn't all that appealing either.
Hadley struggles with claustrophobia and even the ceiling of the airport starts to feel as if it's closing in on her. She tries to focus on staying calm but nothing seems to work and just as she's reached her point of major freak out, a cute boy with an English accent comes to her rescue. Oliver offers to help her with her bags and within a matter of minutes, they discover that not only are they on the same flight, they're sitting one seat apart. Coincidence or fate?
Over the next few hours, Hadley and Oliver talk about anything and everything from family to respective "exes". They even discuss the pros and cons of love and marriage. He continues to help her through a few more "episodes" and they share some really sweet moments as well. She tells Oliver about all she's been through in the past year and how she's traveling to London for a wedding. When he shares with her that his trip involves the church he grew up attending, she assumes he's going for similar reasons. When they arrive and she discovers the real reason for his visit home, her ideas about love, marriage and forgiveness will be challenged in ways she never imagined. Hadley will see first hand how the seemingly insignificant things can impact not only our lives but those around us as well.
I enjoyed this book and how author, Smith painted love as picture, allowing the reader to see that "love" isn't just a story being told between a boy and a girl. It's also how a parent communicates love to their child when their own words don't come easily; like a light in the dark, or words on weathered pages.
“But Hadley understood. It wasn't that she was meant to read them all. Maybe someday she would, but for now, it was more the gesture itself. He was giving her the most important thing he could, the only way he knew how. He was a professor, a lover of stories, and he was building her a library in the same way other men might build their daughters houses.”
Love can also act as a healing balm between two hearts where pain seems to be the common language.
“Because I was with you," he tells her. "I feel better when I'm with you.”
I could identify with Hadley in the respect that I have also claustrophobic moments (I will get off of an elevator if there are too many people on it) and I was about her age when my Dad remarried. I had to be a bridesmaid in the wedding too but I didn't get to make a trip to London for the wedding nor was there a cute boy with an English accent to distract me. *sighs*
When Hadley misses her flight to London by four minutes, she cannot figure out if it is a blessing or a curse. She has been avoiding her father and his soon to be wife for a long time and she still isn't sure she can face them. When Oliver enters the picture, Hadley's world is completely thrown upside down.
This story is so much more than I thought it would be. It is way more than meeting a handsome boy at the airport. The range of emotions that Hadley experiences in just 24 hours makes this book so powerful. I found myself relating to Hadley over and over again. I felt her joy, her anger, her sadness, her heartbreak, and her acceptance just as she did. I even shed some tears with her. And let's not forget Oliver, what he has to deal with is just as emotional as Hadley's journey. It is so interesting to see how their paths meet again and again.
Jennifer Smith has written an incredible story. Once I opened this book, I didn't put it down until the final page. This book will definitely make my top of 2012 list.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is about Hadley, who’s on a flight to London to attend her father’s wedding. Understandably, she’s a bit bitter at him, since he seems to have moved on and found more happiness with future wife than he did before. At the airport, she meets Oliver, and through a series of movie-like coincidences, they spend several hours together and forge a sort of bond that, hopefully, is more long-lasting than either of them expects.
I would like to point out that the title (while relevant to the story) is a bit of a misrepresentation. The connection that Hadley finds with Oliver is never labeled as “love”, nor is it love in actuality. That is not to say that, given time, it could become real love—I can actually see the two of them making a very successful relationship back in the US once things calm down with their families and such. I think this book’s title is unfortunate, though, because I outright rejected it back when it first came out because, as I mentioned, I don’t believe in love at first sight (especially since it often comes in the form of instalove, a dangerous and disturbing phenomenon in YA fiction).
For me, this book was charming and endearing but not particularly heavy or serious-minded. I think some emotional, realistic issues were brought up, and they were handled in a way that was very touching. At the same time, I thought this read very much like a movie, and though I don’t think that would have worked for me usually, it did here. With a final tally of just over 200 pages, this book is rather short, and I breezed through it in a few hours. Obviously, there wasn’t much time for deep emotional explorations or whatnot, but I think it worked for Jennifer E. Smith here, as I didn’t find this book to be incomplete or lacking particularly.
So while The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight isn’t my favorite book ever, it’s most certainly a very enjoyable one. Well worth reading multiple times, and it had a lovely film-like quality that was utterly addicting. I also appreciated the realistic “love at first sight” scenario, because anything other than what actually happened would have caused me to pitch a massive fit. Also: woohoo, family dynamics in YA lit!
For reals, I adored The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. I love everything from the fact that Oliver is adorably British to the title being an inside joke from the story.
For some reason, I was under the impression that this whole story took place in an airport and on a plane. Don’t ask me where the idea came from since now that I think about it it makes no sense that 24 whole hours would be spent between those two places. I think it was probably for that reason that the airport and plane were my favorite parts of the story, but I still really enjoyed the other parts as well.
I also love that fact that everything that happens is a little unlikely, but the title of the story already tells you that. Yes, it’s unlikely that you’ll meet a super cute British guy at the airport and end up next to him on the same flight, but it’s still possible and that’s the important part.
Speaking of cute British guys…yeah, Oliver is basically awesome. He’s funny and cute and…British! Yay for accents ;] Plus, he has green eyes and I’ve always been a sucker for those.
If you’ve read a review about this book you’ve probably heard about how it’s not just a love story. How it’s also about Hadley’s relationship with her dad. And I’m sure, like me, you kept thinking “yeah, but what about the kissing?!?” But really, the kissing is awesome and important, but so is the father-daughter relationship. Though I’d never gone through a parents’ divorce I still felt I could relate to Hadley and her thoughts.
The Nutshell: There is kissing and it’s awesome. There is a confused teen girl and she’s easy to relate with. There’s a father-daughter that needs some working through and it’s interesting to see. There’s unbelievable chance meetings and it’s swoon-making and fantastic. If those things don’t convince you then don’t forget there’s a cute British guy ;]
You should know that the story isn’t all about Hadley and Oliver. Jennifer delves into Hadley’s background a lot and talks about the disaster of her parent’s divorce, her relationship with her father, and how Hadley has to come to grips with the fact that everyone is better off now. Her relationship with her father plays a key role in Hadley’s ability to believe in love and Jennifer incorporates that into the story well. This isn’t just a story about a guy and a girl falling in love, it’s about a girl learning to believe in love and marriage and understanding the importance of relationships and people in her life, whether its family, friends, or lovers. There are a lot of flashbacks into Hadley’s past as she tries to make sense of how her father could just leave her and her mother and fall in love with someone else. But you also get to learn a bit about Oliver too, which isn’t at all what I expected. The secondary characters were great too. I especially loved this woman named Victoria who, although doesn’t play a key role, was still very funny and memorable.
Jennifer paints a delightful and adorable picture of love and relationships in this story and it’s such a quick read too. I easily finished it in one sitting and didn’t find a dull moment in it at all. Although not an epic love story by any means, it plays with the idea of fate and romance that we all like to believe in and I enjoyed reading this book so much. Definitely pick it up when you get the chance!
I really enjoyed Hadley's character for a few different reasons. She's a really relatable character because like 75% of teenagers are dealing with one of their parents getting remarried, and this is a book for teenagers so about half of them will be able to relate to Hadley. I really felt for Hadley throughout the whole book when she was hating on her dad I was hating on her dad and when she was falling for Oliver I was falling for Oliver too!
I've never read a book quite like this before. Obviously I've read a love story before but i'm taking about falling in love in an airport! Never read anything like it and I'm really excited that I picked it up because I loved it. Sorry I'm pretty sure I'm repeating things now. Anyways let's talk more about the characters. Oliver was a british student which I loved. While reading the book I almost wish I had a british person with me to read his voice bemuses at the time I was reading I could picture his accent at all I wish I could have though because it would have made me fall for him more. I love accents!!
What did you guys think about Hadley's father? At first I hated him! I mean come on you claim to love your daughter but yet you move to London while she still lives in the states I mean come on! I understand you fell and love yada yada yada but you don't just move away randomly like that. He should've came home broke it off with his current wife and stayed around to the divorce was final so Hadley could see him and so she could get used to the idea of him moving! I just all around hated him until the end when things changed. I'm not going to tell you what changed because I don't want to spoil it but I'm glad things happened the way they did.
I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars because I couldn't stop turning pages. A quote on the back of the book said you'll be wishing to miss your next flight and I have to say I totally am hoping I miss my next flight. I'd love to find love spontaneously like that!
Hadley must travel to England to close one chapter of her life by participating in her father's marriage, while she's not ready to face the fact her parent's marriage is over.
Oliver isn't traveling to a wedding. His travel plans are for a funeral.
When Hadley misses her flight, she ends up sitting next to Oliver, and from there a romantic interlude distracts both Hadley and Oliver from fully dealing with their own problems. As their time together continues, both realize they have a spark neither one expected, and both wonder if it's worth the risk to pursue a love that should never have happened. Clearly, it was all a mistake, an accident, a statistical improbability. Or, was it?
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight can be described in one word. Adorable. I loved it! Hadley and Oliver were great and I want to have a romance like theirs. Now before you go and think that this book is just full of fluff let me stop you. It is so much more than that, it is about love, loss, and forgiveness. It is about taking risks even when you are scared to, and accepting what you cannot change.
Jennifer E. Smith has created a real gem. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is heartfelt and wonderful. It made me happy and fulfilled after reading it. I cannot express how it was sweet but, yet it deals with some heavy issues. I think you should just go read it so you can see what I mean.
The thing about the title is while it is a mouthful, once you find it in the book you feel like you are part of an inside joke between Hadley and Oliver which to me just makes it that much more special.
This is a perfect book for fans of Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins.
Let me get this out of the way: Divorce sucks. It's sucks, and it's crap, and I hate it. Believe what you want, but anything that normalizes divorce really grinds my gears. This is a book that portrays love as something that comes and goes, like a that really cute dress that was great for you in high school but really doesn't work any more now that you're a college graduate, rather than something that takes work. I knew I was going to get a lot of that crap going into the book, and even though I knew it, reading about how a grown man can ditch his family over "love at first sight" with some leggy British chick still made me furious. (Do you think it was "love at first sight" with his FIRST wife, too? Hmmmmm?)
Okay, that's the end of my rant. I promise, that's the last of it. Maybe it wasn't my place as a reviewer, but I'm new to this gig, and I felt that if I said nothing that I was being dishonest somehow. But the rant is out of the way, and you can do with it what you wish. Now for the rest of my review.
The story itself was surprisingly charming in its own simplistic way. Hadley is seventeen and late for her father's wedding. She missed her flight by four whole minutes, so now she's stuck by herself in an airport and might not make it to London in time. Not that she cares. She didn't want to go to her father's wedding anyways, and her dress is probably a wrinkled mess. In the midst of Hadley's impressive internal snit comes Oliver, a charming British boy who steps in to help her with her luggage. They hit it off... and keep hitting it off, all the way across the Atlantic.
Smith starts each chapter with the time (EST and Greenwich Mean) to chart how long Hadley and Oliver have known each other and how much time they have left. A cute idea, but I can't say I ever really paid attention to the headers. I was more interested in how she utilized time within the chapters themselves. Smith chose to make the narrative present tense, a choice that works very well when the work is rife with immediacy and action (see: Hunger Games). However, unless the plane is crashing or there's a terrorist on board, a flight over the Atlantic doesn't exactly brim with immediacy and action. Only during carefully interspersed flashbacks to Hadley's interactions with her parents does the tense change from present to past. Of course, this is precisely when I felt the most comfortable with the story.
Through the flashbacks, we learn how Hadley learned of her parents' separation, divorce, and respective new relationships. It's a rough road. Not in a HBO kind of way with screaming and shattered plates (Hadley's parents are remarkably civil), but just in the common, realistic, emotionally draining path that most kids slog through when their worlds fall apart.
Love, marriage, and all that stuff is what drives the novel. Hadley tries to figure out what happened to her parents even as she tries to reconcile their two new relationships (Dad with fiancee Charlotte, and Mom with her dentist) and her own interest in Oliver. Oliver is working out some questions of his own, but I can't really get into that without spoilers. (Basically, at the end, he gets to play Author's Advocate, which is a little like being Devil's Advocate except it's way preachier.)
The book isn't terribly surprising in any way. The "evil" stepmother-to-be is, of course, a delightful human being. Father is dreadfully awkward and sad, but hey, he was just following his heart! Cute British boy is cute and British and gets to be the author's sensible mouthpiece through most of the book. There's even a slightly wacky, proto-cool bridesmaid that plays the "My dad did the same thing when I was your age" bit and an overly possessive ex-girlfriend. If that was all, I would say skip the book. It's just another fluff piece, save your money and your time.
Except Hadley felt real. She felt like a living, breathing person, and she managed to radiate with pain in scenes without devolving into a hideous, emo stereotype. She's a real girl dealing with an incredibly real situation. Her family split in two. Her dad left her mom for another woman and it totally sucks because he's turned her world upside-down and she can't figure out what went wrong. My parents have never put me through anything like Hadley's situation, but I have a very close friend who went through the nearly exact same situation, and reading this story was like listening to her story all over again. To be honest, I straight up cried in a few places.
Like it or not, divorce is a very real, very prevalent feature in many teens' lives. While I don't agree with Smith's "divorce is for the best" spin, I do think this book is good for those struggling with a divorce in the family, struggling with forgiveness, struggling with how to move on. So, for me, this book earns my respect.
***Points Added For: Airport Nazi ladies (they exist!), throat-clenching emotion, resilient mothers, cute British boys, bookish fathers, adorable cover.
***Points Subtracted For: Unnecessary present tense, stereotypes, predictability, really unnecessary prologue.
***Good For Fans Of: ... Books that I don't normally read, so I'm not much help (Amazon suggests The Fault in Our Stars.)
***Notes For Parents: Mild profanity, underage drinking.