Tuesday, March 20, 2012

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

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
January 2, 2012; Poppy/Little Brown


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.(courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

If you're like me, your first instinct when hearing about a YA contemporary romance set over a 24 hour period is to stay far far away. It sounds like a million other frothy insta-love stories you've already read. Don't listen to that instinct! The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is magical. It may only be 250 pages and take place over 24 hours, but by the end of the story, it feels like Hadley and Oliver have known each other forever and you've been following their lives for years.

Hadley and Oliver are immediately likeable. At first glance, Hadley seems like the typical sulky teen, but it soon becomes clear that her reticence and complaints are largely justified. After all, if your dad cheated on your mom, divorced her, and then decided to get married to said paramour a year later, wouldn't you be a bit miffed? She handles the drama as well as most teens would. She is a full fledged person: kind, impulsive, funny, angry, regretful, cautious, and more.

Our first impression of Oliver is of a tall guy with dark, longish hair with powdered donut sugar staining his shirt. One of my favorite things about this book is that it's not overly focused on looks. Hadley is attracted to Oliver immediately, but it's his personality that she falls for much more than his looks. There's only a few points within the story where he is physically described at all. Their relationship isn't about smoldering eyes, an awesome smile, or great hair. It's about humor, fun, and understanding.

The book does take place over 24 hours, but it is interspersed with flashbacks of Hadley's year since her dad left. That allows us to understand why Hadley is so upset and why she's traveling to England in the first place. It makes the book feel richer. The flashbacks sometimes felt a bit abrupt, but they weren't overly jarring.

Hadley and Oliver slowly progress from strangers to friends to more than that. Over the course of a long flight, they discuss everything under the sun. While it is a short time period, they probably get to know each other better than a lot of people who have been dating for months. The story is chock full of dialogue as the two banter back and forth. I particularly liked that they sounded smart and funny but not too smart and funny. Some YA novels are so full of witty quips that you'd think the teens were professional satirists. There's a fine line between wit that sounds real and wit that sounds contrived and  The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight did a great job of toeing that line.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is a light, sweet, quick read that is sure to put a smile on your face. If I wanted to get picky, I would point out that Hadley's issues with her family evolved a bit too quickly to feel realistic - but at the same time the resolutions didn't seem entirely implausible. Otherwise, the pacing and plotting was incredibly successful for the type of book it is. It's a book I will go back to again and again just for the sheer pleasure of a fly-over romance.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

27 comments:

  1. This book just didn't do it for me - and I normally like 24hr contemporary romances! Glad you enjoyed it :)

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  2. Gosh this is one of those books that I see everywhere yet I haven't gotten my own copy yet. I read already about the issues with the parents but I'm so happy you liked it! It does sound cute!

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  3. Wonderful review, Alison! I completely agree with you. Although the entire book takes place over 24 hours, I never got that creepy feeling instalove usually gives me. That's not what happened at all and the story had unexpected depth.
    Again, great review!
    Maja @ The Nocturnal Library

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  4. Heard nothing but great things about this book! Great review, Alison!

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  5. Great review! If I hadn't already read and loved this one, I'd have to read it right away. Thank you for sharing! :)

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  6. I have this one on my wishlist. I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

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  7. Great review! I loved this book as well. The romance is so believable, even though it develops in 24 hours. Also, it deals with real issues, which makes the story realistic as well.
    Glad you enjoyed it ;D
    ~~Beatriz @ AWWIP

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  8. I've yet to pick this one up. Like you, I avoided it with the constant "insta-love" thing going on in YA. I think I judged it too harshly and give it a chance.

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  9. I was definitely worried about this one when I first read the title and premise as well, but I was pleasantly surprised by the relationship between Oliver and Hadley! I do have to say Hadley was more mature than I would have been in her shoes with regard to her dad, she got over her anger at him I think pretty easily, and I would have held a grudge a bit longer I think. I guess I'm a touch vindictive:) Fabulous review Alison!

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  10. Great review!! I really enjoyed this one :)

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  11. Lovely review Alison! I kind of like books that happen in a 24 hour period, or over the course of one night. Mainly because I find that when this type of book is done right, all the dialogue and all the reflection by the characters counts. There's no time for small talk or false actions, know what I mean?
    Two of my fave examples are Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Graffiti Moon. I really enjoyed your review, I hope I can read this soon!

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  12. I haven't had the chance to read this one yet, but when I saw it for the first time on Target's bookshelves, and saw the title, it had me absolutely intrigued to read it! This looks like a great story, and I've heard only great things about it, so I am definitely looking forward to reading it in the future :).

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  13. I heart this book so much! I loved the emotions flowing in it! Loved the review :)

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  14. Aww glad you liked it. I still need to read this one. It's on my shelf waiting for me !

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  15. This one is waiting for me on my shelf. I've heard such great things about the story and characters, I don't know why I haven't read it yet. Slacker.

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  16. I'm so glad you liked this one :) Your review reminded me all over again why I love this book so much!

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

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  17. Aww, Alison, what a lovely, heartfelt review! I have this one on my Nook and it's definitely high up on my TBR list. It just sounds so...poignant and sweet. And you've re-ignited my interest in it. Just hearing the way you describe Hadley and Oliver is...love. :)

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

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  18. Sounds like a lovely little book. I've read a few positive reviews now, so I'll keep my eye out for this one!

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  19. I liked this one, too! It's a sweet story. At first I thought it was going to be just another cheesy stab at a romance novel, but it surprised me and I actually found I enjoyed reading it. The story had it's good moments, and I liked reading about the relationship between Hadley and her father.

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  20. Ahhh I adored this book! You say it perfectly, I loved that their dialogue is intelligent and witty without being over-the-top, too-refined intelligent and witty. There are some books where you can feel how edited the words are, and this one is so genuine and real - absolutely brilliant!

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  21. I was surprised by how much I liked this one as well. I agree with what you said about the romance not being about smoldering eyes and what not. It's more authentic and honest. Great review Allison!

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  22. Usually, the only way I can support insta love is if the couple are instantly likable. I'm glad that seemed to be the case here. There is something magic about love at first sight that allows you to let go of things you would normally pick at.

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  23. "It may only be 250 pages and take place over 24 hours, but by the end of the story, it feels like Hadley and Oliver have known each other."

    That is quite the impressive feat. I'm a bit doubtful but incredibly curious to see how she manages it for myself! I plan to make this one of the very, very few contemporaries that I read this year.

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  24. I just read this and thought it was amazing! Good review :)!

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  25. I have heard such great things about this book and it has been at the top of my list for what feels like ages. I originally wondered about the insta-love factor but am thrilled to hear that was not an issue. Excellent review Alison - I'm so happy to hear that you loved it! :)

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  26. This is the first good review I've seen for this book and because this review was written by you I'm horribly torn. I'll be giving reading this book some serious thought.

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