Title: The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Published: January 2, 2012 (Poppy/Little Brown)
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: Four Stars
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. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother 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 sitting in her row.
A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?
Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.
Cover Thoughts: I fell in love with this cover the first time I saw it. The black and white cover is really gorgeous and simple. I love that the couple is in focus, while the background isn’t. The red on the cover really contrasts nicely and emphasizes the love aspect. I also think the font is really original and different.
First Line: There are so many ways it could have all turned out differently.
“There are so many ways it could have all turned out differently” This book certainly delves into the power of fate. Hadley thinks about all the little things that could have changed her meeting Oliver. I love that The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight definitely plays the what-if games. What if Hadley hadn’t forgotten a book? What if she hadn’t waited to try on her dress? What if she hadn’t given herself a paper cut when printing out her plane ticket? What if, what if, what if? So many things could have affected her and Oliver’s meeting and yet somehow, they still did.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is a short read at only 236 pages. However, 236 pages was enough to get me hooked. This is a very sweet story with a realistic portrayal of teenagers, family dynamics and a little romance. The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight is the kind of book that makes me want to go to an airport in hopes of finding love but more importantly finding a connection like the one Hadley had with Oliver. The story is written third person, although readers mostly see and hear about Hadley.
The title is what attracted me to this book instantly although it doesn’t quite fit exactly. The refreshing thing about the story is that while it sounds like a straight love story, there is much more to it than that. In fact, despite the title, I’m not sure I would even say Hadley and Oliver fell in love, so there’s definitely no “instalove”. I could see both of the characters easily getting into a relationship though once they returned to the States.
Over a seven hour plane ride, Hadley and Oliver connect with each other despite only just meeting. I liked how Oliver helped Hadley with her claustrophobia on the plane which was a nice touch of realism. I enjoyed seeing Hadley and Oliver getting to know one another with both serious questions and unserious ones. Their interaction was really sweet and believable.
In addition to Hadley and Oliver growing closer, we see Hadley’s understandable distaste for her father’s remarrying and her coming to terms with it. We hear about this in her own thoughts, to Oliver, her mother and her father as well. She resents that her father left her and her mother to go to London to work as a professor and then fell in love with another woman. Readers also learn Oliver’s own circumstances regarding the event he’s going to.
One of the highlights is how The Statistical Probability deals with family dynamics and its relevancy. In my opinion, the trope of a parent getting remarried and their child being rebellious of the idea, is a bit overdone. However, I think this is one of the book’s best plots. Throughout The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight Hadley wonders how her father could just leave her and her mother and why they weren’t enough. Both of her parents give explanations of love to her and how it’s not always logical. Hadley grows as a character and realizes her father remarrying is not the worst thing that could happen. Hadley was annoying at times in relation to her “I don’t believe in marriage” talk, but it was again understandable given her parents circumstances.
Something I noticed is the sort of parallel between Hadley’s parents’ marriage circumstances and Hadley and Oliver’s actions. While their marriage has crumbled and in turn caused Hadley not to believe in love anymore, we see her realizing how complicated love really is and how it can change without any signs.
I really enjoyed Hadley’s conversations with her father whether flashback or in real time. We see how she thinks now and affected her compared to then. She realizes things about her and her father now that she hadn’t before. Besides Hadley, we also see Oliver dealing with his own share of family issues. A lot of what he says to Hadley on the flight regarding family makes sense when knowing about his own.
I felt Hadley was a realistic character that I could definitely see part of myself in. Even though she didn’t like her father remarrying, she had no problem with her mother being in a relationship. I found this to be believable because what people think is okay for one person may not be for another. It’s also easy for her to wonder why her father could just leave because she’s not sure how love completely works yet.
The character we’re supposed to fall in love with is Oliver. Unfortunately, Smith didn’t get as in depth with him as I would have liked. However I still felt he was a realistic character whose actions and thoughts I found believable. I did like the conversations he had with Hadley on the plane. I do wish I saw him interact with more people than just Hadley to get a real feel for him though. Regarding his own circumstances in London, it would have been nice to delve deeper into his thoughts and feelings while at the event. I did enjoy the running gag that involved Hadley asking him what he’s studying and him telling her ridiculous responses. At the end of the book we really do figure out what he’s studying.
Hadley’s parents were well written for as much as they were in it. I would have liked to see more of Hadley’s father’s fiancee since she’s one of the causes for why Hadley made the trip to London.
This book was a little predictable given the title as well as the prologue. It’s one of those books you know has a happy ending, you just have to get to it. I would say that this story is more about Hadley than it is Oliver with much of the focus being on herself and her parents. I wish The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight was a bit longer to explore Oliver’s character and the aftermath. I still think it’s enjoyable though. The reading style of the book was very easy to read. I had no problems with any of the wording. I enjoyed the way Smith told the story. While it’s not a complete romance, there are several instances where you’re certain to “aw”. If you’re looking for a heartfelt, light read with romance and a little something else, I definitely recommend this book.