Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy/Little Brown
Publish Date: January 2, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Four minutes changes everything. Hadley Sullivan 17 misses her flight at JFK airport, is late to her father’s second wedding in London with never-met stepmother. Hadley meets the perfect boy. Oliver is British, sits in her row. A long night on the plane passes in a blink, but the two lose track in arrival chaos. Can fate bring them together again?
If I recall correctly, this book was a Christmas present and my third read of the year. The previous two books I read kept me up at night, simply because they were well-written and immediately captured my attention. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for this book. I abstained from my late-night reading while I slowly struggled through this book. Though I felt well rested the next day, I was utterly bored while reading this and was tempted to throw up the white flag and move on.
The only reason this book appeared on my “To-Read” shelf, and, eventually, my “Read” shelf was because of the interesting premise that was described on Barnes and Noble’s website. Hadley, a girl in her late teen, is preparing to board a flight to London to attend her father’s second wedding. When she misses her flight, it is rescheduled for three hours later, giving her plenty of time to roam around the airport. She repeatedly runs into a complete stranger – who she later learns is named Oliver – and the two begin talking. Oliver, a British student at Yale, is coincidentally flying home to London on the same flight. Questions arise as to whether Hadley will make it to the wedding on time and if she will ever see Oliver again.
How dramatic. Or so I thought until I actually picked up the book. Originally, I believed the third person limited narration was the main hindrance that noticeably slowed my progress. I have read several books with such a perspective in the past, but was unable to connect to the storyline and the characters throughout this one. I felt like a complete stranger, simply catching a glimpse of someone else’s life, while never really learning much about them. The gradual development of the book, however, portrayed that I had come to a false conclusion.
While the narration was only marginally responsible for my dislike of the book, I quickly discovered that I didn’t like any of the main, or even minor, characters. I couldn’t relate to them whatsoever. I felt like I was reading about a collection of two dimensional people with little emotion and unique characteristics.
Let’s start with Hadley, shall we? Some nearly immediate complaints:
a) She was the epitome of a three year old child throwing a tantrum (minus the tears) on several occasions throughout the book. Yes, she is understandably upset that her father is marrying another woman, but she takes the drama queen routine a bit too far.
b) She is, overall, hypocritical. At the beginning of the book, she explains all about her old boyfriend dumping her, vowing to guard her heart much more carefully in the future. She doesn’t want to put her future children through a divorce, like her own parents. And what does she do? She meets a complete stranger in an airport, who doesn’t even live in the same country, and kisses him in the middle of customs.
c) She has no common sense. As I already mentioned above, she has completely ignored the lessons you learn in first grade about not talking to strangers. Additionally, in the middle of her father’s wedding, she stands up, walks out of the church, and leaves. You’re probably thinking something along the lines of “Why?” To go find her “boyfriend” from the airport.
Now let’s move on to her dad. He travels to Oxford to teach. He meets another woman. He dumps Hadley’s mother. He marries another woman. Therefore, Hadley despises him. She doesn’t understand how he could so quickly dump her mother and then run off with someone else. This is the entire focus of Hadley’s thoughts throughout the entire book. No exaggeration. I felt sympathetic the first five times it was mentioned, but then was unable to muster any sorrow whatsoever for the girl after time 35 or so. Contrary to Hadley’s extreme hate of her father, she actually seems happy to see him at the wedding. Now her father I would call a cheater and Hadley, once again, I would label as a hypocrite.
While I could continue on and on for many more paragraphs about my dislike for the book, I will bring this review to a fast close. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book. It has received many positive reviews, but I was unable to relate the positive feedback I’ve heard with the book I read. Don’t put yourself through the agony.