THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Jennifer E. Smith
Contemporary Young Adult
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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 is one of those surprising stories that packs an emotional punch where one wasn’t really expected, and the depth of our involvement has us flipping the pages with an unforeseen rapidity as we spend a short 24 hours in Hadley’s life. Told primarily in third person and present tense, Hadley’s journey to London and the wedding she wants no part of is a touch difficult to get into, the present tense throwing us off just a bit as we struggle to figure out just what about the way the words are flowing is causing us to stop and take notice. Once we get used to the present tense however, we find ourselves fully immersed in Hadley’s conflicted feelings toward her father, her sweet romantic interest in Oliver, and her attempt to come to terms with how her life is changing.
Hadley is a young woman it would have been so easy to disregard as a teenager who’s lashing out in anger are the injustice of her life; someone who works herself into a dramatic frenzy and forces all the focus to her while the other characters simply rotate around her trying to appease her and heal her wounds. Luckily for us however, Hadley is written with beautiful maturity, wanting so badly to hate her father and his soon-to-be new wife and keep them at a distance the same way she feels they’ve so easily distanced themselves from her and her mother, but ultimately she acknowledges that those feelings will only leave her with a sense of regret when they grant her the break from her father she thinks she wants. She says what’s on her mind to her father without screaming and ranting (though she certainly deserves to do a bit of that), and is able to address her hurt and her fears for their future together with far more grace than most would be able given the circumstances.
Hadley’s relationship with Oliver is adorably realistic and sweet, with no instant love or even instant smoldering attraction, but rather just an innocent connection to someone working through his own family issues as they both fly to meet those issues face to face. Their interactions are filled with humor and wit, and when they lose one another in Heathrow airport, our hearts pound double time in our chests, the extra beats working to help fill the void we feel at their separation despite the fact they’ve only known one another for hours. There’s nothing fantastical about the two of them; no special gifts or unique powers, and no tragic darkness or brutal pasts, just the lovely normalcy of lives filled with joys and pains to which we can so easily relate.
Overall, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight takes a minute or two to adjust to, but quickly becomes a read we cannot bear to put down, our need to see how events unfold for Hadley and her family as well as Oliver and his more important than the duties and responsibilities awaiting us in our own reality.