(Click the book cover to see on Goodreads)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Length: 236 pages
Publication: January 2nd 2012 by Poppy/Little Brown
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?
‘The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight’ is written in third person present tense with omniscient point of view. Though, the narration stays with seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan for the majority of the book. Unfortunately, this offers up a lot of teen angst and whiney inner monologue.
Pacing: This book is a fast read. The entire story takes place over a course of twenty-four hours and each scene offers up important information or well-designed character interaction. These allow for an engaging story that can’t easily be put down.
World: The world is not well developed in this book. There are names of locations within the real world. Yet none of the scenes are given enough detail to truly envision them. Still, because of the style of book and emphasis on character interactions, the world-building isn’t necessary and would add as more of a distraction than an input.
Writing: The writing has the style of an inner monologue. It brings to focus the little things, the things a teenager would think about, which adds a unique voice to the story. This adds a very realistic quality to the writing style, making it easy for a reader to connect.
Character: The main character, Hadley Sullivan, is a moody seventeen-year-old. She thinks the world is ending. She reacts with angst, too much angst. She overreacts and becomes one of the most annoying teenagers in young adult literature. Even when she speaks with upbeat, cheerful Oliver, she snaps back with anger and sarcasm. It’s rather annoying, even if realistic.
Non-Spoilered Plot: Hadley Sullivan believes her world is ending when her mother forces her to go to her father’s wedding in London. Yet, fate has a way of changing even the worst of scenarios. All it takes is a few ill-timed events and a chance meeting with a handsome stranger for Hadley to realize she may not fully understand the world yet at her young age of seventeen.
Plot: The main plot of this book is rebirth of Hadley Sullivan, a seventeen-year-old with divorced parents. While she was devastated when she found out about their divorce, she believes the world is ending entirely when her father invites her to his wedding. In fact, it takes quite a bit of strong-arming on her mother’s part to get her to go to it at all, but Hadley does so grudgingly.
She spends half the book complaining about her father and his wedding and the future stepmother she’s never met and how much of a witch she must be. The other half is spent wallowing in self-pity because she’s being forced to endure a claustrophobic plane ride across the Atlantic. This charade of teenage angst continues even in the presence of others, no matter how handsome.
Nothing can seem to cheer her up, at least not fully. No matter how hard Oliver tries to distract her from her claustrophobia and her self-pity and her wallowing, she doesn’t give in. She keeps slipping back into that state and it’s rather annoying and pathetic. It isn’t until much later, when she realizes that he was putting on a brave face despite going to his father’s funeral that she realizes how childish and selfish she’s been.
It’s this twist of fate that helps Hadley to realize that life is short. It wasn’t her father’s fault for falling in love with another woman because love is an illogical, unpredictable thing, as Hadley is now figuring out for herself. It’s because of her chance encounter with Oliver and the feelings she’s developing for him that she realizes she can’t blame her father for everything and she can’t keep punishing him by running away.
Hadley should be happy with the time she’s been given and must take full advantage of it, even if it means spending time with her new stepmother, who happens to not be as bad as she imagined her to be. (Again, more teenagish thought patterns of making their lives seem ten times worse than they actually are and not wanting to give into reality when it slaps them in the face.)
In the end, Hadley realizes how foolish, childish, and selfish she’s been,. This allows her to make the changes required to become a better person and make use of the valuable time she has with the ones she loved: the new ones and the old ones. It’s for this reason that I leave my rating of this book, ‘The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight’, at five stars.
Have you read ‘The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight’ by Jennifer E. Smith? What did you think of it?
Let me know in the comments below!