Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Published: January 2, 2012
Publisher: Poppy/Little Brown
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
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“Love is the strangest, most illogical thing in the world.”My Thoughts
― Jennifer E. Smith, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
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. (Goodreads)
Happy Valentine's Day! I decided to read a mushy romance for Valentine's Day, something I don't do too often. I was torn between Amy & Roger's Epic Detour and this one. I'd like to say that I picked The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight after long consideration and comparing the reviews of both books, but I mainly chose it because of the heart on the front cover and how that fit in with the Valentine's Day theme.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight took me by surprise. Honestly, I was expecting fluff and a gag worthy romance. Maybe even a combination of elements from Serendipity (I adore this movie). It was actually none of the above. Against all my expectations, I found The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight to be more than just another chick lit book. There was less romance and more focus on Hadley's and Oliver's family struggles than I had anticipated, making for deep and meaningful scenes.
I really sympathized with Hadley. She has it rough. She's flying overseas to meet her stepmother for the first time at her wedding with her father. I can hardly imagine how uncomfortable that situation would be in real life. In The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Hadley's anxiety about the wedding and meeting her stepmother isn't glossed over with romance. If anything, Oliver's presence is the one thing that helps Hadley through this difficult time. When she feels lost, Oliver is there as an unexpected comfort. Oliver is also going through a hard time in his life, and I think their shared trepidation helps the two of them to connect. Oliver and Hadley meet as strangers, but a day later, they have come to know each other so well. It's as if it was fated for the two of them to cross paths.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight heavily focuses on the serendipity of their meeting. If Hadley had been in time for her original flight, she never would have even met Oliver. The book highlights all the little things that made her late for her flight, seemingly meaningless actions that would actually have a huge impact on her future. For example, she forgets to pack something. I loved how a small, insignificant choice or mistake could have so much influence on the future. It makes you think long and hard. What if you had done something differently in the past? Would your life still look the same or would your situation be completely reversed?
I thought Oliver and Hadley were sweet together. Oliver was just the right mix of quirky and sympathetic. He wasn't perfect, which made him all the more realistic, but I didn't find myself liking him any less for his flaws. It just made him human. I felt the same about Hadley. She wasn't unnaturally beautiful, like so many YA protagonists unfortunately are, but her insecurities never reached the point of obnoxiousness. I thought her claustrophobia was an interesting touch, and it worked well with her feelings on her parents' divorce. While I loved the budding romance, I really appreciated how Smith explored the relationship between Hadley and her father. The flashbacks added so much to the storyline, and because of them, I was able to sympathize with all that Hadley has lost. For she hasn't just lost happily married parents; she has also lost the sense of security she felt as a child, her close relationship with her father, and the once cherished connection she shared with her mother. Oliver helps her come to terms with all of the changes by listening and just being there, and he also offers a new and welcome change in her life.
While I enjoyed The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, it did follow a somewhat predictable route. I was able to guess the outcome before I was halfway through. I also found the synopsis a bit misleading. I was expecting Oliver and Hadley to bump into each other constantly, making for a random and fortuitous story. Instead, Hadley and Oliver actively sought each other out after their first meeting, and they met by choice and not chance. I still loved watching events unfold, and I thought The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight was a heart-warming story that will stay with you long after you've finished.