Saturday, January 24, 2015

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Series: Stand-Alone
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 2 January 2012

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?

There's a lot to like in this book, unfortunately I think some of my personal history came to bear and left me feeling less than enamoured with The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Usually when I start a review I have a pretty good idea where I'm heading, what rating I'm going to give it, and how I - ultimately - feel about it. Here, I'm just not so sure. I know I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. And honestly it was a bit too short for me to really develop any strong feelings at all. The upside of that is that it's a quick, easy read.

My biggest problem was Oliver, the hero. He has this ... belittling sense of humor that hit a little too close to my abusive past. It could just as easily be read as playful ribbing, but having been made to feel stupid over and over and over again - well, I know the damage those little comments can do on a person's self-esteem. He never had a serious conversation, all his responses were glib and sarcastic, and I don't think he ever really gave a truthful answer. That can make for fun encounters, laughing or whatever, but it's not something to help one get to know a person.

Then there's Hadley herself. She came across as self-centered, spoiled, and heedlessly cruel. Her parents have divorced and she's so mad at her father for leaving her family, and she takes it out on everyone around her. Her father - by refusing to see him, talk to him, or acknowledge that he's getting married; her mother - by being short, cruel and unthinking in her interactions with her. And then there's Oliver himself, whom - once she finds out what he's going through - can only think of herself and how he's reacting to her.

I enjoyed how the relationship was healed between Hadley and her father, and her mother for that matter. Even if it was a little too neat and pat. I feel like I would have enjoyed this story a whole lot more if the romance wouldn't have been the sole focus, and the family angle would have been given a bit more depth.

The really nice thing is that this was an incredibly quick read. Though close to 50% of the book is either taking place real-time on the plane or in flashbacks to the plane, and I thought the flight was never going to end, it still read really quickly and easily. I like Jennifer E. Smith's writing style and am looking forward to reading something else by her - where maybe I'll like the characters a bit more.

Grade: C-

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