Saturday, February 25, 2012

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

Hadley is on her way to London, which should be awesome, right?  Uh, yeah, no.  She's on her way to London to be a bridesmaid in her dad's wedding to Charlotte, who she's never met (on purpose, but still).  Charlotte, who made him decide to stay in London after the semster that was just supposed to be a sabbatical - the one that Hadley and her mom encouraged him to take.  Charlotte, who is the reason her parents are divorced and her dad now lives in another country.  And to start her weekend of horrible, she's just missed her flight.  By four minutes.  So now she's stuck at JFK waiting for the next flight to London, which gets into Heathrow at 9:54 AM.  The wedding starts at noon.  Super.

Hadley's not really in the mood to sit around sulking in the waiting area for the next three hours, so she decides to take a walk.  Which is when she meets Oliver.  Tall with startling green eyes and tousled hair and fabulously British, Oliver goes to Yale but is on his way back to London for the weekend.  The connection is instant.  Unbelievably, they're in seats 18A and 18C, and with the generosity of their elderly seat mate, they end up next to each other.  As the plane hurtles through the darkness over the Atlantic, Hadley finds herself at the beginning of something that could be amazing.

But when Hadley emerges into the daylight of London on the other side of customs and baggage, Oliver is nowhere to be found in the crowds.  And with barely enough time to make it to her dad's dreaded nuptials, all she can do is call a cab.  She doesn't even know Oliver's last name, just that he too was on his way to a church - one in Paddington (a town? a street?  a neighborhood?), with a stone statue in front that Oliver used to climb with his brothers, at 2PM.  To a wedding too, she thought - although now she's not so sure.  It's impossible that they would meet again - isn't it?

In the hubbub of airports, the dark, quiet intimacy of an international flight, and across the busy streets of London, the universe aligns again and again for Hadley and Oliver, leaving you to wonder - what is the statistical probability of love at first sight?  Although the story unfolds in just 24 hours, there are plenty of flashbacks to fill in everything that led Hadley and Oliver to both be in JFK waiting for a flight to London at the same moment. Not just romance, there's tons of awesome family stuff here too - turns out Hadley's dad really loves her, a lot, and Charlotte - well, she's actually kind of awesome.  For fans of books like Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, this fun, sweet romantic romp will make you want to buy a ticket to London hopes of finding a little improbable love of your own!

(now reading Life: A Diagram Exploded by the oh-so-brilliantly talented Mal Peet)