Author: Jennifer E. Smith (author website)
Release Date: January 5th 2012 by Headline
Age Group: Young Adult
I loved The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight... at first sight. Sweet, fun, funny, and heartbreaking, the intensity of emotion Hadley’s story provoked took me by surprise. I expected to fall in love. I didn’t expect to rant and rave* and scream and cry.
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
Imagine if she hadn't forgotten the book. Or if there hadn't been traffic on the expressway. Or if she hadn't fumbled the coins for the toll. What if she'd run just that little bit faster and caught the flight she was supposed to be on. Would it have been something else - the weather over the Atlantic or a fault with the plane?
Hadley isn't sure if she believes in destiny or fate but, on what is potentially the worst day of each of their lives, it's the quirks of timing and chance events that mean Hadley meets Oliver...
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.
Hadley has just missed her flight. Missed it by only four minutes. Maybe it’s fate trying to give her a way out, because the last thing she wants to do is get on a plane to London where she’ll be forced to watch her Dad marry the woman he tore their family apart for. Seriously. Not. Cool.
So now Hadley’s waiting in the terminal to catch the next flight, pondering the mechanics of fate, how very, very small the massive international airport is, and how very alone she feels, when she’s quite suddenly not alone anymore. Meet Oliver. British, charming**, cryptic and beautiful, he’s flying home for his own rather reluctant duty. Think four minutes can change a life? What about a seven hour flight with the guy who may just prove the existence of love at first sight...
This is more than a simple love story, or a tale of heartbreak and a broken family. The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight is told over a 24 hour period, which you wouldn’t think would allow much time for people to fall in love, overcome their past hurts and grow. Yet in Jennifer E. Smith’s hands, constraints fade away, time stretches out, folds back in on itself, and we’re left with a magic little journey.
Hadley:At the heart of TSPOLAFS (love that acronym!) is—well, rather obviously I suppose—a fabulous protagonist: Hadley. After her parents very sudden divorce, Hadley’s happy world has come crashing down around her, and while she’s picking up the pieces, her Dad’s betrayal is not something she’s willing to forgive or forget. Her grief, her hurt, her anger and sorrow have became real, living things in this book, and as I sat with her in the airport terminal and on her plane, stood with her in the church, and ran across London, I shared her emotions with painful intensity.
Hadley makes a journey in this book, and it’s not just to another country. She’s sad, she’s tired, and she’s a hurting girl, but she’s brave, whether she knows it or not, and she’s smart. As she nears the event that will finalise the end of her old family, and create an inescapable new one, she looks inwardly and starts a journey towards forgiveness. I wanted to deny this. I wanted Hadley to stay angry. I thought her father deserved it... Well, Hadley’s a bigger person than I am. I loved her for this
Please, Sir. Can I Have Some More Oliver?As far as strangers met in airports go, Hadley could do a lot worse. And, well, not really much better. Hadley and Oliver share an instant connection they both recognise, and destiny really does seem rather bent on driving the pair together. I believe I’ve mentioned ‘British’, and ‘Charming’, but I suppose you want more? Fine. Oliver’s sparkling wit and humour have him leaping off the page, and this poor, lovely boy has his own heartbreaks to deal with. Despite the timeframe in which Oliver and Hadley meet—and, well, the name of the book—their connection doesn’t feel like ‘instalove’. It feels like the beginning of something beautiful. A promise of a tomorrow, and a tomorrow after that.
Daddy, Dearest:The real villain in the piece is Hadley’s dad... a character I’m still deeply conflicted over. After tearing his family apart in ways so thoughtlessly cruel and selfish I can barely even begin to comprehend, it’s obvious he’s trying to patch things up with his daughter. He still wants to be in her life, even though she’s pushed him away.
The man infuriated me. While on one hand, I felt he didn’t try hard enough to right his wrongs, on another he loves his daughter deeply, and he’s broken something and doesn’t know how to fix it. Ultimately, I felt much the same way about him as Hadley did: I loved and hated him. Deeply flawed, layered and nuanced, Smith has created a character who—despite being a despicable ass—is difficult to write off. Like Hadley, I didn’t want to forgive him... and I didn’t; instead I came to understand him, and to hope he and his daughter have a happier future.
The Verdict:An emotional rollercoaster, The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight left me feeling raw and happy and ultimately, hopeful. The themes of fate and chance recur throughout the book, and I loved the idea of the impact just a few minutes can make on your life. Think about it. A seemingly simple concept, in Smith’s hands, becomes something magic, layered, and complex, and Hadley’s journey towards finding the beginnings of forgiveness was a beautiful thing to witness. When hurt runs this deep, forgiveness isn’t a thing you do once, and move on from. It’s a choice you have to keep making every day. Though never preachy, I feel as though I’ve learned a lesson from TSPOLAFS. Some things are more important than being right, or being wronged. Sometimes people hurt you... but they’re people. If we love them, we find it in the strength we all carry within to move on.
So let’s talk about love. I loved this book. I loved the characters, I loved the sweet beginnings of something big and bold and beautiful between Oliver and Hadley... and along with Hadley, I loved learning forgiveness is something you have to find within yourself. I’ve a feeling this one is going to stay with me for a long time.
Please, Sir, Can I Have Some More?
- Eleusinian Mysteries - 5/5 Golden Apples
- Forget Me Not - 5/5 'Forget Me Not' Flowers
- Catching Books - 5/5 Stars
- Xpresso Reads - 5/5 Stars
- Sagacity Quest - 3/3 Stars
- Book Exhibitionism - 3/5 Stars
* Oh my word, Celine, thank you for listening to me rant about Hadley’s Dad. You’re a goddess xx
** thank you Brodie, for the word ;D