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The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Review

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

17-year-old Hadley would like to be anywhere but on a plane to England to attend her father's second marriage to a woman she's never met. She hasn't seen him in nearly two years, and she still hasn't forgiven him for falling in love while working a temporary job at Oxford, leaving her mom and changing their lives forever. That's all she can think about as she waits in the airport lounge, frustrated and relieved that she missed her flight and will have to wait for another one. It's all she can think about --- until she meets Oliver.

"This is a book that goes beyond a love story to become a coming-of-age tale, one that will leave you feeling hopeful about the future."

Oliver is cute and sweet in a way that almost completely distracts Hadley from her dread about the upcoming nuptials and the sudden claustrophobia that often overtakes her when she's in a closed-off space. He takes the seat next to her on the trans-Atlantic flight, and with his British accent and witty banter, Hadley begins to wish the plane would stay in the air forever.

After they land, the two are separated at customs, and Hadley is forced to again think about what the day's celebration means for her father, his future, and the future of their relationship. Even as her conflicting emotions about the wedding begin to crush her, a part of her mind is still on Oliver: the kiss they shared before they were separated, the ease that settled over her as they talked, and the impossible hope they might see each other again, even though they hadn't exchanged phone numbers, email addresses, or even last names.

Even as she meets her new stepmother, sees her father for the first time in over a year, and takes in all the new people in her father's life that could be a part of her life as well, her thoughts drift to Oliver, and a chance encounter, not unlike the one that led them to meet in the first place, leads her back to him, to see if the plane ride had been only an isolated event, or if it could possibly be the start of something.

THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT is first and foremost a captivating love story that will have the reader swooning and sighing at almost every page. Hadley is an incredibly likable and relatable character, her thoughts flicking back and forth between daydreams of a future with Oliver and talking herself out of her romantic notions, sure he couldn't feel the way about her she's beginning to feel about him.

The third-person point of view in which the novel is written takes a little getting used to, but the emotion of the main character is so well drawn, it doesn't matter who's speaking. The novel also does a wonderful job of conveying the feelings of a teen who's unsure how to feel about a sudden change in something she felt was absolute: the structure of her family. Through flashbacks, the reader gets to see how close she was to her father and how safe he made her feel. Those memories stand in sharp contrast to the feeling of abandonment she experiences now that he's about to start a new life without her in a foreign country. The emotions are universal: a desperation to return to the clarity of childhood, a certain resistance to the future, and confusion over how to bridge the gap between the two.

This is a book that goes beyond a love story to become a coming-of-age tale, one that will leave you feeling hopeful about the future.

Reviewed by Molly Horan on February 29, 2012

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

  • Publication Date: January 2, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance, Young Adult 12+
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Poppy
  • ISBN-10: 0316122394
  • ISBN-13: 9780316122399