Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy Books
Publication Date: 2012
Price: $17.99 (hardcover) $10.00 (paperback)
Genre: Contemporary – Love Stories
Interest Age: 13 to 17
Lexile Level: 1060
Annotation: A missed flight and a chance meeting is how Hadley’s love story starts.
Plot Summary: 17 year old Hadley is heading to London to watch her father marry the woman he left their family for, but she misses her flight by four minutes. Despite her reluctance to attend this wedding, Hadley settles for a long wait at the airport for the next flight. By chance, her seat mate is a charming British student, Oliver, who helped her in the terminal earlier. He lends a hand again assisting her calming her fear of claustrophobia. They end up bonding during the air travel and even share a kiss, despite Oliver’s evasion of his reason for traveling. Separated at arrival, Hadley navigates her feelings about her father’s new life and finding Oliver before her return home.
Critical Evaluation: Hadley only misses her flight by four minutes and in that time, it changes her life. The Statistical Probability of Love at Sight is a story about random connections, a theme that is charming in a world so driven by technology and social networking. Given the premise, I completely thought this book would be a light romantic comedy about two teenagers falling madly in love. I completely misjudged it. While the romance does feature in the novel, both Hadley and Oliver have their own separate demons they must face. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is much a story about romantic love as it is about familial love. Hadley’s still reeling from the destruction her dad left when he took off for a semester teaching at Oxford and fell in love with the city as well as another woman. She did not want to be at the airport in the first place; flying off to attend her dad’s wedding to “that other woman”. I really felt for Hadley and her antics are sympathetic given the situation and relationship with her father. Given the short nature of the connection between Hadley and Oliver, it can be hard to realistically create a believable romance. But Jennifer E. Smith does it and it such a short book too! Her writing style made me feel like I was with Hadley every step of the way from the airport to the plane and dashing around London. And I was right there as she started falling… A sweet, charming read for fans of Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins.
Author Bio: Jennifer E. Smith is the author of”Hello, “Goodbye and Everything in Between, “The Geography of You and Me”, “This Is What Happy Looks Like”, “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight”, “The Storm Makers”, “You Are Here”, and “The Comeback Season”. She earned her master s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews, and her work has been translated into thirty languages. (via Ingram)
Tie to Curriculum Units: N/A
Booktalking Ideas: meet-cute, one-day time frame, London, love at first sight
Challenge Issues: For a romance story, The Statistical Probability of Love Sight is very sweet and never ventures beyond kissing. However, if this book was challenged, I would mention the strong reviews including this from VOYA: “The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight is a sweet, character-driven, romantic comedy with plenty of twists to keep readers engaged and is sure to delight teens from beginning to end. Young adult readers will enjoy reading about Hadley and Oliver, two characters who are familiar, witty, and have terrific chemistry together. This book is highly recommended and would be a great addition to any library serving teens who enjoy romance and realistic fiction. Be prepared to have this book fly of the shelves.”