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.
One of my favourite YA novels last year was Jennifer E. Smith’s This is What Happy Looks Like. It was the perfect read for a blue day, which had me grinning from ear to ear from beginning to end. So when I saw Smith’s previous YA novel The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight as a Read Now title on Netgalley I jumped on it. And it was every bit as good and as fun as I expected it to be. It also hit me right in the feels as I connected quite strongly to Hadley’s feelings about her dad, as it reminded me of my own relationship with my dad at her age.
The story focuses on Hadley. We follow her through the course of a day, in which she flies from New York to London, watches her dad get remarried and falls in love with Oliver. While the falling in love with Oliver is seemingly the most important of these events, the story is as much about Hadley and her dad as it is about Hadley and Oliver. I like Hadley, she’s just self-involved enough to be convincing, but also empathic and caring. Smith hits all the right notes in how she describes Hadley’s reaction to her parents’ divorce, from her feelings about her mum, her feelings about her dad and her unreasoning aversion to her step mum. I loved the scenes between Hadley and Charlotte, her step mum. They are few and often short, but they are powerful in how they influence the way Hadley sees her dad and how her attitude towards him change during the novel. Oliver is more than just the love interest, he has his own story and he also serves as a mirror for Hadley.
The romance in the book is lovely. I like how Smith builds Hadley and Oliver’s story from an attraction based on looks, to attraction based on personality and lets it shift into the blossoming of something more over the course of a day. And while there is a happy ending in more than one way, Hadley and Oliver aren’t declared soul mates and together for life, either by themselves or the author. Smith never implies that this is love for the ages, in fact the way she portrays not only Hadley’s parents’ marriage, but also that of Oliver’s parents, she makes a case that love is never easy and happily forever ever after is never guaranteed.
Having read my second book by Smith, I’ve come to realise that her writing is like a warm bath; her stories leave me feeling happy and relaxed. That isn’t to say that The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is all happiness and light – there were several scenes that left me teary-eyed – but its overall resolution is satisfying and hopeful. I had a wonderful time with this book and this makes me look forward even more to reading her latest novel, The Geography of You and Me.
This book was provided for review by the publisher.