Author: Jennifer E. Smith. Release date: 2012. Publisher: Poppy. ISBN: 9780316122382.
Personal thoughts: I’m not usually one for a romance novel that is completely void of any paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy aspects, but I have to say that, after reading The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I might have to give “real-life” novels a chance more often. I knew when I read the description of this novel that I was going to like it. I really enjoyed how it was set in a span of twenty-four hours. Since the reader knows this going into the novel, it makes for the pacing of the book to be really brisk and enjoyable. The reader knows the action is going to happen quickly, and that everything in terms of the plot is going to need to be wrapped up to some degree in a short time. I was impressed, however, with how much the author managed to include in the story, even though we only “knew” Hadley and Oliver for one day. Hadley’s memories and experiences she rehashes from her childhood are certain to resonate with many readers, especially ones whose parents have either separated or divorced. I plan on recommending this book to anyone who wants something realistic but enjoyable and touching as well.
Plot summary: Seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan is more than a little depressed about flying to London for the weekend for her father’s wedding. She hasn’t seen her father in over a year and has never met Charlotte, the woman he left Hadley’s mother for and his soon-to-be bride. Since her father’s semester teaching at Oxford turned into a permanent move to England, Hadley has been struggling to deal with his absence from her life. Now she’s packed her bags and is about to make the seven hour journey across the ocean to be a bridesmaid for the woman she knows she’s certain to hate. After Hadley misses her original flight by four minutes, she is forced to wait for three hours in a JFK airport terminal to catch the next plane to Heathrow. While she’s waiting, Hadley meets Oliver, a handsome guy about her age who is returning to his home in London for the weekend. A twist of fate puts them in adjoining seats, and the pair spend the flight talking, being more honest with each other than they’ve been with the people in their lives they’ve known for more than a few hours. Although they know they will be separated when they land in their destination, Hadley and Oliver can’t help but wonder if their chance meeting has changed their lives forever.
Review: Set in a period of twenty-four hours, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is a sweet and surprisingly poignant novel that accomplishes a lot in such a short period of time. Many readers, especially tweens and teens, are bound to identify with Hadley’s difficulty coping with her father’s marriage to the woman who he left her mother for. This is an all-too-real situation that countless tweens and teens face everyday, and the author does a good job of approaching the emotions Hadley is feeling without making it melodramatic or sugar-coating things. Hadley’s connection with Oliver is also something that readers, both teen and adult, can understand. Oftentimes, it is the most unusual circumstances that allow two individuals to make a difference in each other’s lives, and that is, essentially, what this novel is about. It is a thought-provoking concept that allows for The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight to be a very meaningful read for anyone who has ever needed or found someone to lean on during a hard time. Overall, a quick but pleasing novel for fans of romance and fate.
Reading level: Grade 6+
Similar titles: N/A
Themes: Divorce, marriage, romance, love, fate, forgiveness.
Awards/Reviews: Positive reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.
Series Information: N/A
- Do you think it was fate or chance that brought Hadley and Oliver together?
- Do you think Hadley did the right thing in agreeing to go to her father’s wedding? Why or why not?
- Why do you think Hadley’s returning her father’s novel was so important to her?
- What do you think the future holds for Hadley and Oliver?