Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Poppy/Little Brown
Length: 236 pages
Original Publishing Date: January 2nd, 2012
Series: Standalone
Where I got it: Bought from Barnes & Noble
Links: Goodreads Amazon Author's Website

Synopsis from Goodreads: 
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it. 

Main characters: 2/5

I really struggled with the main characters in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Both of them seemed to lack any sort of personality and at the end of the book, I was left wondering who these characters really were.

The main point I got from Hadley was that she was a girl with father issues. Her feelings about the situation were realistic and accurate, but I couldn't get a solid read on her as a character and thus didn't feel any connection to her.

Oliver had all the makings of a swoon-y love interest, but he fell flat. I knew him as the British Yalie and thus I imagined him as a nerdy yet cute guy who was sort of quirky. But other than his witty banter with Hadley and his own father issues, I didn't know anything about him, nor did he seem to have much personality. And did we ever figure out what he actually studying??

Secondary characters: 4/5

Here's the thing about Andrew, Hadley's dad: I may not have liked the message that Smith tried to attach to him (that leaving a marriage is okay if you find your "true love"), but I liked how Smith portrayed him as a rounded character with flaws and strengths. Just because someone makes a mistake doesn't necessarily make them a bad person and I like how Hadley learns to accept her dad again, as well as Charlotte.

I also liked Hadley's mom, because she was working through her own struggles and growing as well. She understood that holding such contempt against your family is painful, and encouraged Hadley to travel to London for her dad's wedding. But Hadley also encouraged her mom to grow as well and move past her divorce.

Other than Hadley's parents, there weren't a lot of secondary characters, which I suppose made sense. Despite the limited size of the secondary cast, both were more rounded and deep than the main characters.

Writing style: 2.5/5

I'm torn on the writing style. Smith's writing could be absolutely beautiful, however the pacing was also incredibly slow. I think in some way's it's possibly an effect of the writing style; the long run-on sentences, the internal dialogue, the difficult punctuation with interjections in the middle of these run-on sentences, and more.

Even though the book was short, and I read it quickly, the actual reading went slowly because I had to sift through this dense writing. Some of the paragraphs were internal dialogue, but that internal dialogue didn't help me get to know the characters, so it was slow-going with no payoff.

Plot: 3.5/5 
I loved the concept and the integration of fate into the overarching theme, including the fact that it all happened within 24 hours. Even if it may be a little far-fetched (how come it's never happened to me??), the conversation and development between Hadley and Oliver was realistic, including some awkward parts that fit just right.

Overall, there weren't a lot of plot points- not a lot happened. The things that did happen were predictable and I saw them coming, including the "twist". The title was a little misleading though!

Ending: 3/5

Again, I saw it coming from a long way away. However, I like how not all the ends were perfectly tied up, and there was some uncertainty about the future, because that's realistic and that's what actually happens in life.

Best scene: The customs line scene

Reminded Me Of: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Positives: Beautiful descriptions, multi-faceted secondary cast of characters, cool concept, realistic ending, those awkward moments

Negatives: Forgettable and undeveloped main characters, slow pacing, predictable

Cover:  I really like this cover: The handwritten font is beautiful and the black and white background makes the red aspects really pop.

Verdict:  A fun summer read, but The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight lacks a few important aspects that would have made it shine. 

Rating:  6.0 / 10 (3 stars)

Your Thoughts: Have you read it? What did you think? If you haven't, will you be adding it to your TBR list? Let me know!

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