The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Four minutes changes everything. Hadley Sullivan 17 misses her flight at JFK airport, is late to her father’s second wedding in London with never-met stepmother. Hadley meets the perfect boy. Oliver is British, sits in her row. A long night on the plane passes in a blink, but the two lose track in arrival chaos. Can fate bring them together again?
There’s a lot to like in this book, unfortunately I think some of my personal history came to bear and left me feeling less than enamoured with The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Usually when I start a review I have a pretty good idea where I’m heading, what rating I’m going to give it, and how I – ultimately – feel about it. Here, I’m just not so sure. I know I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. And honestly it was a bit too short for me to really develop any strong feelings at all. The upside of that is that it’s a quick, easy read.
My biggest problem was Oliver, the hero. He has this … belittling sense of humor that hit a little too close to my abusive past. It could just as easily be read as playful ribbing, but having been made to feel stupid over and over and over again – well, I know the damage those little comments can do on a person’s self-esteem. He never had a serious conversation, all his responses were glib and sarcastic, and I don’t think he ever really gave a truthful answer. That can make for fun encounters, laughing or whatever, but it’s not something to help one get to know a person.
Then there’s Hadley herself. She came across as self-centered, spoiled, and heedlessly cruel. Her parents have divorced and she’s so mad at her father for leaving her family, and she takes it out on everyone around her. Her father – by refusing to see him, talk to him, or acknowledge that he’s getting married; her mother – by being short, cruel and unthinking in her interactions with her. And then there’s Oliver himself, whom – once she finds out what he’s going through – can only think of herself and how he’s reacting to her.
I enjoyed how the relationship was healed between Hadley and her father, and her mother for that matter. Even if it was a little too neat and pat. I feel like I would have enjoyed this story a whole lot more if the romance wouldn’t have been the sole focus, and the family angle would have been given a bit more depth.
The really nice thing is that this was an incredibly quick read. Though close to 50% of the book is either taking place real-time on the plane or in flashbacks to the plane, and I thought the flight was never going to end, it still read really quickly and easily. I like Jennifer E. Smith’s writing style and am looking forward to reading something else by her – where maybe I’ll like the characters a bit more.