Wednesday 4 January 2012

Review: The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

I was looking forward to this book for a several reasons:

1. I judge books by their covers. That is one cute cover.
2. I love all-in-one-day stories. They're generally improbable but totally adorable.
3. I'm a sucker for boys with accents.
4. I'd heard a lot of good things about it around the blogosphere.
5. I needed a light, quick, fun read after dragging myself through The Girl Who Played With Fire.

So, how did it match my expectations? Let's break it down:

1. The cover actually completely fits the contents. It's fun and frothy, just like the cover, and the plane/sky obviously play important parts of the story - Hadley not only misses her initial flight to England and subsequently meets and connects with Oliver on a second flight, but she also suffers from claustrophobia, and the sky is key to how she controls it. There's also a little something in there about those specific clouds, so all in all it works really well.

2. While I was expecting a little improbability in the 24-hour-insta-love scenario, it was all a bit too unrealistic and cheesy for my liking. I thought the bulk of the book would be spent on the plane, with lots of cute convos and, y'know, actual reasons for falling in love, but in fact the majority of the action happens once they land in London. It dealt with much more angst than I was expecting, and far less time was spent on developing the Hadley/Oliver relationship than I had hoped for. Plus, I felt like Hadley's actions and reactions in particular weren't always on the mark, especially towards the end of the story. She seemed to change her mind a little too quickly about certain things/people, and it didn't feel authentic to me.

3. Oliver was pretty cute, but does every single guy in YA have to have a damned crooked smile?! Seriously, the only crooked smile I've seen IRL is this one:

That doesn't exactly float my boat, if you know what I'm sayin'. Crooked smile aside, I really liked Oliver, and especially enjoyed his sense of humour. But I didn't feel like I got to spend enough time with him to fall totally in love. Unlike Hadley, apparently.

4. I liked this book, but I definitely didn't love it as a lot of people seem to. Awkward.

5. It DID do the trick and gave my brain the nice break that it needed. The characters were generally likable, and the writing was fine. One thing that threw me was the present tense - I'm not really a fan of it, though I can see that it was used to give everything a sense of immediacy and underline the importance of time. But I found it a little jarring with the frequent flashbacks. Overall, The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight was a fun book that I read in a couple of hours. Certainly not a bad way to spend a lazy summer afternoon.

Rating: 3/5

Spoilery Talking Points
  • I've already touched upon how inauthentic the book felt at times, but the worst moment for me was when Hadley was in the airport, worrying about whether she had a pen in her bag to write down Oliver's email address or phone number. Um, no. That is NOT the way teenagers work. They have their mobiles with them all the time, and if they meet someone they'll either put their number straight into their phone or add them on FB straight away. I know I'm generalising, but seriously, that's how "the kids" work these days. Of  course, if Hadley had have done that then we wouldn't have had the whole romantic chasing each other through London thing, and half the story wouldn't have happened, but c'mon. It just irritated me.
  • I didn't buy Hadley liking the woman who had broken up her parents' marriage so quickly, or forgiving her father, really. It made for a happy ending, natch, but it was just too cheesy and convenient for me.
  • If Hadley was REALLY the most important thing to her father, as he said, then wouldn't he have stayed with her in America, and not hurt her by moving to England to be with his new woman friend?! I know the point of the whole book was that you're still family no matter what (or where you are), but if someone is the most important person to you, don't you put their happiness above others - especially your own? Just sayin'.
Eye Candy
Hadley is blonde with big, blue eyes, so of course I pictured her as Ashley Benson (side note: new eps of Pretty Little Liars are finally appearing, squee!).

As for the dark-haired, English Oliver, I nearly pictured Tom Sturridge, but he'll always be Etienne to me, so I went with Nicholas Hoult.

Fine Print
Genre: Young Adult (Contemporary)
Published: January 2012 by Headline
Get It: Book Depository


  1. Aw, man! I was expecting something epic or at least a sigh inducing read ala "Anna" but I guess that's ok. Definitely sounds like a book I would pick up just for a fun, light read. Maybe I'll save it for Spring Break. Thanks for your honest review, Belles.

  2. I was reading all these great reviews for this one and getting high hopes so I'm glad to get a little reality check. I'll be going into this one a little less starry eyed now. ;)

  3. I love your cover SO much more!!!

  4. I'm not a fan of present tense, either. But the cover does look fun, and seems to fit the story. 3/5 stars is good enough for me. Plus, your chosen eye-candy is awesome! I love Ashley's character in PLL. Ahh...right, new episodes! Did they figure out who's 'A'? Is Ezria still a couple? They better be, or else! Haha.

    Honest review! Thanks, I'll add this on my growing TBR list!:)

  5. I forgot to add: What is the statistical probability of love at first sight?

  6. @Rummanah - It is light and fun, but nowhere near Anna, to be honest.

    @Jenny - Eep! I'd be interested if you have the same reaction as me or if you love it like everyone else! ;-)

    @KThomas - I've seen the other versions of the cover and I definitely prefer this one.

    @Rockee - They don't know who A is yet, but apparently we will get to see him/her. Man, I'm dying to know who it is!

  7. I've been wanting to read this one based on the title alone, and I do like the cover. I'll have to add it to my list of books that take place over a day, too :)

    Thanks for the review.

  8. It is an awesome title! I'd be interested in checking out your list! Is it on your blog?

  9. This book seems to be everywhere at the moment!
    Great review, Belle.
    Still not entirely sure whether this is my thing or not. Nicholas Hoult casting is definitely making me reconsider...

    Re: Crooked smile. LOL. I hate hate haaaate it when YA boys have 'crooked smiles'. A boy with a wonky mouth? Um.. swoon?

  10. Thanks Jo! Don't they ALL seem to have crooked smiles?! Drives me nuts ;-)

  11. I adored this book, but I get what you're saying. I didn't notice the crooked smile part. For me, this was one of those don't worry about the details and just focus on the cuteness books. It had a great romance ala Anna but I agree, nowhere near the depth.