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Saturday, April 4, 2015

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

This was a read that was long over due.  It has been in my TBR pile for a couple of years and finally got around to reading it.  I didn't finish it in March, but if no one has any objections, I'm going to add it to my count for the March Clean up Your TBR pile challenge.  And while I didn't formally join the challenge, I challenged myself never the less.  I'm glad I did.

Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: January 2, 2012 | Age Level: 12 and up | Grade Level: 7 - 17
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

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.

My thoughts:
This was a sweet romance about two mashed up people who find solace and strength in each other.

Hadley we understand from the beginning. She feels angry, betrayed, abandoned. Her father left for a temporary teaching job abroad and just never came back. He allowed himself to meet someone new and fall in love. Hadley doesn't know how to process that. So she lashes out at him, ignores him and makes up all kinds of scenarios in her head about what he thinks and feels and what he’s done to her and her mom.

It’s easy enough to do. When the person you are most angry with is thousands of miles away, it is easy to project your feelings and assumptions on them. It’s easier to do than to pick up the phone and talk it through. And the anger has staying power, years in fact.

However, she is now being forced to attend her father’s wedding to the home-wrecker in London. The fiancé has been trying to make friends with her via email and has asked Hadley to be a bridesmaid. Hadley’s mother is giving her no choice but to go, but Hadley would rather be going where else.

And it all goes wrong. She gets to the airport late and misses her flight by minutes having to wait for the next flight. We find out as she thinks back to the day that there were a dozen other little things that happened that caused her to miss that flight.

She meets Oliver who gallantly offers to give her a hand with her suitcase as she struggles with it. That’s all it takes. A chance meeting. Two souls that find their way to each other, they take comfort in each other’s company and while away the time waiting for the next flight.
We know Hadley’s story, but what about Oliver’s?

He’s charming and seems happy- go-lucky on the surface, but every so often we catch a glimpse of something lurking beneath. He doesn't let us in, though, not really, but we know there is more to his story and I want to know what it is.

In the length of time they are in flight to London, they make a very real connection, much more than a random encounter, but when the plane lands, Hadley loses Oliver in the airport and he’s gone.

Divorce is a common practice. We throw away so much in our lives why not relationships as well? If something is broken, we no longer try to fix it, we just get a replacement or an upgrade. Parents do understand that their actions have repercussions on their children when they decide to end a marriage, but the breakdown of the family hits every child differently and can be even more traumatic for a teen. I mean, they have enough to deal with.

I've been there. I felt the anger, the hurt, the hate, the disappointment, the disgust, but after I let all those horrible thoughts and feelings hold sway, some years later, I tried to think about it from my father's perspective. I began to soften up and started letting him back in. It was a very long process, but I began to understand that my parent's divorce did not change the way my father felt about it. Unfortunately, he lived hundreds of miles and several states away and while we started connecting again, it was infrequent at best.

Like Hadley, I also had a chance encounter. Mine was not in an airport, though, but in an abandoned castle in ruins near to the coast of Wales. It was a March day, March 18th to be exact. Unlike Hadley flying towards the source of her pain, I was flying away from mine. Just for a little while. It was the first time I traveled alone. I got a plane ticket to London on the wait list. I flew the day they told me they had a seat for me. The plan was simple. I would rent a car, drive straight for Wales so I could take the ferry over to be in Dublin for St Patrick's Day. St Patrick's Day in the heart of Ireland! But things don't always go as planned.

I made it to Wales and hit the coast. I was not far from the ferry, but when I looked into the rates, I found it was going to cost something like $200.00 to take over the rental car, so I decided to hoof it. I woke up St Patrick's Day morning to the rain and decided to fore go the ferry trip. The ferry from Aberystwyth left once in the morning and came back once in the evening. I didn't want to chance it. Instead, I went castle hopping.

Before I continue, I just want you to understand how I travel. I purchase a plane ticket. I rent a car. I take a map. And I go. I may have a general idea of some places I want to see, but I let the winds of fate blow me about and I end up where I end up. I have seen some of the most amazing things that way. This trip to the UK was the one that started this practice.

Anyway, I just started driving. I had no idea where I was going or where I was going to end up, but I find a castle on the top of a rock and decided to go check it out. The castle is Harlech Castle. I was the only one there. My reverence was obvious. I walked the stones and wondered what life was like when the castle was inhabited. I ran my hand over the walls, letting my fingers play along the stones. I wanted to feel the life vibrating off the walls.

 I walked every passage. Investigated every room. Sat in every window seat. The silence was divine. I had never felt so connected to a place even in solitude, but as I made my way out one of the towers, I passed by a young man going into the tower. The spell was broken. Every footstep intruded on my thoughts. I kept passing him. Finally he spoke to me and we chatted for a bit. He invited me for tea. I agreed because I was very stupid back then. Young women on their own in a foreign country should not be accepting invitations from strange young men they just happen to meet.

As it happened, we got along famously and ended up travelling together for the next several days before he had to head back to London, but we met up again when I got to London and even corresponded for a couple of years after. And while our paths diverged, the time I spent touring with him was one of the most memorable of my life.

All it takes is a moment and the right things to go wrong.


  1. No objections to you counting this for March, if that's when you read the majority of the book. Makes sense to me! I think I might have a copy of this one somewhere, so will have to take a look. And no, you were not stupid but rather adventurous! Wish I was as brave as you!

    1. It's not really a long book. You know how I love books about traveling and I especially love books about London, but it's not really central to the story.
      It really is a sweet story, so if that is what you are in the mood for, dig it out and give it a read.