Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith

It could happen one day; you miss your train, you’re late for your flight, your bus leaves early without you, and because of that, your life may take an entirely different turn, you may even have a chance encounter, a happy coincidence that otherwise may never have happened at all?

Seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan is reluctantly on her way from New York to her father's wedding in London to a woman she has never met. She hasn't seen her father for a while, and various distractions and incidents earlier that day and en route mean she misses her flight by just four minutes. Anxious and unsettled, mulling over all the reasons for not going at all, and waiting for the next flight, she meets Oliver, a kind charming young English boy who helps her with her luggage. Through another fortuitous twist they find themselves seated close together on the plane, and during the hours of the flight they talk, joke, and sleep in each other’s unfamiliar and yet affectionate company, and a beautiful connection is formed.

In a taxi on her way to her father’s wedding, Hadley is unable to stop thinking about Oliver; he is ‘like a song she can’t get out of her head.’ When she arrives at the church, the trepidation she has been feeling increases, after all ‘what exactly are you supposed to say to the father you haven’t seen in ages on the occasion of his wedding to a woman you’ve never met?’ Struggling with all these conflicting emotions about the boy she has just met and about the soon-to-be stepmother she has yet to meet, and the father about whom she doesn’t know what to feel, Hadley has some decisions to make, with her head and with her heart. Meanwhile Oliver is also attending an event in London, but he has been more reserved and has disclosed less about the purpose of his visit thus far.

This is an unashamedly lovely young adult novel that makes you feel young and romantic again. There is a genuine innocence to Hadley and Oliver, and some lovely, light and gently flirtatious dialogue between the two of them on the plane as they pass the hours in the air next to each other, with gentle humour and emotion as each gives a little away about themselves, and they quickly establish a real closeness. Additionally there are the conflicting feelings that Hadley experiences with regard to her father. She was close to him, and has been deeply hurt by how he left her and her mother. Through the story the reader is able to find out what has happened as Hadley thinks back to times spent with him, how he shared his love of books with her from an early age, and how difficult their most recent meeting was for her. 

The author has created a touching, heartfelt tale with a young woman at it’s heart who is emerging from childhood and meeting the highs and lows of the adult world full-on. The narrative as a whole feels just the right length, and I really enjoyed reading it. I love the role that a certain Dickens novel has to play too! It was a real pleasure to read a story with such warmth, and a sweet, romantic meeting at its heart, (even being a bit older and more cynical, I got swept away!) I think this is an enjoyable, sweet read for adults both young and old. 


This novel is published in the UK by headline on 5th January 2012.


  1. This sounds like a wonderfully sweet book! Great review!

  2. I have to read this book, it sounds soo Good!!!

  3. Great review Lindsay! This book sounds like something I would enjoy!

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair

  4. Thank you for the comments, it is a lovely read!

  5. I have heard so many good things about this book, I can't wait to get my hands on it!


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