Cephalopod Coffeehouse June 2014–THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month I chose a YA Romance–because, basically, I had THE WORST book hangover after reading it. THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Jennifer E Stein carved my heart into mincemeat, no joke.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightAbout the Book:

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 Review:

To get right down to it: Hadley’s family was unexpectedly torn apart by love. That’s right. Her dad went on a four-month sabbatical to London and he didn’t return. He’s alive, and well, and currently completely divorced from Hadley’s mother. In fact, he’s marrying the woman who stole her father away. And Hadley’s a bridesmaid. She’s never met his bride, and she hasn’t seen her dad in more than a year. In fact, Hadley wouldn’t be staring at her plane pushing back from the jetway right now if her mother hadn’t pushed her into accepting the wedding invitation.

So, Hadley’s not keen on love. She thought her parents had it–everyone seemed so happy–but love pretty much sucks if it rips your dad away to a new country and life. At least, it does in Hadley’s opinion. She gets rescheduled to the next flight, and encounters Oliver in the terminal. He’s a quiet, unassuming young English man–he’s nearly 19 and a college student returning home for a family event. They strike up a conversation that spans the flight. It’s a purge. All the misery Hadley had bottled up in the past year and half since her dad took his trip to London is spent out.

Oliver is an excellent sounding board–and distraction. Especially when he kisses her and the seeds of attraction blossomed into a budding love.

Then he’s gone–and Hadley’s still got to face her father and the wedding she wishes wasn’t occurring. It is a twisted experience, to see one’s parent so happy–knowing the misery this happiness created for one’s self and one’s loved ones. Having rid herself of her anger, Hadley is able to experience her father’s abounding joy in a way she hadn’t predicted. And, she’s able to give the one thing she never fathomed:  forgiveness.

That isn’t the end of the story however, and Hadley learns that Oliver had kept a pretty large secret to himself aboard that long flight. Can they find the common ground they had in transit or is the L-word a statistical impossibility?

Normally, I’m no huge fan of instalove, but this book–while the time frame is two days–unfolds so seamlessly it feels genuine. I was wrung out in Hadley’s point of view. What an overwhelming experience she’s had with the devastation of her parent’s marriage. Often kids know there are problems–but in this case, there hadn’t been any warning signs. Her parents were happy. Fun. Planned big vacations touring the US. Hadley and her mother were going to visit London at the end of the sabbatical. And then everything changed.

Hadley’s abandonment is a palpable presence in her life. She develops panic attacks, and spends months caretaking for her shell-shocked mother. She never has a chance to breathe, to grieve the loss of her previous life before it’s all gone. Wracked by anger, Hadley plans to cut her dad out of her new life–and had been rather successful at it–until the wedding. Understandably, Hadley wants nothing to do with the woman who caused so much heartache–who, by the by is not a step-monster. Still, after over a year’s separation seeing her dad is a knife wound to the chest. She has missed him terribly. And she comes to realize that having a relationship with him means accepting terms she couldn’t have previously considered.

See, there is no cliche here. There is pain. There is love. There is loss. There is gain. There is human life unfolding in a way that voids all plans and cancels all debts. I seriously ached for Hadley–over and over again. Her mom has moved on–met a man who adores her, yet the child in Hadley holds a serious grudge. I would have, too. Watching her let go of that pain, however, was excruciating. My heart had to stop feeling in order to not be overwhelmed. Oliver was a spectacular love interest. And the promise that these two might find love, together, was the jump start I needed to get past the strong emotions I’d suffered in the course of reading. (Disclaimer: I didn’t even hate Hadley’s dad when all was said and done–which is saying quite a lot about how well this story was told.)

Interested? You can find TSPoLaFS at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and likely in your neighborhood library. I picked up a reviewer’s copy from NetGalley.

Jennifer E. SmithAbout the author:

Jennifer E. Smith is the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, The Storm Makers, You Are Here, and The Comeback Season. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently works as an editor in New York City. Her writing has been translated into 28 languages.

You can find her on Goodreads and twitter.

Thanks for popping by my friends. Don’t forget to hit the rest of the blogs on the Coffeehouse. I know I find some great suggestions this way! 🙂

1. The Armchair Squid 2. mainewords
3. I Think; Therefore, I Yam 4. Words Incorporated
5. StrangePegs — Up So Down 6. The Writing Sisterhood
7. BOOK NOOK 8. Hungry Enough To Eat Six
9. StrangePegs — Lost and Found 10. Cherdo on the Flipside
11. My Creatively Random Life 12. StrangePegs — The Faerie Guardian
13. StrangePegs — The Ghost Brigades 14. Adornments looks at books
15. V’sReads

19 thoughts on “Cephalopod Coffeehouse June 2014–THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

  1. Funny, I just commented about instalove (I like that) over on Andrew’s blog.

    Love complicates life. It makes life worth living, of course, but it can definitely complicate things. It sounds like this book embraces that concept.

    • It sure does! When “bad” things, like the demise of a happy family, happen it’s a natural instinct to villainize someone–and Hadley does this for a good part of the book. Her emotional growth is astounding, to me.

      • So far, I’ve gotta say I’ve been lucky in love (knock on wood). But I’ve watched others go through deep pain and it’s so much more complicated than just good guys vs. bad guys. Growth is triumph, for all parties involved.

  2. sylvannak says:

    I am very intrigued! I once sat on an international flight next to a very handsome Dutch boy (I was 17 as well) and we struck up a sort of cross-continent relationship that lasted a while. I never even thought of using that as a plot device, but would sure love to read someone else’s attempt. What a great review, I want to run out and buy the book!

    • I’m glad you liked the review. This is a book that is STILL with me, weeks–and books–later. There is so much pain and, yet, so much forgiveness. It really grabbed me. I hope you enjoy it if you pick it up! 🙂

  3. “Instalove”… what a GREAT descriptive word! It isn’t a concept that usually floats my “realistic” boat, either, but at least, it sounds like this book treats the subject a bit differently. With sensitivity, even. And as part of an overall heart-tugging tale. Great review. Thank you.

  4. Unfortunately, it’s one I will skip. Partially due to the book that TAS is making reference to above but more due to the current indie book I’m reading which deals with a love triangle where both loves are instalove. It’s just… bad. And I’m so over it.

  5. I enjoyed your review tremendously. There’s something about those young Brits. My daughter, The Hurricane, has fallen for more than one and two of them proposed to her. I have believed in love at first sight for a little more than a year because I met Willy Dunne Wooters a little more than a year ago, and we are a match made in Heaven. He walked in the restaurant and smiled at me with his eyes and I was in love. I remain in love.

    Love,
    Janie Junebug

    • Glad you liked it. Personally, I loved the transit issues Hadley suffered–not knowing how to use the buses and the Tube. And knowing when to offer the cabbie an extra 20 quid to go faster. It was good fun.

  6. I took your advice and read this book. And I LOVED it! It’s actually one of the best books I’ve read in a while. I tend to be a slow reader and I stop-start books quite a bit. I read this book in three days and couldn’t wait to get back to it every time I put it down. Wonderful story and very believable…

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