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

“I hate airports.”

“Really?” Oliver says. “I love them.”

She’s convinced, for a moment, that he’s still teasing her, but then realizes he’s serious.

“I like how you’re neither here nor there. And how there’s nowhere else you’re meant to be while waiting. You’re just sort of… suspended.”

This is just one of many insightful moments by two teenagers in this lovely book. That’s really the only way to describe this novel; it’s just… lovely.

Oliver and Hadley meet in an airport. Hadley has just missed her flight to London, where she’s expected to see her dad marry a woman who is not her mother. Oliver is on his way home to London for a family affair. The two end up dozing on one another’s shoulders for the duration of the overseas flight. Separated at customs after a tantalizing kiss, Hadley isn’t sure she’ll ever see Oliver again. They exchanged no contact information, and she’s now running late–very late–to the ceremony. Will she ever see Oliver again?

“People who meet in airports are seventy-two percent more likely to fall for each other than people who meet anywhere else.”

“You’re ridiculous,” she says…

“Did you know that people who meet at least three different times within a twenty-four hour period are ninety-eight percent more likely to meet again?”

This time she doesn’t bother correcting him. Just this once, she’d like to believe that he’s right.

The entire novel takes place in a 24-hour period. Not only does it feature a “meet cute”, but the storyline ends up being much less predictable than you might think at the get-go. Through flashbacks, we learn about Hadley’s relationship with her parents, and the complexities of this weekend in London. Oliver’s situation turns out to be more complicated than we originally believe, and the two teenagers are able to support each other much more than your average airplane seatmate.

I would highly suggest this quick read for before-bed or pool-side light reading. It took me about three evenings to finish–and I tend to fall asleep quickly when I start reading at night.

In concordance with the many young adult blogs I read, I’d give this book lots of stars–if I gave books stars.

Jennifer E. Smith has written three other novels–You Are Here, The Storm Makers, and The Comeback Season–all of which are now on my TBR list.

Oh, and let’s add this to my Books I’d Like To See Made into Movies list.

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Sisterhood Everlasting

Last weekend, a rare gap in my library holds queue left me perusing the audiobooks on the shelves. I’d picked out a Jennifer Cruise novel–one that would be an easy listen as I waited for a much-awaited read to become available on my list–and was on my way to the self check machine when an author’s name caught my eye. The author was Ann Brashares, and, upon closer inspection, the title was Sisterhood Everlasting. Could it be? I wondered. And it was. A fifth installment of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Not just another book in the series, but a “reunion” book–a story of the characters ten years later.

I was absolutely giddy in the aisles of the library, as I practically danced to the check-out line, then to my car, where I had the first CD going before I’d even left the parking lot.

On her blog, Brashares writes:

I promised myself that after taking a break from them and trying out some other things I would come back and find them later in their lives. So that’s what I’ve done in Sisterhood Everlasting. I’ve rediscovered Carmen, Lena, Bridget, and Tibby on the cusp of their thirtieth birthdays. Though it felt right to be away—all of us off doing our different things—it felt wonderful to come back together.

And I couldn’t agree more. Reconnecting with well-known characters is like reconnecting with old friends. You pick up right where you left off, and you get a little thrill whenever a reference is made to your shared past. For the entire week, I found myself taking an extra lap around the block before pulling into my destination and reveling in a little extra traffic–anything to listen to a little bit more of their story.

After recently abandoning another “ten years later” book from a series I’d loved as a middle schooler, I was thrilled to find an author who’d done it right. It’s quite a feat to create a novel with a plotline that holds up on its own, stays true to its characters, and doesn’t discount any of the events from the original series. Brashares took the challenge and delivered beautifully.

Upon reading the first two novels in middle/high school, and enjoying the third and fourth upon their releases, I was pulled into the lives on the four teenage girls. As a reader, I experienced their family issues, first kisses, first loves, traveling adventures, and meaningful friendships. I envied the bond that held them together, and felt blessed to have my own close girlfriends in my life. Brashares created genuine characters with relatable issues, and presented the trials and tribulations of teenage girls with complete honesty.

And now, reading about the same characters who’ve grown to be young adults, as I have, I was able to connect with them on another level. No longer are their problems about growing up, they’re now about being grown-ups. Again, the issues are real: marriage, babies, careers… and death.

Without giving any spoilers, I will admit that, about two discs into the novel (100 pages?? It’s hard to reference since I listened to this one!), I thought she’s ruined the series. What? I found myself saying. How could she do that? But, being so devoted to the characters, I stuck it out, and am glad I did. (That’s all I’m going to say.)

Overall, I would suggest this novel to anyone who fell in love with the original series. If you aren’t familiar with Carmen, Lena, Tibby, and Bee, then I suggest you get reading. And don’t you dare take them out of order. Start at the beginning, and enjoy experiencing the bonds of friendship, becoming a part of the sisterhood yourself.

Side Note: Here’s a review of the book posted on one of my favorite book blogs, Forever Young Adult.

Side Note #2: I had this post all written and ready to go on Monday, hit “Publish” and WHOOSH! it was all gone. Grrr… I was too p.o.’ed to re-write it again until today (while I’m home sick).