The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
by Jennifer E. Smith
Contemporary, 236 pages
January 2nd 2012 by Poppy/Little Brown
Alright, as I warned you yesterday, I have some catching up to do. And if Twitter and Tumblr and Pinterest would just leave me alone for five minutes*, I could do it...
Um. Yeah... So I'm going to kick off the catch-up with a VERY belated mini-review of The Statistical Probability
Anyway, I've mentioned a time or twelve that I'm a bit, eh, how shall we say?...blackhearted. Though I enjoy romance in books, I really seem to need some strife in it. It can't be instant, it can't be all-consuming (unless it's sort of in a creepy way, then I'm cool), and it can't be sugary contemporary. I just - I don't have that gene. Sentimentality and sweetness are wasted on me.
So I'm always really hesitant to try any kind of contemporary YA romance. It usually only succeeds in reaffirming my cold-heartedness. But every now and then, one appeals to me for some reason, and TSPOLAFS (even the acronym is ridiculously long. Jeez.) was one of those that DID inexplicably appeal to me.
And my instincts were good. Here's why:
Smith dealt with emotion really well. Not just romance, but with the issues Hadley and Oliver were working through, and how all of that would play into their flirtation/romance with each other. The attraction had a real basis and a recognizing of a sameness with each other, of some sort of kinship. They flirted with each other and got each other through something really stressful, and the romance that developed was not grounded wholly in flirtation. They were companionable, and that made it work and seem like something more - something stable and lasting - could come of it, which is usually my problem with these types of books (and the idea of love at first sight). You really can't get more insta-lovey than this, than meeting in an airport and being pretty damn head over heels by the time you land, and yet it wasn't insta-lovey. The timeframe is instant, but the horrible hallmarks of insta-love weren't there. This didn't just feel like lust-at-first-sight; it didn't feel precarious and fleeting; they were building a solid foundation at the same time as they built the castle walls and spires**. It just worked. And above all, it managed to be believable.
Beyond all that, it just worked as a story. It flowed and had some real heart to it, and a good dose of relatable family drama and real-life stuff. The flirtation was adorable and butterfly-making, and the characters were engaging and worked well together. And it was very, very charming. And now, as I sat down to write this, and began writing up my notes all these months later, flashes of the story came back to me, and a sudden longing to read it again. This is not something you'l hear from me too often when it comes to contemporary. But I found myself wanting their sweetness and their turmoil, their highs and their lows, and above all, their hope. And really wanting to reread the post-wedding garden scene. That perfect bittersweetness.
And I'll leave you with my original 1-line review upon finishing the book: Well, that just warmed the cockles of my little blackened heart...Whatever the hell cockles are...
*Because it's them; it's totally them...
**Why castle walls and spires? Because it is dreamy romance, after all... Just go with it.