The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy/Little Brown
Publication Date: January 2012
Four minutes changes everything. Hadley Sullivan 17 misses her flight at JFK airport, is late to her father’s second wedding in London with never-met stepmother. Hadley meets the perfect boy. Oliver is British, sits in her row. A long night on the plane passes in a blink, but the two lose track in arrival chaos. Can fate bring them together again?
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Long name, huh? Well, in the course of this review, I’ll shorten it to “Statistical”.
The storyline is pretty straightforward. Hadley is a seventeen year old girl, who is flying to London for her dad’s wedding to someone she hasn’t met. When she misses her flight to London, she has to wait three more hours for another flight. It’s during the wait that she meets Oliver; the sweet, charming, amusing Oliver. It’s kind of like fate is at work somewhere, because if she hadn’t missed the flight, she wouldn’t have met Oliver. If she hadn’t met Oliver, she wouldn’t have gained enough common sense to try to revive the bond between herself and her father.
Let’s talk about Hadley: she’s a typical seventeen year old girl. That means she’s quite mature (but not completely), a bit stubborn, and sometimes self-centred (unintentionally). She misses how things were before her parents divorced, and doesn’t seem to realise that things are somehow better now. She’s determined to hate her step mother, even though the woman goes out of her way to make Hadley like her. She is also determined to stay angry with her dad for leaving in the first place (and thanks to Oliver, she is able to see sense).
Oliver is not quite a main character, in the sense that I don’t know much about him. I know that he is funny, and smart (he’s in Yale), and his father was a cheating asshole when he was alive. Apart from that, there isn’t much information about him. Despite his withdrawn attitude when it comes to talking about himself, Oliver seems real.
Statistical is a very interesting book. The story did not blow my mind, but the writing did. The author’s writing has a cinematic quality to it; such that when reading it, I could actually see how a movie of it would go. I liked reading about how Hadley tries to navigate her way around London. I mean, a claustrophobic American in a strange country… it’s pretty entertaining.
When reading a supposed love story, it is assumed that the characters stay in love forever. In Statistical, I don’t know for sure. I have a feeling that maybe two years later, Hadley and Oliver will start dating proper, and they’ll fall deeply in love. But I don’t know for sure. And it certainly makes sense for me not to know, since they’ve only known each other for twenty four hours. So in that sense, the story is very realistic.
One thing I like about this story is the fact that despite the “Love at first sight” theme, there is (surprisingly) no instalove. There are no hearts racing, birds singing, or whatever when Hadley and Oliver meet. The feelings between them develop in the course of twenty four hours, and they also become good friends. I also dig the fact that everything happened in exactly twenty four hours.
As a whole, Statistical is very sweet, well thought out, and beautifully written.