The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Headline
I read this book years ago – in fact, it was the first book I ever bought on my Kindle – and since I’ve been doing a lot of re-reading recently, I decided that this SUPER SHORT book would be the perfect thing to read next. I remember really enjoying the story at the time, but at that point, I knew very little about YA and the genre tropes, neither did I know what good YA looked like. Unfortunately I don’t think The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight has stood the test of time.
I think this book set out to achieve a lot more than it actually did. It had vague hopes of being a bit deeper, but those hopes weren’t quite realised. TSPOLAFS follows Hadley whose parents divorced a year ago and now her dad, who moved to England for a teaching job, is getting remarried and wants her to come to the ceremony despite the journey and the fact she’s never even met his new wife yet. While on the plane she meets Oliver, who is also on his way to London – what a coincidence! – and they get talking and…well, what do you think happens?
I can’t say I enjoyed Hadley’s character the second time round, she was whiny and didn’t appreciate what she had – two parents who loved her! – and made the whole ordeal very much about her. In that way, I guess you could say she was pretty narrow minded. Of course some of this is due to her sensitive nature and insecurities, so we can forgive some of her more unpleasant qualities. Oliver is pretty much the dream guy, the knight in shining armour. He’s witty and clever and super cute, duh. Now, I found him to be ridiculously bland. There was nothing that really separated him from any other male protagonist in a YA contemporary. He was just nice. There’s literally no other word to describe him. At least he was an inversion of the manic pixie dream girl trope! That’s something! For once it was the girl chasing the illusive boy across a city she doesn’t even know.
Emotions run really high throughout this whole book. Hadley and Oliver’s relationship is so intense, because they start by asking each other really personal questions so it feels like they’ve known each other a lot longer than just a plane ride. Haley’s very upset with her dad because they’re not on the best of terms, and she upset her mum before leaving for the flight, so there’s a lot of reconciliation that needs to happen. It’s quite eye-roll inducing to tell you the truth.
However, it’s still a fun ride, and I was smiling and maybe I even had a tear in my eye when she was talking to her dad after the wedding, but I’ll deny it if you say anything. It wasn’t as special as when I originally read it because I could point out the flaws with the characters and oh my goodness don’t even get me started on the insta-love. You can’t have insta-love in a book that’s only 215 pages, you just can’t, because it makes it even quicker and even more ridiculous. I think The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight -gorgeous title, have I mentioned that? – is the perfect kind of book to read on a flight. It’s told in real time, as it were, which gives a sense of urgency to the story, and if you can stomach sappy instal-love where you know Everything Will Work Out In The End even if This Isn’t Plausible Whatsoever, I guarantee you’ll be looking out for a cute love interest the next time you’re at an airport.
If you’ve read other books by this author, like This Is What Happy Looks Like or Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between then this will probably be just as good and just as fun!