The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Headline
More: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight | Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between
I almost always only give Jennifer E. Smith’s books 2 stars, and yet they’re fun and quick to read that never stops me from picking up her next book. The Geography of You and Me was no different! It’s about a girl and boy who get trapped in an elevator together and fall in love pretty much instantly. Nothing about this story was particularly surprising but that’s what I’ve come to expect from these sugary sweet contemporaries.
First of all, I felt like this book was WAY too choppy. After the half way mark one of the characters goes travelling and every other chapter would open with something like ‘In Prague…’ or ‘In Venice…’ which made grasping a sense of how much time had passed very difficult. I think the short chapters were very much a way to elongate the book and make it seem like it was moving forward more naturally than it actually was. I’m not one to complain about chapter length (usually I love the good one sentence chapter for emphasis) and I know the minor chapters pushed the characters together, but I really would’ve preferred more character depth.
The most important bits, like Lucy’s relationship with her parents – she feels abandoned most of the time, with her parents prioritising her brothers over her – and Owen’s unresolved feelings about his mother’s death never felt properly resolved. Or if they were the characters’ grieving time or any time spent contemplating their own emotions was cut to follow the blossoming romance instead. Also, both Owen and Lucy have different significant others at some point in this book and both break-up scenes are completely ignored! Maybe because they would just reflect so poorly on the consciences of the main characters that Smith thought it better to just pretend like they never happened. I mean, it’s not very healthy (or fair to the other person) to get into a relationship when you’re in love with someone else.
Even in books where romance is the main focus, I never believe it should be the sole purpose. Character arc or tougher issues should not be compromised just to get more sweet LDR postcards. I feel like I’ve come to the conclusion that unless Jennifer E. Smith writes a romance with a little more grit then I won’t be able to write another review for her books, because how will it be any different to the ones she’s written before? In some aspects The Geography of You and Me could’ve been a sort of re-write of Hadley and Oliver’s story from The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. I’m not saying I’m going to stop reading Smith’s books, and I’m not saying they’re not enjoyable. If you don’t think too hard about what’s missing then they’re super great and the concepts are uncomplicated so easy to enjoy.
Overall, I wouldn’t say The Geography of You and Me was an improvement or s step back from her other works. In fact, they feel pretty similar, which is why I’m so disappointed. Jennifer E. Smith books put your hope back in love and are the perfect thing to read during a reading slump or as something quick to get through to contribute to your Goodreads’ Challenge but other than that…I don’t know. So, to keep with tradition, I gave The Geography of You and Me 2 stars.
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