I love a series. It's a great feeling to find a book I love and know that the story will go on.
But other times those cliffhangers set my nerves on edge and I don't want to wait until 2014 to find out how a story is going to end up. That's when I long for a good standalone.
On occasional Saturdays, I'll feature standalone YA. This week's pick?
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
by Jennifer E. Smith.
Poppy/Hachette Book Group
January 2, 2012
Source: bought from Barnes and Noble
I'm a big fan of Jennifer E. Smith. I really enjoyed her 2008 book The Comeback Season.
Statistical Probability is a finely-crafted gem of a book. The author manages to condense all the plot, characterization, and backstory she needs into the twenty-four hour period in which the book takes place. It's a romantic book, but not a fluffy rom-com. It deals with issues of family and fear and loss -- and, yes, love.
The story begins with Hadley Sullivan in an airport, ready to board a plane to London so she can attend her father's wedding. Hadley isn't pleased about his remarriage and is only taking part in the ceremony because her mother convinced her that one day she'd regret not attending.
Hadley's not so sure about any of it. She's not a fan of enclosed spaces -- like airplanes. She's not excited about the idea of a new British stepmother. She's not thrilled about the Dickens book she brought to read on the plane -- a book that her father gave her.
Hadley misses her flight by just four minutes. That means she has to catch a later flight. And that means she meets Oliver. He's just a little older. He's British. He's off to a wedding as well. He's assigned to her row. He's charming, yet a little mysterious, and helps distract her during the flight.
When their plane lands, the two are separated at Customs, leaving Hadley to face her father's wedding alone. To her, this ceremony is an occasion for mourning, not celebration. Her father will now be someone else's husband, maybe one day someone else's father. But as she navigates the wedding festivities, she can't stop thinking about Oliver.
I had my predictions about Oliver's connection to the rest of the story -- and I was dead wrong. The ending was perfect -- the kind where everything ties together and you can't believe you didn't see it coming. No cliffhanger!
Jennifer E. Smith is a talented writer, willing to experiment with narrative POVs (third person present) that aren't typically found in YA, and able to convey her characters' emotions in a way that is understated and deeply moving.
Have you seen these movies featuring romantic chance encounters between Brits and Americans?