The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Published: 02 January 2012
Poppy/Little Brown, Hardcover, 236 pages
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.
A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?
Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.
‘Never judge a book by its cover.’
Never would I have expected such a seemingly lighthearted book, with its sweet cover and playful title (which certainly is a mouthful – The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight shall be referred to as TSPOLAFS, to save time from typing out the full title) to be able to move me to tears. Set over a 24-hour period, I’m amazed by the fact that this short and sweet story has such a deep meaning behind the events that occurred.
TSPOLAFS was written from a third person’s perspective, and I found this a little odd in the beginning. However, as the story progressed, it began to feel more personal – like the story was told from Hadley’s perspective instead. One thing that I liked about Hadley when the story began was her sarcasm – it added on to the stubborn, feisty character she has. The downside to her personality, though, was that she seemed a little too negative. She made it seem like everything that happened was propelling down the highway to hell. Nevertheless, she was very real and I could relate to her really well, especially during this scene:
It didn’t help that she was right; when had that ever made anything better? She felt a tiny seed of resentment take root inside of her. It was like the pit of a peach, something small and hard and mean, a bitterness she was certain would never dissolve.
She stepped back from the door, feeling her throat go tight and her rib cage swell. In the mirror, she watched the color rise up into her cheeks, and her eyes felt blurred by the heat of the small room.
Through the course of the book, there was countless times where I teared up and felt the urge to cry (all at inappropriate moments) – not because the scenes were touching, but it was the fact that I could actually feel and understand the pain she was going through. It was unfair how her feelings were being ignored; no one seemed to care about how she would feel or react to what they said, or the decisions they made. Despite all this, the book ended in the sweetest way possible. I totally understood why her mindset changed in the end, and it was definitely heartwarming that Hadley was able to accept what had happened in the end.
Fun fact: Hadley and I both dislike mayonnaise, and like the colour blue. :D
Now, enough about Hadley. On to Oliver!
Adel and I both agreed that the one-sided dimple Oliver has was simply adorable and endearing. As I quote: “When he smiles, she notices that he has a dimple on only one side, and there’s something about this that makes him seem endearingly off-balance.”
Oliver is a reserved person, in my opinion, and there was a particular event in the book that made me realize that sometimes, we bother too much about ourselves and become oblivious to what others are going through. Another thing about Oliver: I love his sense of humour! If he were a real person, I would definitely like to meet him. He seems like a really fun person, and a very easy one to talk to.
And so, I’ve come to the end of my review. One thing I learnt from TSPOLAFS is that sometimes, we just have to let go of the past and move on, especially when everyone is happier that way. Hadley and Oliver made me realize that in the story, and it’s an extremely valuable lesson to me.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – a heartwarming and adorable story that’s definitely one of my all-time favourite books.