The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight Book Review

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

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GoodReads Summary:

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, remedy she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, troche 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.

My Review:

I thought this was a super cute book, but it lacked a lot in actual substance. It happened incredibly fast to me, and I was hoping for more build up, maybe, more of a deeper story than the one that was told. We only really seemed to skim the surface of both of these characters and it just felt too superficial.

The thing that I really liked about this story was the actual story of it. I felt like there was so much potential in it. It reminded me of Gayle Forman’s Just One Day, the idea that a short amount of time with a person can change you, and can bond you to someone. That is what happened with Allyson and Willem in Just One Day and it was a beautiful story. I thought the story between Hadley and Oliver on the plane trip to London could have been the same. They had hours upon hours to get to know each other, and then there could have been this race through England to see if they could find each other again. It really lays the groundwork for a wonderful, exciting and sweet story.

Unfortunately, I feel like it fell incredibly flat. It was too rushed! If the story had been slowed down a bit, where you really got to know the two characters, maybe as they got to know each other in the airport and then found themselves next to each other on the plane, and built up their relationship, then their separation at the airport would have meant so much more. I also felt like the path to them finding each other in London would have worked a lot better if it had been more tension filled, harder than it was. I didn’t feel like I really knew the characters.

When it comes to the characters, I also felt like both Hadley and Oliver were very one dimensional. Hadley was on her way to attend her father’s wedding to another a woman, a woman who, though it isn’t said, probably broke up her parents’ marriage. Oliver has a difficult relationship with his father. These are not superficial problems, and in fact, I can find so many different literary characters that have these sort of issues. However, because things are delved into as much, it just fell flat to me. It felt too cliche, too “been there-done that”. I think that we honestly tell the same stories over and over again, but in our own voices and Jennifer struggled a little with that, I think.

I do think it was a cute story, and I think with maybe an extra 50 pages, it could have been filled out a bit more, and I could have connected to the characters a little more. Before I started to write out the review, I had to remind myself of what their names were. I really loved the premise of the story, and I think that with a little more detail of the journey and of the characters, it would have had a larger impact for me.

My Rating:

3 out of 5 stars

My Life Next Door Book Review

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick   

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GoodReads Summary:

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, order messy, buy more about affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.
As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

My Review:

Continuing my desire to read contemporary novels to keep from dystopian, sci-fi, fantasy, etc, themes from seeping into my own sci-fi novel, I decided to read this book. I saw it sandwiched next to Morgan Matson (which makes no sense. F? M? Huh?) at Barnes and Noble, and it caught my eye so I  bought it. Because I’m an impulse book buyer. I read this yesterday, with the goal of reading half, and instead, I read the entire novel. The entire one. I finished at about 2 am and then was so ready for bed haha.

First off, the characters. I loved the characters that Huntley creates for her novel. Both are incredibly real to me. I loved Samantha, and the sort of opening up she gets in getting to know Jase. Its weird to me, because that is not the life I had but you can see her transformation as time goes on, and her struggle with doing the “right” thing all the time, and meeting the impossible expectations of her mother. No matter what family you grew up in, every teen knows what its like to have expectations on them that they just can’t seem to meet. Samantha is under a lot of expectations and it makes you feel for her, and you want to wrap her up in a hug and give her the affection that she so obviously craves. I definitely loved Jase, mostly because I understood Jase a lot. I’m one of six kids, while Jase is one of eight and his outlooks on life and the way he loves his siblings, but also gets overwhelmed too, felt familiar to me. I also really liked Tim, and his struggle with his own demons and addictions and I can’t wait to see more of him in the sequel. The rest of the characters were all so genuine as well, from the parents (the Garretts, Sam’s mom, Nan’s parents), and the siblings, like Jase’s whole brood, and Sam’s sister, Tracy. No one felt cliche or unfamiliar and that is a huge issue with contemporary YA. All of the characters felt REAL and thats so important.

I also liked the story a lot too, of course. What I really liked the most about this story is that it started off seemingly predictable and then completely switched gears, and went in a direction that I didn’t see coming. I love a good summer romance novel (I mean, come on, Sarah Dessen, anyone?) and I was happy to enjoy a novel with that plot line going on, and the coming-of-age-ness (I’m going to keep using that ‘word’) of Samantha. When the novel’s plot takes a turn, and we end up going through this completely devastating and surprising scene…and the choice Sam has to make because of it…I was definitely surprised. I knew something was going to happen with her and her mom, of course, but what ultimately happens, never did I dream that would be it. I know that’s vague but I don’t want to spoil you guys. This book gives more than you would think. That twist adds for more drama, and gives a new depth to a summer romance novel.

I do wish that part would have slowed down a bit though. It felt like a ton of build up and then the book ended super quickly. Like I said, I thought it was going to be a traditional summer romance story and then that twist happened, but it seemed like an incredibly big twist, too close to the actual end of the novel and things seemed to wrap up really quickly. I think I wanted it to slow down a bit and it didn’t. I wanted maybe to see Sam and her mother struggle more, and maybe more action with Clay (her mother’s sleazy boyfriend), and the struggle of Sam and her choice between her mom and Jase. But I loved the story enough that this didn’t have me hung up.

I think my favorite part of the novel was Jase and his family. His family felt so familiar to me. I am one of six kids. I know the chaos that can occur, and the messes that are made, and the disasters that can happen, but I also understand that there’s a lot of love there. I also understand the kind of questions Mrs. Garrett gets from people about if she’s Catholic, or knows what birth control is and things like that. It fired me up a lot in the novel, because those kinds of things make me angry, especially when they are said to good parents. Mrs. Garrett is obviously an amazing mom, and loves each one of her children and she wants to keep spreading the love. But I also understand Jase…so much. He’s not the eldest child but he has a lot of responsibilities like one and I felt so connected to him. I understood how much responsibility was on his shoulders, and the pressure, as well. He feels the financial burden of his parents more than his siblings do, and even though he’s too young to worry about it, he does anyway (story of my life). He loves his siblings, and couldn’t imagine life without any of them, but he understands how much easier things might have been if his parents had decided to have less kids. It just felt SO familiar to me. Stepping into the Garretts’ house and into Jase’s life felt like walking into my own life.

Bottom line, this is a great novel. Its a perfect summer romance novel, and both Samantha and Jase are characters that you’ll love and that will stick with you. The ending happened a little too fast for me, but the twist at the end, so unexpected in a typical summer romance, that it will also stay with you. The emotions of each characters, their feelings and the ways they grow up, and the way they fall in love are the golden parts of My Life Next Door. Definitely read it.

My Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

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Teen Idol Book Review

Teen Idol by Meg Cabot

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GoodReads Summary:

High school junior Jenny Greenley is so good at keeping secrets that she’s the school newspaper’s anonymous advice columnist. She’s so good at it that, help when hotter-than-hot Hollywood star Luke Striker comes to her small town to research a role, remedy Jenny is the one in charge of keeping his identity under wraps. But Luke doesn’t make it easy, information pills and soon everyone—the town, the paparazzi, and the tabloids alike—know his secret…and Jenny is caught right in the middle of all the chaos

My Review:

Meg Cabot has been one of my favorite authors since I was 12 years old, when I first picked up The Princess Diaries. I’ve literally been addicted to her books since then, and I buy each and every new one, no matter the genre or age group, on the day they are released. So that is true of Teen Idol. I first read this in 2004, when I was 16. I’ve been feeling soooo unmotivated to read lately and I knew exactly what would cure that…Meg Cabot.

See, the thing about Meg Cabot books are that they are easy reads, but fun ones. They are usually light and full of a ton of humor. So I knew a good way to read another book, and hopefully kick myself back into reading habitually again was to read a Meg Cabot book. I haven’t read this one in SUCH a long time so I definitely wanted to read it. Plus, it was inspirational for my own novel, A Little Less than Famous, so props for that.

I remembered again how much I seriously love her. Her books are so funny, and out of this world. Luke Stryker, a Hollywood star, crashing an Indiana high school in order to learn what its like to be a ‘real’ high school student. Its just bizarre but she makes it seem so genuine and real, and did I mention, hilarious? She has a way of getting inside her characters’ heads and its brilliant. What I really love about her books is that they are almost always first person which means you are literally inside the main character’s thoughts and she’s so REAL with their thoughts. Sure, they’re capable of strong thoughts but she also has them with wandering thoughts, and preoccupied by their hormones (nearly every one of her characters gets distracted by a shirtless guy, which makes me laugh so hard).

I also love ALL the pop culture references in her books. I swear, Justin Timberlake is referenced in every book. Every one. Its awesome. Plus, it dates the books, but I love that because I feel like I’ve grown up with a lot of these characters. I love when Mia Thermopolis talks about Britney Spears and NSYNC in the Princess Diaries books because its my teen years for sure. But I love all the references. I love that Jenny, the main character of this book, is obsessed with these crazy sophisticated science fiction novels and that there are Star Wars and Star Trek references. Its all so fantastic.

I give it a 4 out of 5 because you have to recognize that there are different books that provide different things. For the audience that Meg Cabot intends for, and for the purpose she has (entertainment, humor), she rocks at it. Some people may not agree that it deserves a high rating of 4/5 because its not “serious” or it doesn’t tackle “serious” issues, but books don’t have to do that in order to be good, and I think sometimes people forget that. Meg Cabot makes you laugh in this book, and I’m highly entertained by her books.

So if you’re looking for something fun and light to read, and looking to laugh, and have a good time while reading a book, this is a great book to read. Or any book by Meg, really. I hope you all dive into her books. She’s been one of my absolute favorite authors for 13 years. That’s a long time and there are so many reasons for it :)

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

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