I remember staying up all through the night reading the author’s earlier work (The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight) few years ago and I hoped The Geography of You and Me would help me repeat the experience. Did it fulfill the promise? Read on to know more.
Book Name: The Geography of You and Me
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Fiction – Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Lucy, Owen
Setting: New York, The USA, London, England, The UK
The story starts with Owen and Lucy stuck in an elevator when the whole city plunges into darkness. It is instant chemistry and once they are rescued they roam around the city and end up chatting for hours. They end up spending their night gazing at stars from their rooftop. As fate intervenes, they both leave New York City soon and part ways.
Owen and his father are trying to get over their loss of their mother and go on a road trip across America. Lucy joins her parents in London who are avid travelers and trots all over the globe. They keep in touch with each other through postcards and email. Do they get to meet each other? Or does the distance change them?
The Geography of You and Me opened with a great promise of an unusual set up but failed to sustain the interest. I am not a big fan of love at first sight (gasp) and the lead characters spent less than a day together to have had time to fall for each other.
I love reading the lovey dovey portion of any romance, as any person would. I was almost looking forward to it just to get out of the monotonous chapters that consisted of ‘he went there’ ‘she went there’. But The Geography of You and Me was a disappointment even on that front.
The story alternates between two POVs but the voice ended up being the same which didn’t work for me at all. I have heard so much of this book and opened it with great expectations and sadly The Geography of You and Me didn’t live upto it.
Is there any book that failed to live up to the hype? Or is it just me? Let us chat.
I confess. I picked the book only for the intriguing title, and as it was long since I read a teen romance, I was fully geared up to read the e-book.
In fact, again I read this book under the bed covers after midnight. Aah, don’t worry it is yet another short book so I wasn’t straining much, you overprotective souls out there. Oh never mind that I was watching the television until midnight and then went on to read this book. And I continued to read the rest of the book during my train commute.
Quite out of context, I am almost sure that my co passengers would have been thinking I was out of my mind while I was grinning while reading few passages from this book. And right now when I am writing, no.. texting the review in my mobile they are actually thinking that I am messaging ‘someone’. I can practically hear the voices in their minds and I know that stare. Mission accomplished – given some spicy food for their thoughts. Back to the review, now.
Book: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E Smith
Genre: Fiction – Romance – Young Adult
Main Characters: Hadley Sullivan, Oliver, The Professor / Dad / Mr. Sullivan, Charlotte, Violet.
Setting: New York, The USA, London, England, The UK
Claustrophobic Hadley is flying to England to attend her dad’s wedding, to a woman she has never met. She arrives at the airport disinterested, only to miss the flight by four minutes. She now has to fly on the next flight – three hours later, to reach the wedding just at the nick of the time. At the airport she meets Oliver, a tall messy haired boy who helps her with her luggage and provides company throughout the journey. There happens the inevitable – love at first sight!
But she has a wedding to attend which means she has to bid farewell to him. How does she get through the wedding? Did she ever meet Oliver again? Read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight to know more.
I can understand what a good story this could have been, with such a good plot. Yeah I know this isn’t a plausible situation, but so is love at first gasp I know I broke many a hearts here! Of course, this is a real interesting situation, if it happens day dreams. Oh, well, back to you.
One major thing that was bothering me was the logic in the dad – daughter relationship. Here is the backdrop: Her dad goes to Oxford accepting a new short term job and her mom cannot join him as she has a shop to look after. He was to be back by Christmas.
But it does not happen, as her mom announces they were getting divorced, and is emotionally broken for a while. She is again back on the dating scenario, dating a dentist who is all intent to marry her which she has not accepted yet. Amidst all this, Hadley finds out during a Dad – daughter ski trip that there is another woman in his life, and she shuts him out of her life. Her resentment increases as they both decide to marry and want her to be their bridesmaid.
Okay I get the idea that she is hurt and divorce is tough, but how was this marriage all unfair only to Hadley? And how did it become about her? I mean her mom has moved on and he is genuinely happy, as she says, then what is HER problem? I mean she is okay with her mom dating somebody else but not her dad? Where in the world did the notion came from that he left them for Charlotte?
I dont think it was probable (at least in my mind) for the “Professor” to leave a perfectly happy family in America for months, move to England, fall in love and then announce a divorce over phone call. I mean her mom would have known and there could have been domestic issues and they decided to take a break or something, though nothing of that sort was said to Hadley (or us).
But seriously, did she run away from her Dad’s wedding to search for a boy in an unknown country in a wedding dress without much cash and with her claustrophobia? And then comes back to the wedding, decides to get absorbed in her own boy trouble and her dad plays her shrink? All for an unknown boy (pfftt.. love at first sight)? All on her Dad’s Wedding day, how much ever she might hate it?
Plot was good, execution not so good. I mean I didn’t feel anything during the story. You know that mushy mushy feeling you are supposed to get reading the romance, oh well forget it.
Did I want to know what happens next? hmm no.
Did I hate it? no.
Did I feel sleepy? no.
In fact, only word I could think of is – bland. By the way, have I read any novel that is fully written in simple present? I don’t know for sure but I felt weird sometimes seeing sentences like
“Hadley edges her way toward the windows and surveys the rows of drab gray chairs, most of them occupied and the rest sprouting yellow stuffing at their seams like well-loved teddy bears. She props her backpack on top of her carry-on suitcase and digs for her cell phone, then scrolls through the contacts for her dad’s number.”
Saying that I don’t want to skip quoting some lines I really liked from the book. Actually there were quite a few lines I liked, mostly because they were simple. The most simple things are the closest to the heart, right? So here are a few:
Quotes I loved:
“In the end, it’s not the changes that will break your heart; it’s that tug of familiarity.”
“It didn’t help that she was right; when had that ever made anything better? “
“The only time it doesn’t help to imagine the sky is when you’re thirty thousand feet in the air with nowhere to go but down.”
“She’s spent the past few weeks secretly wishing this very thing might happen, though admittedly, her imagined scenarios have been a bit more dramatic: a massive airline strike; an epic hailstorm; an immobilizing case of the flu, or even the measles, that would prevent her from flying”
Well, I have done this innumerable times, in fact every Monday – oh the Monday Blues! Wont there be a public transport strike? A power break down for the whole city? Or at least a small size accident – not to me, to some third person and I can run to help them – I know I know I am not the world’s best person – on Monday Mornings,
“Is it better to have had a good thing and lost it, or never to have had it?”
” But the truth was, they spent so much time not talking about Mom’s absence that it had become the only thing either of them could think about.”
“It’s one thing to run away when someone’s chasing you.”
“There’s a star in the sky that refuses to stay put, and Hadley realizes it’s actually a plane, that just last night, that star was them.”
“There’s a formula for how long it takes to get over someone, that it’s half as long as the time you’ve been together.”
“People who meet in airports are seventy-two percent more likely to fall for each other than people who meet anywhere else”
“Did you know that people who meet at least three different times within twenty-four hour period are ninety-eight percent more likely to meet again?”
First things first, that is a real cute, intriguing title. Next, as I have already said, the plot was actually good. But for even such a short book, I found it a little dragging. A YA novel with a love at first sight concept, you could actually make a lot of things happen, but nothing really happens. And best of all, even after the 300 odd pages I really did not know nor feel anything about the characters, come on at least you could have made me feel frustrated or irritated (that is actually easier).
I probably was disconnected with Hadley as she was too shallow and self absorbed for me, like most of the teenagers in the YA world. Nor with Oliver. He was quirky and witty but that was it. It is a cute plot with a non racy story (oh all that was happening within 24 hours, yet too slow for me) and superficial character building.
Have you read this book? Do you find it annoying when characters are so cardboard cut? Do you agree that you find it more in YA romance than others? Let us chat.