Reynje's Reviews > The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
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's review
Jan 17, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: read-2012, young-adult, contemp-or-realistic, swap
Read from January 15 to 16, 2012

2.5 stars
After all, it’s one thing to run away when someone’s chasing you. It’s entirely another to be running all alone.
As something of a sceptic (well, okay, a romantic trapped in the body of a realist masquerading as a cynic), the title alone was enough to tell me that this book would be fighting an uphill battle with me. While I like the quirk factor of the phrase ”The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight”, I’ll admit that there’s a part of me that reads that line and scoffs. Zero. There is zero probability. I don’t believe in love at first sight.

Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Initial derision over with, my immediate thoughts were: ”Why doesn’t this happen to me? I always get stuck next to the snorer, or the person who never requests a window seat yet always wants to lean over me and breathe in my personal space. A pox on you, fiction, for perpetuating the rumour that love blossoms on planes!”

In a word, this book is cute. In a few more, it’s fluffy, sweet, vanilla – not unlike eating an entire bag of marshmallows. Fun at the time, but not really my favourite thing to do. (view spoiler)

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight revolves around the serendipitous meeting of teenagers Oliver and Hadley at JFK, waiting for the red-eye to London. Cue meet-cute, witty banter and gentle flirting in aisle 18. What unfolds from here is a series of flashbacks, realisations, confessions and meetings, tied up with a hopeful, open ending befitting a feel-good romantic-comedy. It’s not cheesy enough for the full Hollywood treatment, but neither is it indie and off-beat enough for an alternative soundtrack and hipster wardrobe.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book in third person present, but after the initial adjustment, I feel that it suited the story. It lends a vaguely documentary style vibe to the narration - the reader is a spectator, not a participant – using the distance to intensify the “will-they-won’t-they” question. The writing is clear and articulate, while not super emotive.

The characters themselves left me a little cold, with the possible exception of Oliver. (And I’m not just saying that, promise.) I didn’t harbour strong feelings of dislike towards Hadley, but neither did I have any real concern with her problems. Her characterisation as a teenager holding onto anger and grief over her parent’s divorce felt accurate, but I can’t say this book evoked much sympathy for her in me. Also, the "love makes everything okay" wrap up to some of the story lines didn't gel with me. Being "in love" doesn't justify crappy behaviour so, (view spoiler)

Honestly, towards the end I found the family flashbacks a little distracting and frankly, kind of dull. I realise that the purpose was to flesh out Hadley’s story, to illustrate what exactly she had to make peace with, but they felt like lulls in the pacing, weighing the story down as it meandered to the end.

It’s not a bad book at all. I liked Jennifer E Smith’s writing, and I did confess to having a closet romantic side, didn’t I? Every now and then I enjoy reading a blatantly cute, escapist book. And yes, maybe I like tall, British guys. But I don’t really feel there is much to get hyped-up over here. Even for fans of YA romance, I’m not sure that it’s all that compelling. This book won’t go on my “most memorable” shelf, to put it plainly.

That said, if you enjoy light, teen-centric rom-com’s, this might be for you.
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07/07/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-37)

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Aly (Fantasy4eva) so I'm curious to see what you think of this one, Rey. It's a fast, cute read :P

Reynje I'm not very far in yet, but it seems pretty cute :)

message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

This book keeps getting underwhelming responses :( What did you think? Were you whelmed?? *awaits*

Reynje Only if I was in Europe :)

boom boom.

Eh. It was alright. I don't think I was underwhelmed, because I didn't have super high expectations to begin with, but it's not amazing or anything.

message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh weelllllll there'll be other books.

That's becuse you don't have a prada backpack....

Oh that movie, so happy and so sad and just HEEEEEAAAAAATTTHHHHH why god? why????

Reynje Ok, now I want to go watch that movie...

message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Same, stupid work grr

Reynje I went in for an hour this morning, now I'm home again. Frankly I'm starting to worry that I have some kind of zombie plague..

message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Really? Rey :( I'm gonna move in for a week and cook for you. You're making me worried. Get some immune boosters, take a spoonful of this horrid stuff called Olive Leaf Extract everyday.

Reynje I'm still waiting for my soup in the post :)

Thanks hon :) I'm going to give this immune system a kick in the pants!

message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

Msg me yr address ;)

Reynje Lol :)

Jasprit "In a word, this book is cute. In a few more, it’s fluffy, sweet, vanilla – not unlike eating an entire bag of marshmallows. Fun at the time, but not really my favourite thing to do."

Exactly how I felt about this book Rey, great review :)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Who doesn't like tall British guys? (view spoiler)

But this didn't work for me either. Amazing review, Reynje. Really, I don't know why the rest of us even bother.

message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Mmm tall British guys

I think I'll read this if I have nothing else to do and it just happens to be kicking about my house.

Nomes This is how I felt. But your review is infinitely better. (as usual, you rock the reviewing scene)

Perhaps I was less forgiving than you as I had some seriously high expectations considering the gush fests I kept reading. I am still baffled by all the people who raved about this book (!)

Anyways, this is my fave review of this book so far. x

Nomes @ trinity you don't get much taller than Steven fry, he's my fave tall British guy ;)

Perhaps not in the swoony way though ...

message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Haha perhaps not but he is still a fave :)

Reynje Aw, thanks lovely ladies! High praise indeed from such brilliant reviewers like yourselves :)

@ Maja - But think of all the extra marshmallows for you, since I don't eat them :)

@Nomes - Lol @ Stephen Fry! It probably helped that I had minimal expectations going in.. it would definitely have been disappointing if you had high hopes :(

Aly (Fantasy4eva) It feels so good to know I'm not alone when I thought her dad got it way too easy. It really bothered me so I was a relieved when reviews started coming in and mentioning the same thing. It was cute, but not much else. Oh well, hype fail.

message 17: by Reynje (last edited Jan 17, 2012 01:02AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Reynje Agreed, Aly. It just didn't seem all that realistic that she'd accept the situation so quickly, just because she sees them together and "in love".

Hype Fail would be a good shelf name :)

Aly (Fantasy4eva) Rey, I might just take you up on that. It is a good name, thanks! :D

Limonessa Reynje wrote: "Only if I was in Europe :)

boom boom.

LMAO Reynje. I never saw that.
I, on the other side, was very UNDERwhelmed because:
- everybody's reviews I'd read were gushy
- somebody I barely know ;) said I'd like it.
The "love makes everything ok" message was what bothered me the most.

Reynje Haha! Yes, that was my single flash of wit for 2012 :)

It's so disappointing when you expect/want great things of a book and it doesn't deliver.

That bothered me so much, too. Sure I believe in love, but not as a magic cure-all for problems. It was just so unrealistic.

message 13: by Amy (Turn the Page) (last edited Jan 17, 2012 01:44AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy (Turn the Page) I completely agree. Its was a cute little book but nothing amazing like I expected from all the reviews. I actually think the whole second half should have been left out.

I also thought the dad story was too neatly wrapped up. Didn't quite see the point of it.

Anyways - your review said it much better than mine lol!

Reynje Thanks Amy :) I completely agree - I really wish that part of the story hadn't been so "perfect".

message 11: by Shirley (new)

Shirley Marr Reynje, I like how you're attempting to bring sexyback to the term "a pox on you" :D
But really girl, your reviewing style puts mortals to shame

Reynje Whatever do you mean? It never went away :) My brother and I say it to each other all the time. E.g.

Brother: Did you use up all the milk?
Me: Yes
Brother: A pox on your house!

It's probably not nice to go around wishing poxes on people, but it's so satisfying!

And I do not believe for a moment that you're a mere mortal! (but thank you darling!)

oliviasbooks It's (or I am?) really strange. Both the likers and the non-likers think this book is cute. But I didn't get even the faintest cute-vibe ...

Reynje I think your proposed Mayonnaise title was cute :)

message 7: by Shirley (new)

Shirley Marr I LOVE the Mayonnaise title Olibs. You should set up a service where you charge authors for choosing their book titles.

Rey... can...can I come and spend Christmas with you and your cool family?

oliviasbooks Reynje wrote: "I think your proposed Mayonnaise title was cute :)"

Thanks - both of you. It would have spared me some disappointment. I am not sure about the next book: This Is What Happy Looks Like. The same problem?

jesse reyne, you captured the essence of what was wrong with the story perfectly.

it was a very neat and tidy package, overall. light, fluffy, bubbly with a touch of teen angst. it did had some nice passages, but was a little zZZZzzzz ..

Reynje Shirley, of course! Pack your puns. We love puns.

Olivia, hmm. That's interesting. I'm not really a fan of that title, at all.

Joe, thanks! I agree, there were some parts that were beautifully written, but overall I didn't find it very remarkable.

message 3: by Llana (new) - added it

Llana You don't love marshmallows,but they're marshmallows<\i>.they're little bundles of fluffy yummyness .

Pearl i didnt enjoy the book as much as i thought i would :(

Michaela Padilla i really wanted to love this, but it just didn't make the cut for me :(

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