I am not the kind of person who gets dressed up to go on a plane. I flew enough as a bicoastal kid to know the key to a happy plane ride is a comfy plane ride. When I was at Smith College (an all women’s school) the airport became the place to meet guys. Suddenly, instead of wearing leggings and avoiding eye contact I was supposed to wear eyeliner and be flirtatious. The goal was no longer an empty middle seat on the plane: it was a boyfriend. I resisted this trend and continued to wear my Ugg boots and unapproachable expression, but reading The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, by Jennifer E. Smith, kind of made me regret that decision.
The book is told from the perspective of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan. As a name nerd I was excited to see the heroine share her first name with Hemingway’s first wife, a fact I think must have been intentional given that Hadley’s father is a literature professor.
Hadley fights with her mother, misses the plane to see her father, who is getting married again, to a woman Hadley’s never met. You’d think it is about time to cue the tiny violin players, but instead this chance mistake of four minutes has her seated next to Oliver on the next plane to London. Witty banter, meaningful conversations, and one spectacular kiss while waiting in line at customs ensue.
Parts of the book are a bit repetitive, but other than that it delivers on every promise it makes to be a light, romantic read. Hadley is the right mix of clever and relatable. Oliver is slightly older, perfect looking, and British. He also conveniently goes to college very close to where Hadley lives with her mom. Both characters are in the midst of dealing with significant family problems, which adds back stories and helps infuse originality into this teen romance.
This wasn’t my favorite read ever, but I think fans of Stephanie Perkins novels Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door will enjoy this book. It’s a quick, fun read perfect for the beach … or perhaps a long plane ride. And who knows? Maybe the next time I’m going to be in an airport I’ll dress up a bit.