The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, by Jennifer E. Smith
From the jacket: “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.”
My take: Compared to many of my Cybils reads, this novel (which I started reading while on the way to New Orleans solely because it included an airplane ride) was sweet, but without a lot of substance. Although it touched briefly on Very Important Issues, it did not dwell on them and instead focused on the budding romance of Hadley and Oliver, who share an overnight plane flight from New York to London.
Hadley, who missed her original flight by four minutes, is a high school senior from Connecticut prone to anxiety attacks and remarkably angry with her father. After heading to England for what was supposed to be a semester, he made the move permanent by separating from Hadley’s mother and finding a new girlfriend, a woman whom he’s about to marry even though Hadley’s never met her. Hadley’s agreement to participate in the wedding has been lukewarm at best, so between that and her panic attacks at being trapped in enclosed spaces, she is not looking forward to her rescheduled flight.
Then she meets Oliver, a British student studying at Yale, also toting dress clothes with him on the plane. He’s cute and dryly witty and helps her keep the panic at bay both at the airport and through the flight. His flirtations are enjoyable, but, of course, it’s just for a few hours. They’re heading their separate ways when they land in London, after all, with Hadley still needing to get through an event she’s loathing with people she can’t stand.
But when a series of events unfold during the course of the wedding day, will she be able to get over her own initial perceptions in order to see things — and people — as they really are? Or will she find that it’s too late?
Reading this book was like eating all the chocolate chips out of a container of trail mix. You might suffer through the raisins and enjoy the peanuts, but each one of those chocolate chips is going to make you smile for the very respite it offers from an otherwise reasonably healthy mix. And, let’s face it, sometimes you just want a sweet snack — or novel — to devour in an afternoon.