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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Hadley Sullivan was doomed to have a bad day when she awoke this morning. She had one goal, board a plan to England to attend her father's wedding to a woman she's never met. She hasn't seen her father in over a year and she is dreading this occasion, secretly hoping she'll miss her flight and had a valid excuse to miss the ceremony. And, as luck would have it, she does miss her flight, by four minutes. This leads to a chain of events where she meets Oliver, a British boy heading back to England. The two spend the entire flight talking and suddenly they are split, both heading in separate directions. Hadley can't get him out of her mind, even when dealing with the heart-breaking reality that her dad's life is moving on with or without her. Can the universe bring them back together or was the flight a fluke and they both must now move on?
Hadley was a character I instantly sympathized with. What child of divorce doesn't understand that resentment that comes when a parent remarries? Even at the age of 17, Hadley is desperately fighting with those feelings and the pure rage at her father for leaving them, for leaving her mom. And just leaving isn't enough, he moves to another fucking country. Add to that that this is the day that refusing to go right, with being late to the airport, missing the flight, booking a new one which leaves no margin for error, and the massive fight she had with her mom before she left and I just wanted to give the poor girl a hug.
Then we meet Oliver, who is so charming and witty that you can't help but love him instantly. His unwavering dedication to the task of making Hadley forget about her flying fears was so sweet, I'm surprised I didn't melt into a swoony puddle. The fact that I listened to this on audiobook and the narrator read his character in a British accent only adds to that. He's smart and funny, with just enough sincerity that his bullshit doesn't come off as slick or annoying. He's constant jokes about what he's researching had me cracking up.
I think this book is so much more than I was expecting. I picked it up because it has an adorable couple and I was expecting something light and fluffy. I wasn't expecting to be on the brink of tears throughout Hadley's dad's wedding because I couldn't stop myself from feeling her pain. I wasn't expecting to be so addicted that I <s>forced</s> requested my friends wait a few minutes extra before going to a movie so that I could finish it. I wasn't expecting to fall head over heels in love with it.
I think part of my misconception was because of the title. The Probability Of Love At First Sight promises insta-love, no? But you won't find it here and after reading it, I'm convinced it's the perfect title. First, the L word is nevermentioned between these two. Some people imply it or state it outright, but there is no late declarations, just a deep-seated attraction and fondness. I'm not really a believer in love at first sight, lust at first sight maybe, attraction, definitely, but not love. And these two don't just have that "Oh, I see someone so pretty and I have to have them now" thing going on. They spend a transatlantic flight talking and connecting. Their connection felt real.
So, all you out there worried about insta-love, don't be scared. That isn't found here. Neither are cliffhangers (because it's a stand-alone) or love triangles. This is simply the story of how Hadley's life was altered by that magical four minutes that caused her to miss her flight. I can honestly say that I have added all of Jennifer E Smith's books to be TBR list and to my Amazon wishlist. If her other novels come even close to the awesomeness of this one, I won't be disappointed.
If you are a fan of contemporary YA such as Anna And The French Kiss or Pushing The Limits, this tiny, fast-paced novel is for you. You will get so caught up in it's magic, that you'll forget the rest of the world, and really isn't that what we all seek? To disappear into another world for a bit, a world where everything may not always be better, but we are left with hope?
****Thank you to Little, Brown Books For Young Readers for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****