Friday, September 30, 2011

Carly Reads: Alumni Edition with Jennifer E. Smith

Hi Readers,

It’s time for another installment of Carly Reads: Alumni Edition. This week, I’m featuring a review of “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight” by the very talented Jennifer E. Smith. Jennifer, who works as an editor for Ballantine, an imprint of Random House, attended TBF 2010 where she presented on the production of a book from an editor’s perspective.  In addition to “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight,” she is the author of “The Comeback Season” and “You Are Here.”

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that 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 in seat 18B. Hadley's in 18A.
Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

I love all of Jennifer’s books, and this one was no exception. “The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight” is a unique novel in that it’s written in present tense and takes place over the course of only 24 hours. I can't think of anything else that I've read in present tense except for "Love at First Sight" and "The Comeback Season,” but it’s so natural in "Love at First Sight" that about halfway through I started second guessing myself as to whether it was even unusual and had to page through a few other books to reassure myself that books are not usually in present tense. I also loved that it took place over 24 hours. I was worried that, because of the timeline, the story would feel rushed or would drag, but the timing was perfect.

Readers, in case you haven’t noticed yet, characterization plays a huge role in whether or not I like a book. I have to like a character, and relate to a character, and feel invested in a character in order to enjoy a book. And I didn’t just like Hadley and Oliver, I loved them. I loved Hadley's voice and I REALLY loved Oliver, especially his sense of humor.

Jennifer has a way of writing lines that literally stop me in my tracks. Her prose is gorgeous and beautifully constructed, which can be so hard to find in young adult literature.

I come back to Jennifer’s books again and again, rereading them in their entirety or sometimes rereading just a chapter, or a paragraph, or a line. And each time I do, I find discover something new about the way a scene is put together, or I connect to something she's written in a way that I haven't before.  “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight” is no exception to this rule.

Unfortunately, readers, you’re going to have to wait until February 2012 for the “Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight,” but add it to your Goodreads queue and start a countdown to release day. It will be well worth the wait.

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