Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Publisher: Headline

Published: 5th January 2012

Format: Hardback

Pages: 240

Genre: Contemporary Romance,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 14+

Rating: 7/10

Amazon/Goodreads

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 18C. Hadley’s in 18A. 

I, like a lot of people, have been eagerly awaiting the release of Statistical Probability (I love the title but it is way too long to keep typing out so SP it is) for quite a while now. Early reviews were great – everyone seems to love this book – but I can’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed.

Statistical Probability is a sweet little story. It’s not to cutesy, there are certain plot points that add some gravity and depth and, despite the title, it’s not really about two people falling in love over a 24 hour period. Rather, for me anyway, it is about two characters, who by chance meet, and feel a connection, an instant attraction, with the possibility of something more.

It’s a short book, only 215 pages and with large font at that, and I was surprised and a little disappointed when the plane journey was over and Oliver and Hadley were already going their separate ways by page 93!

The two main characters are easy to like, particularly Oliver, who is cute, charming and had me chuckling at some of random things he came out with. Hadley is a little stubborn and self-absorbed but not unlikable – her hurt and anger over her father were well handled and, in many ways, well justified. The scenes between Oliver and Hadley really stole the book. They had some lovely moments but there was the potential for so much more.

Personally, I think much of the second half of the book wasn’t needed. Too much time was spent on Hadley and her father, but there wasn’t sufficient time to really explore their relationship and the bitterness and hurt between them properly. The ending to this particular plot line was to cutesy and a little contrived and I think Smith could have achieved some softening of Hadley’s character towards her father as a result of her time with Oliver, without showing the actual wedding. While I quite liked the idea of Oliver and Hadley having several ‘chance’ encounters throughout 24 hours, I feel Statistical Probability would have been a stronger, ultimately more satisfying read, had Smith completely focused on the two main characters, given us much more of the two of them together and ended with that great customs scene at Heathrow.

If you’re a fan of the genre, or merely looking for a simple, frothy read that will make you smile, you should definitely pick up Statistical Probability. It feels a little bit like of one of those old-fashioned romance movies. I think both teenager and adult readers will enjoy this one.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

  1. I just finished this book too and thought it was very cute. I was surprised too when the pair parted ways so early, and I definitely see your point that the wedding could have been condensed. Glad you liked it too overall. It did feel like a movie, didn’t it?

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