Review of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

by Jennifer E. Smith.
Poppy/Hachette Book Group
January 2, 2012

I'm a big fan of Jennifer E. Smith. I really enjoyed her 2008 book The Comeback Season.

Statistical Probability is a finely-crafted gem of a book. The author manages to condense all the plot, characterization, and backstory she needs into the twenty-four hour period in which the book takes place. 

It's a romantic book, but not a fluffy rom-com. It deals with issues of family and fear and loss -- and, yes, love.

The story begins with Hadley Sullivan in an airport, ready to board a plane to London so she can attend her father's wedding. Hadley isn't pleased about his remarriage and is only taking part in the ceremony because her mother convinced her that one day she'd regret not attending.

Hadley's not so sure about any of it. She's not a fan of enclosed spaces -- like airplanes. She's not excited about the idea of a new British stepmother. She's not thrilled about the Dickens book she brought to read on the plane -- a book that her father gave her.

Hadley misses her flight by just four minutes. That means she has to catch a later flight. And that means she meets Oliver.  He's just a little older. He's British. He's off to a wedding as well. He's assigned to her row. He's charming, yet a little mysterious, and helps distract her during the flight.

When their plane lands, the two are separated at Customs, leaving Hadley to face her father's wedding alone. To her, this ceremony is an occasion for mourning, not celebration. Her father will now be someone else's husband, maybe one day someone else's father. But as she navigates the wedding festivities, she can't stop thinking about Oliver.

I had my predictions about  Oliver's connection to the rest of the story -- and I was dead wrong. The ending was perfect -- the kind where everything ties together and you can't believe you didn't see it coming. No cliffhanger!

Jennifer E. Smith is a talented writer, willing to experiment with narrative POVs (third person present) that aren't typically found in YA, and able to convey her characters' emotions in a way that is understated and deeply moving.

I added this book to my list of YA Books That Take Place in One Day AND 2000s and 2010s YA Books Made into Movies!


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. It is one of my faves for 2012 for sure. And in my opinion the BEST young adult ending in history! The love story was realistic, which is suprising when you think that its a story told in 24 hours. But it's definately realistic and not insta love. Perfect in every way! LOVE LOVE the book! It's funny, I was just an hour ago having a conversation with my mom and complaining that now adays YA books are series or trilogy's. There are hardly any standalone's anymore. haha I wish there were more of them for sure. I look forward to this post when you do more of them. :)

  2. Great idea for a blog post. I always think I've found a stand alone and then find out it's a trilogy.

  3. I find I'm seeking out more stand alones lately. Series can be frustrating at times.


  4. This book sounds like so much fun! I am glad you enjoyed it.

    I have to say though that I wasn't impressed with many of the movies you highlighted...does that mean I won't love the book? I hope not because I am really look forward to reading it. :)


    1. No, you should definitely try the book. I know you love contemporary YA. This book had a great deal of depth and an ending that really surprised me.
      Probably shouldn't have made it seem like I was comparing a book to movies, though I do love a good chick flick now and again :)

  5. I hear good things about this one - very excited to see my library snagged it (and a slew of other good new YA releases)! :oD

  6. I absolutely loved this book it was so cute and just perfect. Oliver was totally awesome I so fell in love with him. I absolutely loved all his random remarks when he was trying to distract Hadley from being in a plane. I too had no clue how Oliver was connected with the story so I was just as shocked as Hadley when she found out. I also loved the ending, even though I didn't want it to end. I will definitely be reading this book plenty more times to come.


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