“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.
A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?
Set over a twenty-four-hour period, this is a cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves.”
That last line sold the book for me. Unfortunately, the story itself was a little problematic in my opinion. And this is a weird way of starting my reaction post on The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight… but sometimes you just have to jump in to the part you want to discuss.
Like false promises.
I don’t think the novel was particularly cinematic, for one thing. Sure, the 24 hours thing screams road trip movie–except our characters are on a plane en route to London. But this time frame actually detracts from the overall experience, because the author was corralled into sticking with the here and now of the two character’s relationships without the breathing allowance that time gives. And, come on, how can you live up to your title when you’re not giving your characters time to process things…to actually fall in love?
Hadley and Oliver are great characters, and I feel like they were squandered on a premise that might have sounded amazing in the proposal stage, but didn’t completely work on paper. I think they would have resonated more with readers if we were given the time allowed to get to know them, to get a feel of them… Something more than the scraps of insights we were given by the book.
Which, I’m going back to the cinematic novel claim now, would have worked on screen depending on the actors’ abilities to deliver lines with gravitas, and with their chemistry. Pages and pages of history, of experience, can be translated into movements, stance, inflections, etcetera–but you can’t expect your readers to guess how your character is supposed to hold themselves in certain situations when we barely have any idea who they are.
A book is not a movie. You don’t have actors breathing life into your characters. You don’t have a director adding history into the way the characters interact. You don’t have a stylist layering the experiences through the way the characters dress. You don’t have a set designer giving clues to who the characters are supposed to be. All you have is the story. So let the story breathe.
This is not a book I would recommend. But, I am not telling you to not pick up the book either. You have to make your own mind up when it comes to these things. So here are a few reviews I found online, to balance what I wrote about the book:
There Were Books Involved