Tag Archives: divorce

Book Reviews
January 26, 2012 posted by Kiona

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight — Jennifer E. Smith

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.

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.

Hadley Sullivan is en route to her father’s second wedding, celebrating his marriage to Charlotte, a woman Hadley’s never met before. The wedding is the last place Hadley wants to be and, almost as if the world understands this, she arrives to the airport just three minutes late, causing her to miss her flight. While she waits for the next plane to arrive, she meets Oliver, a British Yale student coincidentally occupying seat 18C, a mere seat over from Hadley’s 18A. Oliver is the perfect distraction — from the impending wedding and Hadley’s claustrophobia. He’s funny, charming, and sweet…and Hadley’s pretty sure she senses a romantic connection. But when their plane lands in London, Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other before she has a chance to say goodbye. All throughout the ceremony, Hadley can’t stop thinking about him. Then a shocking revelation forces her to actively seek him out, despite the limited information she has to go on.

With such an amazing synopsis, I thought I would instantly fall in love with The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. And I probably would have if the synopsis was accurate. Or rather, if it weren’t quite so misleading. This book isn’t about Hadley and Oliver’s relationship and it isn’t about the idea of love at first sight. It is about Hadley’s broken relationship with her father. It exams divorce, infidelity, and parent-child relationships. These are all interesting issues and Jennifer Smith does a fantastic and thorough job exploring them, but going into the book, I wasn’t prepared for such heavy issues. As such, I was left feeling disappointed and a little morose. Even the ending wasn’t enough to cheer me up, especially since Smith does such a good job of portraying the effects of a broken marriage on an entire family that anyone who has experienced divorce in any capacity will be unhappily reminded of their own experiences.

Hadley Sullivan isn’t the most intriguing protagonist, but she’s likable and relatable. She reacts to her parents’ divorce as many teenagers do, but she’s a little ahead of the curve in that she blames her dad rather than his new fiance, which impressed me. Hadley is most interesting when she’s talking to Oliver, as he brings her out of her sullenness. Oliver, by comparison, is lively, witty, fun, and a little mysterious. He’s a huge part of the reason I even finished this book. I actually found his story far more intriguing than Hadley’s and wished we could have learned a lot more about him. Sadly, he only appears for what feels like a brief part of the book.

My main problem with The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is that it provides a lot of back-story. The entire middle consists of tons of flashbacks, all the way to when Hadley was young and happy, up until the divorce. When not flashing back, we get to witness Hadley’s dad’s wedding, which — in my opinion — is a pretty dull affair. Charlotte is too perfect and all the conflict is resolved rather easily. Though Hadley grows as a person and character throughout the book, the growth (and her eventual forgiveness) seems kind of sudden and unwarranted.

I liked The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, but I didn’t love it. I think if I reread it knowing what it’s really about, I might like it better. Every scene involving Oliver was enjoyable and Hadley’s relationship with her dad is interesting enough. I’d just like to warn other readers that this is not the romantic, heart-pounding love-story it proclaims itself to be.

Pages: 236
Publication Date : January 2012
Publisher: Poppy
Challenge: N/A
Rating : ★★★½☆

Teaser Quote: “‘Well,’ says the boy, propping his elbows on the table, ‘claustrophobia is nothing compared to mayo-phobia, and look how well you’re conquering that.’ He nods at the plastic knife in her hand, which is caked with mayonnaise and bread crumbs.

Six Impossible Things – Fiona Wood
Book Reviews
August 17, 2010 posted by Christina

Six Impossible Things – Fiona Wood

“Fourteen year old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he’s narrowed it down to just six impossible things…”

It always seems to be that when one thing goes wrong in your life, other things like to join in and make it even worse. When it rains it pours right? It’s under these circumstances that we meet fourteen year old Dan Cereill.

After his father’s business goes broke, he announces that he’s bankrupt, gay and moving out. Dan and his mother are left to face the liquidators as Dan’s whole life is literally taken away from him. At the same time, his mother’s great Aunt Adelaide has passed away and left the house to Dan’s mother. The family collects their few belonging and tries to start again.

Not long after they move in, Dan meets his next door neighbor (and soon to be new classmate), Estelle. Needless to say he is head over heels in 5 seconds flat.  He also meets his new roommate, Howard, Aunt Adelaide’s dog, and the very cool Oliver, who lives in the stable house.  With a new house, school, friends and a new lifestyle, can Dan and his mother cope to make this new life work?

Six Impossible Things is quite a remarkable book. Loosely based on Cinderella (Dan Cereill is an anagram for Cinderella), the story also has a touch of Lewis Caroll’s Through The Looking Glass as well as a bit of the Ugly Duckling. Though it references these stories the book itself is still quite unique and makes these connections without being obvious.

Dan himself is a total sweetheart, so many times I felt like reaching into the book and giving this kid a hug. I thought he was really an amazing character who steps up to the plate despite the unfortunate situation around him. Even though he’s young, he displays maturity, yet still stays true to his age. It was great to see him grow and see how he was dealing with things (while not dealing with others).

His crush on Estelle is also quite cute. Unlike other books where there’s a love interest just because the girl is super super gorgeous, Dan likes her for more than that. He stumbles around a bit but really works at making her see him for what he really is. It was very sweet, and always maintained the feeling of it being real.

Dan’s mother was a very human character. As a kid in this situation you’d probably look to your mother to stay strong and pick up the pieces but in this story, I was pretty disappointed by her behavior. She’d be moody, sad, and sometimes even neglectful of Dan, often she sabotaged her own business and chance at income and failed to recognize just how much Dan was trying to make her happy. You’re not always going to like a character and though I didn’t like her, she was still very real. It’s realistically how many people would cope (or not cope) in the situation.

This book is skillfully written, with not only great characters (both main and minor) who each had their own defining personality, great dialogue, but also by adding just the right amount of humor so that this book doesn’t come off as depressing. It seems with so much heartache this book would be much sadder, but it was instead a very sweet and heartwarming novel that I really enjoyed.

Pages: 263

Publication Date: August 2010

Rating: : ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: He gives me an assessing once over. “Out of your league, man, unless you do something about the look,” he says.
“You said outward stuff doesn’t make you cool.”
“It’s definitely not
the thing, but it’s a thing. It’s one of those paradoxes life throws up – it can’t make you cool, but it can make you uncool.”
Now he tells me.