I don't read enough young adult fiction, so when I came across The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight with its intriguing title, I decided to jump in. It tells the story of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan who is flying across the Atlantic to attend her father's wedding but only under duress.
"The Professor," as she tags him, left Connecticut a year ago for a four-month stint at Oxford, but never returned home to the family. He asked for a divorce from Hadley's mom, and Hadley has been seething ever since. Reluctantly, under pressure from both parents, she's boarding a plane at JFK International Airport.
The first thing that happens is she misses her plane. This really complicates things because she only gave herself a window of five hours from arrival at customs to being a bridesmaid at a London church. She gets scheduled on a jet three hours later. Hadley asks a woman to watch her bags and the woman angrily accuses her of breaking the law, but a handsome youth with a charming British accent offers to help.
His name is Oliver and he is going to London too, for what Hadley decides is a wedding also. They have been assigned seats on the same row but an older lady guesses that they are a couple so offers to switch. They spend the long night over the Atlantic talking about themselves and their relationships with their fathers. Oliver is studying science at Yale and he always has a ready quip about what he is studying—thus the title.
They are literally forced apart at Heathrow by the division between those needing customs and those not, but just as a guard orders them to keep moving, Oliver kisses Hadley good-bye. He's dropped a hint that he will be at a church event in Paddington.
Hadley plans to return a Dickens classic to her father unread as a statement, but meeting Oliver has changed her. Because of her long night of conversation with him, she reconsiders her anger at her father.
Jennifer E. Smith's writing flows, her characters are drawn out well, and she provides lots of interesting dialogue. It's a book about coincidence, forgiveness, and being open to new experiences in life. Teens in particular will enjoy it, but it's a nice read for any age.