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Middle-school librarians Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan prove that two heads are better than one when it comes to discussing YA and children's books

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Thursday, March 29, 2012 3:22 pm
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: Do you have a way to gather reading suggestions from your children, teens, students? If not, find one. Even though the media keeps ringing the death knell for books my piles of to-read new titles has not diminished any. I do my best to sort through what the publishers generously send us, what I find in my review journals and buy for my libraries, and what I scavenge from the public library. Oh, yeah, and the long list that Lynn emails me every week (does that woman sleep?) And despite my best efforts, it is often a teen in our book club who says, “You MUST read this!” that turns up the best stuff. That’s the case with The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (Little, Brown 2012). It took me a while to get my hands on it, having to fight off the other teens who wanted it. When I reminded them of their source for these advanced reader copies, a source that could dry up quickly if I didn’t get to read what I wanted, they relented and gave me a turn.

Four minutes can change your life. Hadley is four measly minutes late for her plane to London and ends up on a later flight, nearly missing her father’s wedding to the woman he left her mother for. That new seat assignment puts her next to Oliver, a British boy headed home for an event of his own. The connection between them is immediate and it only grows during the long overnight flight but then their custom lines divert them from each other and they resume their independent journeys. But some connections are made to last…

Hadley is also struggling to deal with her father’s exit from her family…but some connections are made to last.

Journeys, physical and psychological, are favorite stories for me. Throw in humor, tears, a budding romance and healing and you’ve got me. This is a perfect book to recommend to all of those Maureen Johnson fans. And I’m grateful for my readers, who urged me to read it!

Lynn: Hey!  I sleep!  I do admit to having inherited my mother’s tendency for insomnia and books ARE helpful in the middle of the night.  But you don’t have to be an insomniac to be completely captivated by this charming new book.  I read it in a gulp – and I predict nearly everyone who picks this up will find it extremely hard to put down again before the end.

This could have been complete fluff – and that’s not a bad thing sometimes – but this is not only romantic, sweet and compulsively readable, it does some very exception things very well.  The dialog is smart and believable, the characters are much more than stock, developing real complexity as the story unfolds and the nuanced relationships Smith creates so skillfully are especially nice.  Like Cindy, I loved the humor too.  This is one to give to your Maureen Johnson and Sarah Dessen fans but since it’s the perfect book to take on spring break, grab it first and give yourself a treat!


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