The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Written by: Jennifer E. Smith
Published by: Little, Brown
Release date: January 2nd, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 236
Format: Paperback
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: This Is What Happy Looks Like

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. 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?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.


The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is about… well, love. It’s about the love between parents, and how that love can end; it’s about the love between a father and child, how that love can be damaged, and how it can be repaired; and it’s about the love between two people who meet in an airport, and how that love can begin.

Can you tell I liked this book? Can you? Yeah I bet you can.

Yes, it’s a contemporary romance, and it’s light and fluffy. But I’m giving it five stars because I got exactly what I wanted out of it – an adorable story filled with sunshine and rainbows, but also given depth and meaning by dealing with some more serious subjects as well.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight has a lot going for it, on top of the sweet romance and awesome title. Hadley and Oliver are amazing main characters. They are adorable together; and the story of their unlikely meeting, and the 24 hours that follow, is wonderful and touching. But more than just that, the characters are great separately, not just because of their relationship. Hadley most of all, really. I feel like this book is her story, especially, and her journey toward understanding what love is, what it means, and also what it means to forgive those we love.

Smith writes Hadley in such a way that you can’t help but feel (at least I couldn’t) an instant connection to her, in a way that I don’t normally feel unless it’s told from first person (it isn’t, it’s in third). Even from third person, it’s pretty much written from Hadley’s POV, but somehow it had a narrative quality that made it seem like it was connecting the reader to the character like first-person has a tendency to, rather than having that normal distance of third-person narratives. (Ugh, did that make sense? I’m having a hard time describing it.) Anyway, I really liked that.

So yes – Hadley is a fantastic character, and I really loved seeing her progression from the beginning of the book, when she was so bitter and angry with her father, and at her situation in general, to her later acceptance and change of heart at the end. It was a fast journey, but one I felt was written really well, and really believably.

Oliver is also a wonderful character. He’s certainly got all the best aspects of the quintessential British Boy, but he wasn’t just a cute accent and a pretty face. I don’t want to give anything about him and his story away, though, either, so I’m not going to go into much here. We don’t see much of Oliver’s side except when he’s with Hadley (since it’s from her POV); but the 24 hours that take place in this book are as much a journey for Oliver as they are for Hadley; though in a different way.

Finally, the romance. <3 It must be said – I did go into this book expecting some insta-love. I mean, that 24-hr timeline is pretty much the definition of instant, and the words “love at first sight” are in the title. But Smith is able to stretch out that time into something that feels much longer (in a good way). And as for the title: In relation to Hadley and Oliver, the word ‘love’ didn’t even come up until the end of the book (and it’s not even in the context you’re thinking).

Hadley and Oliver have an incredibly natural connection, one that is able to carry the first half of the book all on its own. This half is made up primarily of Hadley’s and Oliver’s time at the airport and on their long flight overseas. It might be considered slow by some people, but I found their dialog to be incredibly engaging. Their conversations are often funny and cute, but they also open up to one another almost immediately. I think it sort of started out as an, “I’ll probably never see you again” honesty, but the more they talked, the more they grew genuinely interested in each other. It wasn’t insta-love, more like insta-like – one which I could totally buy, and found completely, heart-meltingly sweet.

Though the bulk of their interactions are on the plane, they learn a lot about each other once they part ways at the airport, as well. I won’t give away what happens after they’re separated, but (spoilers!) they do find each other again (it’s a contemporary romance, I mean come on, did you think she’d never see him again?).

Finally, one thing that I was weirdly happy to see: As wonderful as Hadley and Oliver’s budding relationship is, Smith doesn’t leave you with unrealistic expectations about their future together. They’ve known each other for 24 hours – they don’t go and get married and live happily ever after. ;) The story ends on an incredibly sweet high, but no definite answers about where things go from there. And I really liked that. Because whatever happens after, no mater what it is, this was a beautiful start to Hadley and Oliver’s relationship, however long that ends up being.

This is definitely one I’ll be recommending for some time to come.


    • Haha, I know what you mean about long TBR lists… mine’s ridiculous too. But I hope you’re able to get to Statistical Probability soon! It’s a really quick read, and so so sweet. :)

  1. I’m glad you loved this one too! :) I thought the storyline was so sweet, and you’re right, this 3rd person narrative felt more personal than other 3rd person narrative’s I’ve read and like I got to connect with Hadley. I was expecting “insta love” too because of the title, which made me hesitant, but I really enjoyed watching Hadley and Oliver’s relationship develop as they talked! I also loved the flashbacks of Hadley and her dad! :) Fabulous review!!!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    • I’m glad you liked the book too! :D And yes! The flashbacks were so great – I totally forgot to mention those. :P

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  2. I read this one over the weekend, and I couldn’t agree more! It was so wonderfully charming and refreshing. Like you I was nervous about “love at first sight”, but Smith really new what she was doing and didn’t make me puke, haha.

    So glad you liked this!

  3. This seems like a book I need to ‘push up’ on my TBR list! Great review, you made me feel young and fluffy just through that – imagine what the book will do to me!

  4. I have had this book on my kindle for awhile now. No idea how I got it or why. But you definitely got me to put it on my to be read list. It sounds like something I’d enjoy reading at the moment. Thanks :3

  5. I actually just finished this book and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it (I’m not the biggest contemporary fan). There is no insta-love, more like, insta-like. I dig how ambiguous Smith left Hadley and Oliver’s relationship and I thought their interactions were sweet and totally believable. But the thing I loved most was that this book was more about Hadley’s failing relationship with her father. THAT journey struck me more so than the one between her and Oliver. Plus, bonus points go to Smith for creating a story that takes place in a mere matter of just a few days. This book was definitely an unexpected and pleasant surprise!

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