Always forever maybe book cover

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

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. SmithThe Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Poppy/Little Brown on January 2nd 2012
Pages: 236
Goodreads
five-stars

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.

Here’s a  quick and sweet review of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.

This book has been around for a few years now, and I meant to read it long ago, but I kind of forgot it existed. I’m so glad I finally remembered, and went ahead and borrowed the audio book from my library, because it was just as good as fellow readers have said.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is an emotional story full of humor and heartbreak.

I got especially emotional when it tackled the strained relationship between Hadley and her father. I’ve got my own issues with my father, and because of how raw the author could describe feelings, I felt my own memories and emotions rising up. It was kind of painful. but so worth it. Jennifer E. Smith really understands despair, and it shows in her writing.

But don’t worry – this book isn’t all gloom and doom. Oliver and Hadley are so cute together!  I loved their witty banter, and how they slowly helped each other work through their own deep-seated issues. Sometimes when everything seems to be going wrong, those wrong things can end up leading you towards something very right. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is very much about the old saying “everything happens for a reason”.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is such a quick read/listen. I didn’t mean to finish it in one day, I was only going to listen to it during my work commute, but then I ended up falling in love too easily and quickly, and I listened at home. I actually did extra household chores after work just for an excuse to listen to the story more *ha ha*.

I don’t listen to many audio books so I can’t really remark on the quality of this one, but I was happy with the female narrator. Never once did I doubt that I was following the story through Hadley’s eyes and thoughts.

five-stars
Always forever maybe book cover

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

P.S. I Like You by Kasie WestP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point on July 26th 2016
Pages: 330
Goodreads
four-stars

Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

I tend to start drafting reviews in my head while I’m reading a book. Obviously the final outcome changes because a story can get better, or in some cases worse. For instance, a few chapters in and I was already planning on giving P.S. I Like You a 2-3 star rating – the lowest ever for a West book! Why you ask? Well…

This story revolves around my new #spiritanimal Lily. Every word out of her mouth is hilariously sarcastic and so well timed. Most of the time her family, peers and even best friend Isobel, have no idea what Lily’s talking about. She truly lives in her own little indie-rock world. 
 
One day Lily scribbles music lyrics on her desk in Chemistry class, and then the next day some mysterious person (who we quickly find out is a boy) writes the next verse. Eventually these two start passing notes back and forth, first discussing how awesome indie-rock is, and then sharing personal items about their life. Isobel may be Lily’s best friend, but there’s parts of Lily that she doesn’t share with anyone, that is, until her mystery pen pal comes along. Both Lily and “he” are able to say in writing to a complete stranger, more than they’ve ever been able to share with anyone else. 
 
West tries to trick us by throwing in three different guys who could be Lily’s mystery pen pal, but the moment “he” was introduced I knew immediately it was him. I became angry because I was loving P.S. I Like You so much and I felt like West had let me down by making it incredibly too obvious.
 
So how did I end up giving this book 4 stars? Because the story became even juicer once “he” was revealed! When Lily finds out whom her letters have been going to, she freaks out. She’s afraid that once this individual realizes its her, he will be disappointed. For someone who wears whatever she wants and says whatever she wants, Lily has low self-confidence in herself and how the world perceives her.

This story was cute. Not the best West book in my opinion but maybe the best character building in terms of Lily? Not sure. I think West needs to write many more books so I can get a larger sample to compare. 😉

four-stars

That Summer by Sarah Dessen

That Summer by Sarah DessenThat Summer by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on April 6th 2006
Pages: 208
Goodreads
one-star

For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She's nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister—the always perfect Ashley—is planning a wedding of her own. Haven wishes things could just go back to the way they were. Then an old boyfriend of Ashley's reenters the picture, and through him, Haven sees the past for what it really was, and comes to grips with the future.

With such a low rating you’re probably wondering why I didn’t DNF this book. Well, because of my own damn stubbornness, that’s why. Being my first “Sarah Dessen” book, I was determined to read it through. Dessen books seem to be very popular and well-known so I thought That Summer would be a sure thing. As they say: there’s no such thing as a sure thing.

Contemporaries are my least favorite YA genre type. I find that I quickly lose interest unless one of two things occur; epic romance and/or fantastic characters. I get the sense that That Summer is geared towards Middle Grade readers, which excuses this book from having no romance(s) to root for.

So then there’s the characters. What can I say about the characters? Well…. SNOOZE. I couldn’t connect or relate to a single one. That Summer follows Haven, a 15 year old girl who’s trying to stay the same while the rest of her world changes. She’s hitting puberty at a fast rate and she’s having trouble accepting it. This sounds like an interesting, albeit, usual coming-of-age story, unfortunately, the characters (including Haven), are lackluster, making the story even more sluggish and agonizing.

My own stubbornness saw me through to the end of That Summer. I really wanted to quit this book about 40 pages in. The only reason I gave this book one star is because the last 20 pages of That Summer was actually pretty good. The story finally went into hyper-drive and the climax supernova’d. I think if the characters had been quirkier and that more significant moments had occurred, I would have liked That Summer a whole lot more.

one-star

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Sweethearts by Sara ZarrSweethearts by Sara Zarr
Published by Little on February 1st 2008
Pages: 217
Goodreads
four-stars

As children, Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick were both social outcasts. They were also one another's only friend. So when Cameron disappears without warning, Jennifer thinks she's lost the only person who will ever understand her. Now in high school, Jennifer has been transformed. Known as Jenna, she's popular, happy, and dating, everything "Jennifer" couldn't be -- but she still can't shake the memory of her long-lost friend.

When Cameron suddenly reappears, they are both confronted with memories of their shared past and the drastically different paths their lives have taken.

From National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr, Sweethearts is a story about the power of memory, the bond of friendship, and the quiet resilience of our childhood hearts.

My feelings for Sweethearts are muddled. I simultaneously think this book lacked “something” and yet, was satisfying. Confusing? Very!

To start-off, this book is pretty short. My NOOK was showing me about 210 pages, but Sweethearts ended up only being about 150 pages. This book felt more like a short story vs. a full length novel.

Sweethearts is an emotional book that tackles tough issues, mainly; bullying and child abuse. Zarr did a great job of presenting these subjects with care and knowledge. On a personal level, I could really relate with some of the characters. Their tribulations and thoughts, really struck a cord with me. Zarr’s writing is simple, yet powerfully emotional, because of this I became captivated with the story.

As I write this review I’m stuck thinking that this book was too short, yet, still, perfectly numbered. On one-hand the story and messages come through with so little of pages. On the other-hand, I feel sad that things didn’t play-out as I secretly wanted. Basically, because this review isn’t confusing enough, I thought that this story was enough yet not enough.

Either way, if you like emotional stories, with good messages, that end bittersweet, you’ll enjoy Sweethearts.

Have you ever read a book that left you with confusing, conflicting thoughts?

four-stars
Always forever maybe book cover

Epic Fail by

Epic Fail byEpic Fail by Claire LaZebnik
Published by HarperTeen on August 2nd 2011
Pages: 309
Goodreads
three-stars

Will Elise’s love life be an epic win or an epic fail?

At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:

As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school—not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.

As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn’t exactly on everyone’s must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.

When Elise’s beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince’s best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long.

In the beginning I was a little weary. As a huge fan of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice I figured that this book could either be totally suckish or totally awesome. I’m glad to say it was the latter of the two. Epic Fail was a cute book. The first couple pages sucked me in with their charismatic characters and charming dialogue. Claire LaZebnik has a fantastic writing style. All of the characters are described and portrayed perfectly. The style isn’t as heavily detailed as the original Pride and Prejudice, but nonetheless it’s enjoyable. I’d call Epic Fail the perfect beach book, or even a sitting-in-the-gazebo read, with a glass of ice tea by your side, you’re all set for an enjoyable couple hours.

Now here’s the part where I talk about why this book got 3 vs. 5 stars from me. Everything I’ve said so far makes it sounds like the perfect read, you’ve got great characters, witty dialogue, and a fast-paced plot that keeps you interested. However, what this story lacked was “surprise”. I get that it’s a modern-take on Pride and Prejudice with familiar plots and elements, but from the beginning I basically knew which character to suspect and how the finale would play out. Some say there are few similarities between Pride and Prejudice and Epic Fail, however I’d say there is big honky and blatant ones. Basically Epic Fail IS Pride and Prejudice except the story and characters have jumped from the 19th to the 21st century. Elizabeth Bennet Elise Benton comes from a family containing a wacky mom, a no-nonsense dad, and three sisters. One sister, the oldest is reserved and two others are younger than Elise, one of them being easily influenced and slightly out of control. Out of all her family members, Elise is not easily swayed, with her witty-comebacks and stubborn nature she’s basically Elizabeth Bennet reincarnated. Then you have Mr. Darcy Derek Edwards, the standoffish, angst-y, and doubly-stubborn son of a famous actress-mother. Basically all the original characters from Pride and Prejudice are here playing their usual and recognizable roles.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Epic Fail. I really did. All through the book I was hooked, the characters were appealing and likable and the plot was fun and interesting. However, about 3/4 through the book I realized what I had originally feared was coming to fruition. The good guys in P&P triumphed in the same way and the bad guy likewise, lost. I realize that re-tellings are big these days, old stories, fairy-tales, etc. however I think they should be achieved in a certain way. I feel like if you’re going to put a new-spin on a well-known and well-loved tale you should really add some new aspects to it. I know there’s the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but who wants to spend time and money reading something that you basically already read and possibly own. Overall, I do recommend Epic Fail. Even though it left me slightly disappointed it was a fun read nonetheless.

three-stars