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

a review by Nalini Haynes

First up I have to confess: the word ‘statistical’ in the title does not automatically make a novel SF or fantasy. Having said that – The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight begins with Hadley missing the plane to her father’s wedding, resulting in Hadley and Oliver meeting at the airport and flying over together. Hadley’s father moved to Oxford temporarily without his family for a promotion, the idea being that they would join him later. In the four months between his departure and expected return, he fell in love with another woman. Instead of returning, he told his wife they were getting a divorce. Hadley is furious and hurt, but takes it out on her mother as the only available parent.

There are three romances here, Hadley and Oliver’s, and the romances of both of Hadley’s parents with other people. The parental romances began before the time of the novel, but unfold during the story. Most of Statistical is quite realistic in the character development and behaviour, including the teenage self-centredness that results in Hadley abusing her mother without cause. I found this to be quite… refreshing? Healing? A reminder that teenage angst and arrogance is so fundamental that it has here been unashamedly written into a novel aimed at teens was a balm to my (parental) heart.

While I thought the conclusion was a bit too neat and fast, I enjoyed The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight as a light romantic read with a good dash of realism for flavour.

Originally published in Dark Matter issue 5, September 2011.  This post has been pre-dated to reflect the original publication date.