The Geography of You and Me—Jennifer E. Smith
When there was nothing but space between you, everything felt like a leap. (317)This is the second Jennifer E. Smith book that I've read; the first being The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight—for which they are currently in pre-production for the film if IMDB is to be believed, which it usually is. I got both books at the Scholastic Warehouse Sale, which I have celebrated before and will continue to do.
I've also seen the cover of This is What Happy Looks Like, another Jennifer E. Smith book, and I really appreciate the design similarities amongst them. See below:
Don't they look so pretty and thematic? But then again, I'm a nerd who notices quality of paper and other such nonsense, so...
Anyway, I liked this one, but not as much as I remember liking The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. I find them both sugary sweet and lovely, but it was more charming with the first of her books that I read; now the novelty of it was starting to wear off. Perhaps it was because the first was so clearly about love at first sight—notice the title—whereas I thought this one might portray more realistic, everyday relationships. (It did not.) I also remember liking the male love interest, Oliver, more in the former.
In The Geography of You and Me, Lucy and Owen meet while stuck in an elevator in New York City during an eastern seaboard-wide blackout. She'd noticed him when he moved in, but had always thought him somewhat standoffish. He was dealing with the recent death of his mother and moving from his childhood home in Pennsylvania. Through the blackout, they start talking and bonding. Once they are rescued from the elevator, they spend the rest of their time exploring NYC with no electric lights (an incredibly rare occurrence) and watching the stars from the roof of the building. But once the lights come back on, things get a little awkward. Lucy wants to approach Owen and spend more time with him; he feels the same. But instead, they both do nothing. Until Lucy finds out that her family is moving overseas when her dad gets a new job, and Owen finds out he and his dad are leaving the apartment building and wandering the states because his dad can't find a job. Several other moves follow, for both of them, and eventually [SPOILER ALERT] they end up meeting back in New York, where they first bonded. The bedrock of their entire relationship is not even twenty-four hours spent together.
The sharing of postcards was cute and quirky. It seems like no one sends mail anymore, let alone postcards. The structure and breakdown of the book was good, with the four different sections. There was also a bit towards the end where Lucy and Owen are missing each other more and their lives are basically paralleling each other, and this was reflected in the writing, which I enjoyed. But I just didn't find their relationship all that compelling. It wasn't meant to seem that they'd experienced love at first sight, because they'd seen each other around the building a bunch before they ended up even introducing themselves. But instead of building a solid relationship, and then sending them on their separate ways to struggle with a long-distance thing, they had a couple of hours of connection.
It was enjoyable, if a bit saccharine, and I zoomed through it. Worth reading, at least.