Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy (an imprint of Little, Brown)
Release Date: January 2, 2012
Number of Pages: 256
Source of Book: ARC from NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Convention
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. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that 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 in seat 18B. Hadley's in 18A.
Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.
*************************I don't know if I can adequately express how much I adored this book. I was super-excited to get an advanced copy (and in fact waited in a line for 45 minutes to pick just this one) as I had heard the title (and seriously, how cute is that title?) and read the summary and it sounded just like the kind of book I would want to read - and it was! I started it just to get a feel for the author's writing style, intending to just read the first few pages as I was in the middle of another book, and I ended up finishing the book that night - I couldn't convince myself to go to sleep (no matter how tired I was or how early I had to get up the next morning) until I read all the way through to the end of this endearing story.
This book is a "one day in the life of" kind of story. Hadley is on the way to London for her father's wedding to a woman Hadley has avoided and never met. Hadley is still not over her parents' divorce and is not accepting of this new woman. When she misses her flight by a mere four minutes, she knows she'll be stuck in the airport for awhile. Everything is going wrong for her that day, and then Oliver steps in to help her with her suitcase. It turns out Oliver is a student at Yale, but is also returning to his hometown of London for something to do with his parents as well. Hadley and Oliver seem to hit it off right away, but neither one is really sure exactly of the other person. There are moments in the airport, moments on the plane, and then a moment in the customs line in London. And then each has to get to where they're going, but neither can stop thinking of the other. And then, someone says something to Hadley, and as she's trying to process through this wedding that is happening that she doesn't like, she realizes something about why Oliver might be in London, and she tells her dad she has to leave to go take care of something and she heads out to find the guy from the plane.
This story is somewhat told in alternating viewpoints, but in third person, so it's a little different than what I'm used to reading, but I really enjoyed the writing style. It kept moving in large and small ways that made me keep turning pages to find out what would happen next and how it would all end. I was just drawn in to these characters and what they were dealing with in their lives. I felt for them and the difficulties they were going through, and their draw to each other. It's a love story, a romance, and a story of healing through the support of others. This story has a lot of heart.
Hadley is processing through her issues with her father and her parents' divorce, and meeting Oliver and what she goes through seems to give her a journey to the healing and acceptance that she needs. Oliver was a character whose humor and heart and personality I really enjoyed. Hadley was a realistic portrayal of someone who has been hurt and a teen who is rebelling in her own way. I think that's what I liked most about it - I really cared while I was on this journey with these characters - and I felt like I was there on the sidelines rooting them on and hoping they could end up finding each other again in London. And they felt real to me. This book reminded me of some other books and movies that have the same "one night in the life of" type of meeting situations, and it was just a comfort to read and an endearingly heart-warming story. Since it's coming out in January, it will be a great post-holidays, cold weather, curl up in front of a fire with a good book read. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!