Title: The Geography of You and Me
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
On the Shelves: Young Adult> Contemporary/ ARC-Netgalley copy
Publication Date: 10th April 2014
Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.
Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.
A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too (Goodreads 2014)
Firstly, I need to thank Jennifer E. Smith, Netgalley and the publishers, Headline for letting me read this book before it is published, in exchange for a review.
I first read Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight back in 2012. I gave it three stars. While it didn’t blow me away, it was enjoyable for what it was, except I didn’t form any attachments with the characters or really care what happened. The Geography of You and Me is a vast improvement from her first book. There has been another book in between these two but I’ve not actually read that one yet, so I can see a drastic change between the two novels in the way they have been written.
The Geography of You and Me follows two teenagers, Lucy and Owen, who get trapped in a lift in New York City during a heatwave one afternoon, and how they interact with each other from there, as they are separated across the globe by their own families and their circumstances. One thing I liked about this book is that both teens were quite mature in their behaviour when it came to being separated from each other. They didn’t throw strops and scream at their parents, they understood that there was a bigger picture and their meeting was a chance encounter, which was a nice change from the old “oh woe is me” personalities you so often see in YA contemporary reads. As they trek across the globe to their various destinations, they do form other bonds with other people. At first this irked me because I thought it was going to be a tedious love triangle, but no, it was just a realistic fact that after living in different cities for a period of time, it is likely they would find other people they fancied and would try to move on, since they had only met each other the once.
I can’t say I was overly attached to either Owen or Lucy, but I enjoyed reading this book, and had the hopeless romantic idea that they would, of course, wind up back together at the end, so I spent the book wanting and waiting for that to happen. That was the main difference for me, between this book and the Statistical Probability– I actually cared if they ended up together at the end. A lot of Smith’s books have been likened to the popular romantic comedies in films. I know the second book This is what Happy looks like has been compared to Sleepless in Seattle and/or You’ve Got Mail and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is often compared to Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist- so it’s no surprise that The Geography of You and Me follows the standard “romcom” formula. But sometimes it’s just nice to read something like that, in my opinion. I think I need to give This is what Happy looks like a try since I’ve read the other two books- plus it has to be said, I love the style of the covers!
I don’t tend to read a lot of Contemporary novels, but I did enjoy this and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys romantic comedies or contemporary reads.
The Geography of You and Me is published by Headline in the UK on the 10th April 2014.