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The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith 2.5 starsAfter all, it’s one thing to run away when someone’s chasing you. It’s entirely another to be running all alone. As something of a sceptic (well, okay, a romantic trapped in the body of a realist masquerading as a cynic), the title alone was enough to tell me that this book would be fighting an uphill battle with me. While I like the quirk factor of the phrase ”The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight”, I’ll admit that there’s a part of me that reads that line and scoffs. Zero. There is zero probability. I don’t believe in love at first sight. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Initial derision over with, my immediate thoughts were: ”Why doesn’t this happen to me? I always get stuck next to the snorer, or the person who never requests a window seat yet always wants to lean over me and breathe in my personal space. A pox on you, fiction, for perpetuating the rumour that love blossoms on planes!”In a word, this book is cute. In a few more, it’s fluffy, sweet, vanilla – not unlike eating an entire bag of marshmallows. Fun at the time, but not really my favourite thing to do. I’m actually not really a fan of marshmallows. Not even toasted.The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight revolves around the serendipitous meeting of teenagers Oliver and Hadley at JFK, waiting for the red-eye to London. Cue meet-cute, witty banter and gentle flirting in aisle 18. What unfolds from here is a series of flashbacks, realisations, confessions and meetings, tied up with a hopeful, open ending befitting a feel-good romantic-comedy. It’s not cheesy enough for the full Hollywood treatment, but neither is it indie and off-beat enough for an alternative soundtrack and hipster wardrobe. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book in third person present, but after the initial adjustment, I feel that it suited the story. It lends a vaguely documentary style vibe to the narration - the reader is a spectator, not a participant – using the distance to intensify the “will-they-won’t-they” question. The writing is clear and articulate, while not super emotive. The characters themselves left me a little cold, with the possible exception of Oliver. (And I’m not just saying that, promise.) I didn’t harbour strong feelings of dislike towards Hadley, but neither did I have any real concern with her problems. Her characterisation as a teenager holding onto anger and grief over her parent’s divorce felt accurate, but I can’t say this book evoked much sympathy for her in me. Also, the "love makes everything okay" wrap up to some of the story lines didn't gel with me. Being "in love" doesn't justify crappy behaviour so, Hadley's acceptance of the whole situation with her Dad felt a little too tidy for me.Honestly, towards the end I found the family flashbacks a little distracting and frankly, kind of dull. I realise that the purpose was to flesh out Hadley’s story, to illustrate what exactly she had to make peace with, but they felt like lulls in the pacing, weighing the story down as it meandered to the end.It’s not a bad book at all. I liked Jennifer E Smith’s writing, and I did confess to having a closet romantic side, didn’t I? Every now and then I enjoy reading a blatantly cute, escapist book. And yes, maybe I like tall, British guys. But I don’t really feel there is much to get hyped-up over here. Even for fans of YA romance, I’m not sure that it’s all that compelling. This book won’t go on my “most memorable” shelf, to put it plainly. That said, if you enjoy light, teen-centric rom-com’s, this might be for you.