Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Headline (9 Oct 2014)
Owen and Lucy are stuck in a life. As they await help, they start talking...
Though brief, the time they spend together leaves a mark. And as their lives take them to Edinburgh and San Francisco, to Prague and to Portland they can't shake the memory of the time they shared. Postcards cross the globe when they themselves can't, as Owen and Lucy experience the joy - and pain - of first love.
As each makes their separate journey in search of home, they will discover that sometimes it is a person rather than a place that anchors you most in the world.
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Thank you firstly to Bookbridgr and Headline for this book for review.
Though I own both of Smith’s books, The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight (phew, a mouthful right?) as well as This Is What Happy Looks Like (the review for which can be found here), I’ve only read one book of hers and when I heard about this book - I was quick to get my fat fingers going to request this.
As usual, one of my favourite things about her books, are the titles and the cover art. I’m such a sucker for these things, the mix of cartoon-esqueue artwork, the fun typography of the title, the shadow work, not quite revealing the people (or at least in the US one they’re not). Just a very fun, quirkily title and cover design which I love on all 3 books so far.
As for the actual book, having previously already encountered a book by Smith, I was familiar with her very easy going, witty and breezy writing style. For me personally, contemporary novels are best written and read in such a way, for it makes the flow of reading so much easier and allows for you to really immerse in the (often cute) story and focus on the characters. Not to say that a different, more complicated style isn’t as beautiful to read, because really it is, but coming back to zee point, I had an easy time getting through the 350 or so pages quickly.
I was very fond of the premise, 2 strangers from opposite ends of a building and life itself, suddenly meet during a blackout, and feel a small spark that we follow throughout the book. True at some stages people may view the story and relationship somewhat idealistic and fairy-tale like or unrealistic, and though that may be true of the happenings in the book, I think Smith meant to compose it in such a way, just an easy, feel good story.
The characters Lucy and Owen find their way to each other on a dark night, yet thoughts of each other remain lighting up their hearts (cheesy line alert) even as they travel across different continents to each other. Through means of the good old post-cards communication, which by the way, I LOVED, both Lucy and Owen maintain this however tenuous relation they have. While fixing their relationships with their parents on one end, these 2 love struck teens do what they can to keep a long distance relationship. I thought it was fitting the way Smith brought to life the hardships real long distance couples face, and the change in perceptions when there’s thousands of miles between you. But I feel like it also hones in on the honesty and passion of love when people are able to work it out despite these physical and emotional barriers. There was enough depth to both characters, with differing backstories that were a nice contrast to each other. A common link between the worlds of both characters was the need for communication - talk it out, work it out.
I know a lot of people adore Smith’s books, and I can see why, however personally for me, it just doesn’t hit the same note, such as contemporaries like John Green (predictable, but you cannot deny his skill). It’s down to personal preference and though Smith’s writing, characters, execution of the book were nice and well done - it was just that and nothing more - nice. A nice book. Nothing particularly about the writing or characters really hit me in the gut, but I’m glad I read the book and when Smith has another book out, I’ll be sure to grab it with both fat hands.