When Hadley misses her flight from her Connecticut hometown to London, she’s convinced it’s the dismal cherry on top of a dismal sundae of circumstances. She never wanted to be in an airport after a fight with her mom; she didn’t want to be getting on a claustrophobia-aggravating, stale-aired airplane; and she definitely didn’t want to be heading to her father’s wedding with a woman she’s never met, the last nail in the coffin of her parents’ divorce and the end of her family as she loved it. But when she meets Oliver, the charming British boy who will be joining her on the next plane, she begins to believe that fate works in mysterious ways. In the long, nighttime flight that follows, Hadley and Oliver enter a space outside of time and reality, and connect in a way that they couldn’t have under any other circumstances. But when they come back down to earth and the spell is broken, and they part ways to face their separate demons, their future together– or lack thereof– is again put into the hands of fate.
This is a good, good book. You know how sometimes you read the first page of a book and just sort of smile and settle deeper into your chair, because you can already tell it’s going to be good? I had that with this. I find it hard in some ways to explain what I loved about it. The plot was simple enough– although it did have the bonus of feeling unpredictable in an organic way: it’s not that it was full of dramatic twists, but rather than being formulaic and contrived, it moved in the curvy path of real life. The characters were realistic, multifaceted, and loveable, and their motivations and subsequent actions had the same organic quality that the plot did. But really, the magic is in the details of the writing. The descriptions, the sentence flow, the pacing. It had that polish, that sparkle.
The book is written in third-person present tense, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, ever. It was a little startling, and there were a few slip-ups with it here and there, but I’d say it was successful overall.
Oh, and by the way, I love the title– and how gorgeous is the cover?! Perfection. That typography is fabulous. Oh, I love it.
Jennifer E. Smith has clearly done her homework, and I’m eager to read more of her work. This book is just a big cup of cocoa with marshmallows. It was sweet and meaningful, and just fun. I really enjoyed discovering each twist and turn, and gathering the kernels of wisdom it offered.
Whoops! I almost forgot the Special Awards!
Squeaky Squee. Oliver is marriable. And they make a perfect pair. Their witty banter was spot-on.