Friday, August 19, 2016

Review: The Geography of You and Me - Jennifer E. Smith

The Geography of You and Me
Jennifer E. Smith
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Poppy
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Disclaimer before I talk about this book: I love Jen E. Smith. I think the other books of hers I've read are wonderful and some of my favorites!! However, I think this one just missed the mark.

I picked this up when I was looking for things to bring back for my sister from the library (because my mom thinks she doesn't read enough) and when I read the premise I actually thought it sounded kinda like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (which I loved) which seemed a little suspicious, but they're pretty different stories other than the whole ~interesting meet-cute and parting of ways~ thing.

Anyway, I was totally expecting to love this book but I just couldn't seem to enjoy it. The story focuses on Lucy and Owen -- two teens who live in the same NYC apartment building but have never met and get stuck in the elevator together during a citywide blackout. Even though they bond through the night, they're pulled apart when Lucy moves to Edinburgh and Owen travels across the country with his dad.

The book's biggest positive was the writing itself. Jennifer E. Smith is definitely skilled and even if I had issues with the story, I can't deny that she wrote beautifully. One of my favorite parts is when she describes the way Owen feels about his life by comparing him to a fish that has "the capacity to grow in unimaginable ways if only the tank were big enough." She uses the phrase "he'd always felt himself bumping up against the edges of his own life" which I really liked and feel like a lot of people can relate to. There were a few other gems and notable snippets and I think they really significantly added to the reading experience. If this story was told by an author with less flair for language, I'm sure it'd have a much lower rating.

Even though I appreciated JES's writing, I wasn't that into the story. I'm always here for cutesy cheesy love stories with no other plot than the Happily Ever After but I really feel like nothing happened in this book. It was all fluff. And I am not anti-fluff!! I love fluff!!! But sometimes fluff just doesn't work, especially when it is trying so hard to not be fluff. I think fluff should own up to it and accept itself for what it is. Anyway, I just kept waiting for plot progression but it was so minimal.

Also, I thought Lucy was a kinda boring main character. She had no friends in New York and the ones in Edinburgh I wasn't that invested in, no stand-out personality traits, and even when I felt a little bad for her because I thought her parents left her behind on their vacations for funsies, I stopped feeling bad when I realized she had never actually bothered talking to them about wanting to go. Owen was a little bit better. His problems were a little less frivolous but he could be irksome too. I liked him as a whole though, although one thing that still bothers me about his character is that, when his dad and him decide to take off on a cross-country road trip in the beginning of the school year, he's like ~oh yeah I have enough credits to graduate it's chill~ but if he had enough credits at that point before his first semester was over he should have had them at the end of his junior year and should have already applied to schools!!!!!!!! I know it's nitpicking but it's always gonna bother me.

Anyway, the whole idea of the story is cute and I love the fact that they send each other postcards and that there's a turtle named Bartleby and that Owen likes stars but overall I was underwhelmed and got bored pretty quickly and anxious to finish. It was a quick read so it didn't take up too much of my time or anything but it's been a few weeks and I've already forgotten half of the details so that about sums it up.

- Noor

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  1. Oh dang, sad you didn’t like this one! It does sound cutesy, and while I did enjoy TSPOLAFS, sometimes I think Jen E. Smith’s books just sound a little TOO perfect and fluffy. Which isn’t a bad thing, ‘cause we definitely do need that from time to time! Hopefully her next book will be better? Great review :D

    1. I know what you mean! I love cute, fluffy books but if they aren't done right they can feel a little weird. Also, I loved JES's most recent book so I think it was just this one book that I wasn't feeling

  2. Oh no! I loved this book. I remember rooting for these two, and hoping things got better in each of their respective lives. Alas, it's ok to disagree, and I thought your opinion was spelled out well.

    1. I /did/ want their lives to improve or for them to come back together but I just kept feeling like my heart wasn't in it. Still one of my fave authors though!