SUMMARY -Flying to London may be most girls' dream, but not Hadley's. Not when she's flying out to be a bridesmaid in her own father's wedding. Even worse - she misses her flight by four minutes - ensuring she'll most likely be late. What she doesn't expect: she's helped by a boy named Oliver - and seated next to him as well. Because of this, the next 24 hours will change her very reason for existing.
MY THOUGHTS -
This is one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life.
I rarely speak those words, and when I do, I really really for reals mean it. It usually means I bawled like a baby (as in this case) and it sometimes means my perspective was changed, altered, for the better (this is also the case). It is extremely difficult to write a review for a book as brilliant as this. I'm feeling quite inadequate, like I don't really know how to put into words my expressly positive feelings for this story.
Jennifer E. Smith is a new author to me, but I assure you: I have plans to purchase every single book she's ever written or will write. These plans will, I assure you upon my life, come to pass. Smith's writing is like - GAH! The prose in this book is unbelievably GORGEOUS. I was completely swept away. STUNNING.
CHARACTER NOTES -Hadley. HADLEY. She's way cool. Despite the goings on of her life, she's just completely awesome. I adore her to pieces. I was quite disappointed when I realized I can't actually be her best friend in real life. I love her that much. Her growth, the emotion she felt, how she handled every event, how her emotions developed throughout the story - I was completely enthralled, under the spell of her gorgeous third person POV narration.
And her name? Definitely going on my top five favorite girl names list.
Then there's the matter of Oliver. He's so much fun...like, beyond reason - and totally realistic at the same time. He has his own secrets and sorrows that are a part of him, but do not make him who he is. The slow, yet quick, progression of his relationship with Hadley made me bubble over with joy. I really really really need to marry a guy who will draw ducks on napkins for me. Oliver took my breath away more times that I can count. No really - my breath caught more than a few times!
Hadley's father Andrew amazed me with his complexity. I hated and loved him at the same time. He left Hadley and her mom for a British woman...and yet I love who he is. He and Charlotte really added something beautiful to Hadley's journey. I loved every moment.
I also love how Oliver is so much like Andrew. I don't know if that was intentional, but it sure was natural. They are both such free spirits, with great imaginations that veer toward the silly side. Such a neat dynamic!
STORY NOTES -You'd think that not much can happen in 24 hours, but Mrs. Smith assures you, it can. A LOT can happen in 24 hours. A lot of beautiful things.
I love how natural it is. The story progresses realistically. The relationship between Hadley and Oliver is never cheesy, but is, instead, completely realistic. It is NOT insta-love. It is, rather, like the old lady on the plane says, that a few hours with someone you love can feel like a blessed few years. This illustration, executed so perfectly, is beautiful.
I love that nothing is perfect. There are perfect moments, but these moments are made perfect by their imperfections. Toilet paper on a little boy's shoe, Hadley's feet being stomped on during a father-daughter dance, tears at the sight of someone you love.
The situation with Hadley's dad is hard. I was hoping Hadley wouldn't be made to seem like the bad guy for being bitter - her father left them. So I was stunned into happiness when both Hadley and her father confess. Such a beautiful scene. Right about where I started crying, actually. And I didn't stop until long after the book had come to a close.
Normally, I don't do short books, because I usually feel jipped by the length. SO not the case here. This book has everything - everything good, that is. And nothing bad. The end is completely satisfying, so beautiful and breathtaking and consistent, tying off all loose ends and boosting even more tears.
It's true - I'm in love with this book.
SUMMING IT UP -........................ It's one of those. The ones you can't summarize or phrase or recommend enough. You have to do the reading now, the experiencing and the living. Please, everyone - BUY THIS BOOK!! (And my sister, who read this book in almost one sitting, interjects that SHE gets Oliver. HA! AS IF!)
For the Parents -
Two, maybe three, minor swear words. A couple of kisses - no details. Talk of an affair. In reality, nothing to be worried about. Recommended 12+