Wednesday, June 25, 2014

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

The Geography of You and Me

Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Release: April 15th 2014
Genre: Contemporary, YA


Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.


Long distance love is something that hits very close to home for me, because it's something I've had to worry about, and now live with, for a lot of my (love) life, and while I have my own ways of dealing with it, I was really in the mood to read a story about it, and this novel has been on my wishlist for a while now, which is why I've decided to go ahead and read it now.

What I possibly liked best about this book was that both Lucy and Owen tried to go on with their lives as normal, they actually get out and meet new people, fall in love with new places and new faces, try to make the best out of it and actually do end up liking their new homes, but there is just one vital piece missing in this relationship, and that's the chemistry, the sparks, the slow burn. They meet in the elevator, spend one day and one night together, and that is it. They don't talk for like a week at all afterwards, and then only for one more week until Owen already moves away. In that week, they share exactly one kiss and I do not believe there has been any time at all for them to truly build that strong of a connection that lasts for months. This kind of destroyed the whole story to be honest, because it was simply unrealistic for two teenagers who spent exactly one week (and to give them one week at all is very generous) together to pine and yearn for each other over the course of a long time. It just doesn't happen. For me, I'd been in love with the dude for two years already before he moved away, and spent a considerable amount of time with him; and I can say, with good conscience, that I know him. I know his favorite animal, what kind of music he listens to, what his opinion on politics is, etc. — I have a good sense of what type of person he is. Lucy and Owen did not know the first thing about each other, which honestly killed the romance for me a little.

That said, like I mentioned I still appreciated the moving on part, the moving and discovering new things to like about new cities part, and the reunion part — that yes, it can be totally awkward to see each other again for the first time in weeks, possibly even months, and that arguments are held even over the distance, only they're much more painful if you fought with the one you love when you last saw each other even though you only have so many finite moments together. It was all portrayed nicely, and I personally thought Smith captured the whole craving the other person over miles and miles essence nicely; the only thing I would have liked better is if the relationship had been a lot longer. What I mean by that is, I would have preferred to see these characters into adulthood and how their attraction and their relationship would have panned out in the years to come, since this was only over nine months, which really isn't a long time at all, especially when it comes to love. 

All in all, it was a nice enough read, although at times it could really drag because you don't have any clue where the book is headed next, and if you're like me and you just hate to be kept guessing, kept hanging like that without any goal to set your sights on, then it can be extremely aggravating and frustrating to read. 

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