Thursday, October 23, 2014

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

The Geography of You and Me
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. 

(Summary from GoodReads)



After loving The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight but being disappointed in This Is What Happy Looks Like, I considered The Geography of You and Me to be Jennifer E. Smith’s last chance. Would I read her books again or not?  Smith’s latest was a cute but still slightly flawed reading, making her an author whose books I’ll only be getting from the library from now on.



Although Smith doesn’t always characterize place accurately, her descriptions of it are vivid, and make the reader feel like he or she is there, which is definitely the case in The Geography of You and Me.  I really got to know what places were important to Lucy and Owen, and I loved how much I learned about Owen in this process.  As much as I wanted to adore and root for Lucy, I felt like her character wasn’t fleshed out enough.  She struck me as an incredibly ordinary person without a lot of interests.

Smith’s prose manages to shine through in this novel.  I always turn to her when I look for prose that has a nice balance of loveliness, romance, and heartache.  She manages to make very sweet observations about romance.

I guess what I really noticed as I read this book is that Smith’s novels are starting to feel formulaic.  Boy meets girl, boy and girl are separated for whatever reason, and then by chance end up back together.  I may be oversimplifying, but I feel like she’s putting out the same story over and over again. It’s nice to know what to expect from her, but in some ways I’d almost be more interested in her future work if she did something a little different.

Disclosure: I received a digital galley of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3 comments:

  1. I have never read any books by this author, but I have always heard good things....

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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  2. Sorry to hear this wasn't a 100% winner for you as it's my favorite of Smith's books so far. I agree that Lucy felt very ordinary. But I kind of liked that about her. With so many books with characters trying so hard to prove they are special, it was sort of refreshing knowing that Lucy is just a regular girl and she still got to be the star of her own story.

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  3. I remember thinking that Smith's books are a bit formulaic too, but after thinking about it for a while I remember being okay with that. I think it annoyed me to begin with because I loved Statistical Probability so much and HOW DARE ANYTHING ELSE be as great as that one!? or something like that. But I think I enjoy having one two authors in my back pocket that I can turn to because I know what I'm getting when I pick up their books. Does that make sense? Not sure it does. But I remember having the same feelings about the same, same, same. Her covers are excellent, though! So pretty.

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