Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith

The Basics:
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith
Published April 15, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

I'd been eyeing this one since it was released in April, thinking about picking up a copy. When the opportunity arose for review... I snatched it up!  It looked sweetly romantic.

Book Blurb:
Lucy lives on the twenty-fourth floor. Owen lives in the basement. It's fitting, then, that they meet in the middle -- stuck between two floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, Lucy and Owen spend the night wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is back, so is reality. Lucy soon moves abroad with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

The brief time they spend together leaves a mark. And as their lives take them to Edinburgh and to San Francisco, to Prague and to Portland, Lucy and Owen stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and phone calls. But can they -- despite the odds -- find a way to reunite?

Smartly observed and wonderfully romantic, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. Sometimes, it can be a person.

My thoughts:

This is a very light, easy to read young adult book that does exactly as the blurb suggests - it engages with the notion of place and love, family and home.

The Geography of You and Me made me really think about what it's like to know that you've found someone special, someone that you need to have in your life. Owen and Lucy are drawn to each other despite spending only one surreal night together. I can understand that feeling - my husband and I started dating in our last year of high school, and have been together for thirteen years now. I knew from the start that we would be together for a very long time - there was just something about the way that we connected that made it feel inevitable.

Anyways, my point here is that that sense of belonging with a person rather than a place, calling that 'home' is so... true.

Other thoughts? There's something delightfully romantic in the idea of sending postcards to mark passage through space and time. Who doesn't love receiving something in the mail? I love the way that these are used to link Owen and Lucy beyond their night in New York City.

Owen's position, his father hunting for work, made me wonder how many people are in that same position - how many teenagers are caught up in traveling with their parents, on the hunt for a more permanent job solution.

I think this book touches on some big issues, but stays focused on giving us a message about home being a flexible concept. It was a good choice, I think, as it resulted in this book being a delightful read instead of something quite heavy.

I also really liked that some of the chapters are very short, in contrast to other, longer chapters. They have a certain poignancy that is underlined by their brevity.

In the end, I don't have a lot to say here. I think that the book's message is perhaps something common but often less explicitly stated in romance novels. That doesn't make it any less welcome here.

Bottom line:

I liked this one - I had a hard time putting it down. It made me smile. I recommend it as a light YA read. I suspect it would work well, paired with a book that's a little heavier, as a book report selection for early high school English classes.

4 stars
For fans of YA, light reads

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