Cute if contrived – The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Uncategorized

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When the lights go out on New York City strangers Owen and Lucy find themselves trapped in a lift. They end up experiencing the magic of the night together, but are torn apart just a week later to a journeys through America and Europe that take them ever further away from each other. Can a few postcards conquer the miles that divide them?

This was a fun, harmless teen romance. I sped through it easily and enjoyed it. There’s not much depth or complexity to it but the characters are charming, the exploration of different places interesting and plot fun.

The best bit of the book was definitely the beginning, with Owen and Lucy meeting in the lift and exploring the city of New York without electricity. It’s a brilliant setting that is wonderful to imagine, and an inventive place to fall in love. Or fall in serious like, anyway.

The subsequent exploration of different places was fun: though some Edinburgh and London references jarred as not particularly true.

Both teenage characters are compelling: they’re both outsiders with few friends which is pretty cliched but they’re interesting enough. Their romance wasn’t overplayed which made it feel quite genuine – but I would have liked some more interaction with other people their own age. It sets them up as two lonely teens, like John Green’s The Fault in our Stars but not as extreme.

Sadly after the intro scene and as the Owen and Lucy get further and further apart the plot begins to feel more and more formulaic. As a device the postcards and emails are nice, and they manage to meet up again a couple of times but it feels formulaic. Nevertheless I think it did move me at the end.

A nice element was the relationships between the main characters and their parents, both of which evolved and improved during the course of the book. Perhaps a little too implausibly: it didn’t feel particularly teenage, but then teenagers don’t want to sound teenage so I suppose it works.

This is a fun and cute book that I’ll definitely be passing on to my 15 year old sister.

Thanks Bookbridgr and Headline for the review copy.

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