Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. She’s stuck at JFK, late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s in seat 18C. Hadley’s in 18A.
Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.
This is not a love story.
Wait. What? What are you saying? But the description-
Trust me. I know what the description says; it’s what had me sold on the idea of the story to begin with. But trust me when I tell you this is a false advertising of sorts. If you’re looking for a cutesy romance full of kisses and flirting, this probably isn’t your best bet. Going by the description, you may think this story focuses on Hadley and Oliver. It does not. It focuses on Hadley, her father, and their broken relationship.
Yes, a chunk of the novel is spent with Oliver – but it’s not romantic. It’s merely human. And by that, I mean it’s just like catching glimpses of someone’s life. It reads as if you’re on the plane with both of them, maybe in the seat behind them, or maybe in the next row over, listening in. There’s nothing incredibly romantic about it in the way romance is displayed in YA novels – over the top, consuming, lustful and consisting of many make-out sessions. Instead it’s steady and subtle.
This probably would’ve been more of a bummer for me had I not already been warned prior to reading.
But I do like Hadley and her dad. They’re likeable. In the context of the story I expected them to be more drama-rific and annoying, but they’re actually pretty real in their actions and words. Oliver is as well, though I never quite warmed to the idea of he and Hadley as a couple; their attraction doesn’t seem to have lasting qualities, especially having known one another for only a mere 24 hours.
That being said, I still couldn’t help but enjoy the story. The third person point of view is refreshing and calming. Normally I prefer a story to be told in first person, but third person seems to really, really fit this novel; it adds time to what I think would be a too-short time period for a first person narrative.
If you don’t dive in expecting love, you’ll appreciate the familial growths.