The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Publishing Date: April 15
Genre: young adult, romance
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.
Two strangers’ lives change forever after getting stuck in an elevator in sweltering New York City summer heat in the middle of a black-out. Lucy, the youngest in her traveling, absent family, and Owen, new to the apartment building and grieving with his father the sudden death of his mother, end up spending the rest of the powerless day and night together, learning everything and nothing about one another. But when power is restored, their lives immediately change: Lucy’s family moves to Edinburgh and London, and Owen travels across the country with his father in search of employment and college options. As months pass and the distance between them widens, Lucy and Owen soon find that “home” doesn’t always mean a specific place: it can be a person.
Smith has a unique way of creating love stories out of travels and chance encounters. I loved The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and was thrilled to receive this. It certainly makes you wonder what sort of lasting imprint you’ve left on a complete stranger, with a look or comment or action. Imagine an extreme situation where you and that stranger were forced to be together for an extended time — how would this happenstance grow into friendship? Would you keep in touch, and how?
Lucy and Owen have a bit of an inside joke with postcards, sending them to one another throughout the novel. It began as a snarky comment, that people only send postcards out of politeness, and say “Wish you were here” when really the sender is probably functioning just fine without the sendee. But for these two, a postcard with a few lines means so much more. The wish is genuine. The thought and effort speaks volumes. It’s amazing how, having only been in the other’s presence for roughly four times in the novel, the love can seem so real despite the minimal communication and the vast distance. They see the other in everything, there’s a constant desire to turn to the other and share the excitement or sadness over an event, followed by a disappointment over the constant fact the other is not there. You’d think this desire would be exaggerated passion, “insta-love,” or some other hokey term — but it’s not. It’s like a crush you didn’t realize you had till you found yourself disappointed at the reality of a situation, and then begin to hope once more when a small hint is tossed your way.
It was wonderful to read Lucy’s adventures in Europe, to watch her build a relationship with her parents for the first time; to root for Owen and his father (and their stow-away turtle) on their trek across the country for employment, to witness them slowly emerge from their grief. The ways in which Lucy and Owen’s lives intersect are remarkable, further solidifying such a beautiful basis for a relationship.
Definitely a read for fans of Smith’s previous work, as well as Gayle Forman’s Just One Day and Just One Year. Enjoyable and touching.
Thank you, Edelweiss, for providing this book from Poppy for review!
One thought on “Book Review: “The Geography of You and Me” by Jennifer E. Smith (ARC)”
This sounds wonderful, and even though I wasn’t a huge fan of TSPoLaFS, I’m still really keen to read this. And you’re right, the Euro travels do sound a bit like Just One Day!