I’m not going to lie; the thing that drew me to this book, and the thing that drew me into purchasing this book, was definitely it’s gorgeous cover. It can be an album cover, really. The way it’s focused on the couple kissing and having the rest of the world just go by in a blur. It’s gorgeous.
And the book, itself, was just adorable! It’s a coming of age story at its finest. Hadley is flying out of the country for the first time to her father’s wedding. Hadley’s dad went to Oxford, England to teach a class for a few months, due to the persuading of Hadley and her mom. Yet, while in England, her dad falls in love with someone else.
Hadley meets Oliver at the airport when an old lady refuses to watch her bag for a moment. Oliver offers to help carry her bags to wherever she’s going. They quickly become friends. Oliver is also flying to England, for what Hadley assumes to also be a wedding. Without too much persuasion, the two end up sitting together on the long flight overseas. And that’s where we really get Hadley’s story. She tells Oliver about her dad. And in turn, Oliver tells her about his (a little bit).
The two have a somewhat dramatic, yet necessary goodbye at Customs in London. And while suffering through the wedding, Hadley hears that some guests of her father’s are going to a funeral in Paddington (where Oliver said he was going) before making it back to the reception. Hadley then realizes that Oliver wasn’t going home to a wedding, but instead most likely to his father’s funeral. And she goes on and adventure to Paddington to find him.
The book deals with the connections random strangers can make. It’s about healing and grief. And it’s about growing up and realizing that life isn’t fair. But, it’s also about realizing that life can be remarkable and that love is possible. There’s a lot about family, and how divorce affects everyone involved. And I loved how Hadley and Oliver were able to confide in each other and find each other when they were needed the most.
I felt like Hadley was so angry, yet so likeable. She was real. All of her frustrations toward her father just felt so authentically how any girl could feel about her dad. And while the gorgeous cover promises a romance, I love that the book was more about growing up and acceptance and family. And I loved the romance too and how it grew from a sort of frienship/comeraderie that while very short lived (lasting one plane ride) ended up being so powerful.
I really enjoyed reading this one. It did have a very predictable ending. And it did feel a bit like a teen romantic comedy movie that I may have seen in the past. Yet, it worked so well! I just wish I got to know Oliver more. And I also wish to be able to sit next to Oliver the next time I fly... I give it a 9/10. And I highly recommend this one to fans of Sarah Dessen!