Friday, May 9, 2014

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.
I absolutely love this author! I really cannot recommend her enough to teens. She’s sort of like this hybrid mixture of Sarah Dessen, Maureen Johnson, and Stephanie Perkins all rolled into one. She writes about how love works. And more than that she writes these stories that all teens, no scratch that, all people dream about happening. It’s like each book is your biggest daydream come to life.
Who doesn’t want to meet their soul mate in an elevator when the power goes out? Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an extreme, but I swear I’ve had that daydream. I might have even written a short story about it when I was in high school.  But it’s more than Smith getting what we dream about. It’s making the dream seem so real, so possible.
I like that her characters are never simple. Owen is recovering from the death of his mother. And he’s helping his father overcome his grief as well. And Lucy has always been a bit of an introverted loner, who now is literally all alone. Her parents are always traveling in a different country and her brothers left for college.
The setting was kind of magical. Reading about NYC loosing power was kind of like reading a fantasy novel. Seriously, it just seems so unreal. No cell phones, computers, air conditioning, fans, or even refrigerators. Reading about all the sweaty characters going up the stairs to their 24th floor apartments was rather painful. But the characters being able to really see the stars made up for it.
And then the book becomes a bit of a traveling book. Owen travels cross-country with his depressed father, searching for employment for him. And Lucy finally gets to go to Europe (Edinburgh, and then London where her father takes new jobs). Each teen gets to finally have what they always wanted: to travel. And in the process of growing up and learning about love and how they feel for each other, each character also learns a little bit more each day about what makes a place home.
I loved how their inside joke of postcards became their major source of communication –and how this was so much easier than email for them. I also loved that nothing was really defined for them. They weren’t in a relationship so they both felt mostly okay about meeting/dating other people. And I super loved that they both came to the conclusion that they knew they were not in love with these other people because what they felt for each other was so different, and so much stronger. I feel like there comes a point when everyone feels this way. When you know what love feels like, why settle for anything else?
It was interesting to read about two teens both being so okay about switching schools and moving elsewhere all the time. But, I guess it made sense with who they were. I just love the idea of one moment, one meeting, changing everything for two people. Also, it’s so nice to read about their love barely being physical at all. It was more about the conversations, and the dreams than anything else.
Seriously, this was a magical book. And I cannot wait to see what else this author has to say. I give it a 10/10.

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