I got more than that.
Title: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: April 15th 2014
Published by: Little, Brown for Young Readers
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
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.
What does Owen and Lucy really have? Whatever it was between them had started that day when Lucy chased after the elevator in her apartment. Owen was just the new building superintendent's son, Lucy was the daughter of a wealthy, jet-setter parents. They had nothing in common, but the half hour they spent trapped inside the elevator will set in motion the wheels of fate and set their paths to collide in ways they never expected it to.
I loved how Jennifer E. Smith gradually expanded and built both Owen and Lucy's characters, from that citywide blackout and that day's explorations, the tentative conversations, to wherever the current circumstances of their lives took them. I saw a boy grieving for a mother who recently passed away, lonely, lost and untethered, with a father who can barely manage to stay in one place himself. Owen's character appealed to me, at the start because of pity, but as I read on, the hope inside me gradually builds, wishing that he finds a reason that will make him stay and seek out what he wants, and live his own life. The boy deserves a lot, he deserves better. He was smart, with a bright future ahead of him, and he shouldn't be suffering the way he was. I know grief transforms people and Owen loves his father, but to see him with no destination, no permanent place to go home to, just makes my heart constrict in the most painful of ways.
And then I saw a girl who experiences loneliness akin to what Owen was feeling. Different, but at some level they're the same, missing their family even though they're merely a breath away. Owen's father became a different person when his wife died, and Lucy, though rich, never had enough of her parents attention given to her, never felt as loved as she wanted to. Her older brothers went away for College, her only friends, and so she was alone, her parents traveling to other parts of the world and she was always left behind. It may look like her life was easy, but Lucy just wants her parents to realize that she's there, a kid who maybe does not want to move a few thousand miles from home and go to a new school, a kid who left her heart, possibly, in New York.
What I liked the most about this story is the experiences that both Lucy and Owen went through that gradually shaped what they will become: stronger, more determined and more sure of what they want. They both grew, both encountered truths about themselves through the hardships they faced, the experiences they had with their family, friends. Through their time apart, they discovered what it's like to live in different places, to explore love, the possibilities and complications it can bring to their lives. They stood alone as two separate people but even though they live their lives separately, those moments when the gradual tug of that bond they formed that half hour inside that dark elevator in New York makes them re-evaluate the things they could've had, if they were worth giving a try, worth fighting for, worth seeing through. It was those moments that made me love them, not as a couple, but as two separate people who have this something vague between them that can be something. It was the wait for each of their decisions, if they will make that effort to bring each other closer and see what happens that made me anticipate and hold my breath for both Lucy and Owen.
I savored every moment Lucy and Owen had. The hit or miss vibe, the doubts and worries, the awkwardness, even the way they communicate makes me feel how treasured those moments were. The postcards, letters, emails, the thought exchanges and the struggle to think of what and what not to tell each other. Nothing ever works for a good way all the time. It's not always happy. And there's always that bittersweet edge every time Lucy and Owen touch base with each other at different points of their lives that just endears their story to me. Thousands of miles separate them from each other yet they were still connected by those little things they do and think.
I am once again captivated by Jennifer E. Smith's dazzling writing in The Geography of You and Me. It's such a heartfelt read. That tinge of bittersweet love throughout the novel, the hopefulness, the infinite possibilities in the dizzying, confusing relationship Owen and Lucy had. It was wonderful! There was a certain type of anticipation and that small ache of wanting to find out how it will all end that made me devour this novel in one sitting.
I fell in love with Jen Smith's writing all over again because of this book. Lovely, lovely, just lovely. Give this book a try and be amazed by how great a storyteller Jen E. Smith is!
Content (plot, story flow, character):
Wholeheartedly giving Jen these five butterflies because this novel really deserves it. I was a bit skeptical before reading this since I had issues with This Is What Happy Looks Like, but this novel just blew me away. I loved every bit of it. I wanted more from the ending, but I love how it's open to various interpretations for readers. I'm content thinking that they both got the happy ending they so deserve.
Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!
LOVE LOVE LOVE.
LOVE LOVE LOVE.