Published by Hachette Australia, Headline on April 10, 2014
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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For fans of John Green, Stephanie Perkins and Sarah Ockler, THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME is a story for anyone who's ever longed to meet someone special, for anyone who's searched for home and found it where they least expected it.
Owen lives in the basement. Lucy lives on the 24th floor. But when the power goes out in the midst of a New York heatwave, they find themselves together for the first time: stuck in a lift between the 10th and 11th floors. As they await help, they start talking...
The brief time they spend together leaves a mark. And as their lives take them to Edinburgh and San Francisco, to Prague and to Portland they can't shake the memory of the time they shared. Postcards cross the globe when they themselves can't, as Owen and Lucy experience the joy - and pain - of first love.
And as they make their separate journeys in search of home, they discover that sometimes it is a person rather than a place that anchors you most in the world.
Travelling is one of my loves and Europe and America are dream destinations. The Geography of You and Me satisfied the tourist in me by giving us the taste of different places in these two continents – from the vibrant, energetic streets of New York, to the classy, gloomy London, to Prague, California, Pennsylvania, Paris and all the places in between.
From an innocent, fateful meeting on a broken elevator in New York, to one that would diverge wildly in opposite directions, Owen and Lucy find in each other, a kindred spirit who is as lost as they are. After they meet, they move to other sides of the world as both of their families are in a state of flux for various reasons. They keep in contact through postcards, letting each other know that they’re “thinking of you”. New partners will come and go, their parents will experience different struggles and the two will make new homes, but they learn over the course of the novel that their hearts belong together.
The book blooms from a simple concept, where two characters meet and share a memorable experience, into one which demonstrates that absence makes the heart grow fonder. In our world where we can connect with each other within seconds online, Jennifer E. Smith captures the experience of two people’s hearts and minds from different countries aching for each other beautifully.
If you were to draw a map of the two of them, of where they started out and where they would both end up, the lines would be shooting away from each other like magnets spun around on their poles. And it occurred to Owen that there was something deeply flawed about this, that there should be circles or angles or turns, anything that might make it possible for the two lines to meet again.
Owen’s instability lay in wanting to accompany his dad after his mum passing away, and not knowing where he wanted to be upon graduation. His point of view was filled with aching loss over his mother and a sense of faithfulness to his dad. Lucy on the other hand, is a lost soul who has been neglected by her parents as they go on amazing overseas trips. Both of these characters seemed so real and were well developed and mature, which I really enjoyed in a YA contemporary. I also loved how this book had a large focus on family and not just the romance, which made it seem more realistic.
Jennifer E. Smith gives you just enough to taste the culture of different places – I thoroughly enjoyed every new place and landmark the pair visited. New York, San Francisco and California reminded me of my own recent visit to America and certainly captured the heart and personality of each of these places. With a certain elegance, the author manages to give us a taste of different places without being bogged down in the detail, while still faithfully keeping to the theme of the book.
The Geography of You and Me is a fantastic contemporary that will set off your travel bug, while delving into the struggles of a long distance relationship. Yes the book was fluffy and isn’t particularly strong on the plot, but it was executed really well and the writing makes the experience all the more vivid. Every new experience, thought or emotion connects back to both Owen and Lucy wanting to be with each other and against all odds – making it happen.
Thank you to Hachette Australia for approving me on Netgalley to review this book.
Rating: 4 out of 5
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