Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Geography Of You & Me by Jennifer E. Smith

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.

Star Rating

I received this book from the publishers for an open and honest review. 

Having recently read a lot of crime and dystopian novels I fancied taking a YA romace novel with me on my recent trip to Spain. There is nothing better than sitting by the pool in the sun with a good book and this was certainly an easy holiday read that I finished very quickly.
The Geography Of You & Me tells the story of Owen and Lucy who find themselves stuck in a lift together between the 10th and 11th floors. This chance meeting sparks off a strong bond between the pair but this is cut short due to differing circumstances. Both Owen and Lucy, for different reasons, leave New York and travel the world sending postcards back and forth in a desperate attempt to keep their new friendship alive. 
What I liked about this novel was the detailed relationships between the protagonists and their parents. In particular I could empathise with Owen whose mother had passed away. It became evident that Owen was desperate to spread his wings and live his own life but felt tremendous worry/guilt about leaving his dad alone. 
'The geography of the thing - the geography of them was completely and hopelessly wrong'
Throughout their travels, both Owen and Lucy met new potential partners but there is always, at the back of their minds, a bond pulling them back together. This novel tackles the highs and lows of long distance relationships and leaves the reader with an overwhelming hope that they will find a way back to each other.  
'She couldn't stop thinking about the straggler, the missing beat, the odd one out. The single speck in the emptiest part of the sky. She hoped that wherever he was, he'd be okay, that little bird.' 
Throughout the novel the reader is transported to a variety of places as Owen and Lucy travel around the world. Even though the characters are on other sides of the world, they are still drawn to each other and this comes to a crescendo during chapters 25-34 where Jennifer E. Smith uses one liners to portray Owen and Lucy's thought process as they really begin to miss each other. This part of the novel was almost film-like and I could see the movie in my mind flashing backwards and forwards between the two characters.
This is a lovely story full of love, loss and hope. Jennifer E. Smith writes well and the chapters flow quickly making this a very easy read. I would have liked there to have been more descriptions of the places Owen and Lucy visited, particularly as I have visited some of these countries myself. However this is a character driven novel that would make a brilliant romance movie and I would highly recommend it for a quick summer read!

'Even before he flipped it over to find the note, he was thinking the very same thing: that he wished more than anything that she was here, too. And just like that, his heart - that dead thing inside of him - came to life again.'