Book Review: The Geography of You and Me

The Geography of You and Me
Published By: Poppy
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Page Count: 352
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

There is something about a Jennifer E. Smith novel that lures me into the story and refuses to let me go. She writes the sort of stories that make me want to curl up and live within the pages. Her characters are richly complex and often have to face some major challenges to be together. In addition, I loved the settings in this one; I particularly enjoyed the segments in Seattle, Edinburgh, and London. I am now craving a trip to each of those cities.

The Geography of You and Me was interesting because while it is a love story, the two main characters aren't in one another's presence very long. This was certainly a unique spin on contemporary romance. I was worried this was just going to be a lot of emails and phone calls, but the long distance relationship between Lucy and Owen does not run a smooth course. In fact, I had some serious doubt that this was a romance for quite a significant portion of the book. Lucy and Owen are on their own adventures that are happening simultaneously but thousands of miles apart. Long distant relationships suck and pose problems that don't effect couples who live in the same area. It was interesting to watch Lucy and Owen grapple with their feelings and the distance.

In addition to the romance aspects, I really enjoyed the family dynamics of both Lucy and Owen. Lucy constantly feels like she is invisible; her parents are off traveling most of the time and her older brothers have left for college. She is in many ways an adult as she lives in NYC and takes care of herself. My heart broke for her throughout the beginning of the novel, but I was happy to see her parents wake up and start paying attention to what was best for their daughter. In addition, a similar process happens with Owen. He and his dad are still reeling from the unexpected death of his mother; they are both foundering. Their journey is one that allows them to work through their grief and strengthen their relationship. Owen's dad also has a few moments where he realizes that he needs to pay more attention to his son's feelings.

On a side note, I also loved Lucy's constant reading. Books are her companions throughout this novel. I loved seeing a character who was as passionate about reading as I am.

While I did enjoy this one and the messages it get across about fate, living life to the fullest, and human connections, I was a little irked about the ending. I felt like there were still so many unanswered questions. I really wanted to know what was in the future for Lucy and Owen. I also wished that I had gotten to spend more time with each character. I felt like the novel scratched the surface of their lives, but I wanted more. I found Lucy's sections to be more appealing and I wanted to know more about what was happening for her in Edinburgh and London.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and read it largely in one sitting. I found it was the perfect way to start my Spring Break.

One Last Gripe: It bothered me that Owen stopped responding to Lucy when he arrived in Lake Tahoe. I didn't really buy his reasoning.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved the evolution of Lucy.

First Sentence: On the first day of September, the world went dark.

Favorite Character: Lucy

Least Favorite Character: I didn't have one.

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.