Published by: Little Brown Books for Young Readers on April 15, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
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.
To say the least, The Geography of You and Me was a huge disappointment. I was SO excited about this book because it was about long distance and my husband and I suffered through a long distance relationship for years. I thought I’d be able to relate to this book and really sympathize with the characters.
Here’s what I imagined this book to be:
- Lucy and Owen meet. They talk/hang out all day, really get to know each other, and maybe even fall in love. But, it wouldn’t feel like insta-love because the day would be really drawn out and built up to seem more like it took place over a longer period of time.
- At the end of their one day, they decide to start dating but work through the long distance.
- They keep in touch and battle a long distance relationship. They deal with phone calls, text, emails, and postcards. They struggle with the distance, and maybe even worry about the other person cheating.
- They’re finally reunited at the end.
Wow, I was SO off the mark.
Lucy and Owen do just spend one day together, but it was the shortest day EVER. It was like 30 minutes in an elevator exchanging a few words, then a couple hours together in the evening. After that—nada. They honestly didn’t even speak that much. Then when their relationship “plays out across the globe”, it’s more like they send each other an email or postcard once every 4-6 weeks. And, at that point, they’re not even dating. It’s just like, “Hey, person I met in an elevator a few months ago. Remember me?”
The book felt too much like Just One Day by Gayle Forman. They spent a few hours together, then are apart for like an entire year, but are constantly thinking about each other. WHY!?! Their encounter wasn’t really that special. If I were Lucy, I would have completely forgotten about Owen after a few weeks.
The bulk of the book was actually about Lucy and Owen’s separate family lives. Owen and his dad struggle with the death of his mom and work on finding jobs and a new home. Lucy struggles with a lack of attention from her parents and not quite fitting in at school.
The whole book was just reading about these two peoples’ lives.. separately. Then once every 40 pages it would be like, “Hey, maybe I’ll send Owen an email.”
And on top of that, when the ‘romance’ did come into play, it felt so cheesy. Owen would be on the west coast of America, think of Lucy, then decide to send her a postcard. Then the next chapter would be about Lucy being in Scotland, thinking of Owen, and decide to send him a post card.. at the same time. They would be identical chapters, but from the different person’s point of view. The whole point was that they were doing the same thing at the same time… fate?!?! But it felt sooo lame.. like a bad chick flick.
On the bright side, the various locations in the book were cool (New York, Edinburgh, London, Paris, California, Washington, etc.).
Towards the end of the book, I didn’t even care about continuing to read it. I just wanted to get it done with. I feel bad saying this, but I just didn’t care about Lucy and Owen’s family problems. I wanted the book to be about ROMANCE but it was more about family dynamics and just every day life. I think it just wasn’t what I expected and wasn’t something I was interested in.