Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

The Geography of You and MeThe Geography of You and Me by
Published by: Little Brown Books for Young Readers on
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
Rating: 2/5

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.

The Verdict

meh

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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13 comments

    1. Yeah I quite enjoyed her other books (especially The Statistical Probability), but this one didn’t quite live up. 🙁

  1. You summed it up perfectly with this line: “it felt […] like a bad chick flick”. I liked it, in that “this is fairly cute but superficial” kind of way that most chick flicks are like. Smith’s writing was good, not amazing, but enough to keep me reading, though she could have done with employing a bit more subtlety. The chapters were Owen and Lucy were doing exactly the same things were like a brick over the head!

    Nikki @ The Paper Sea recently posted: Book Blogger Spotlight (23): Allie
  2. Awww but when I clicked “read more” on your blog I was expecting you to not enjoy it since the book has received lots of negative reviews already. Every review I read was NEGATIVE HAHA They all said the book lacked attitude and charisma, the romance was ineffectual so it cost the downfall of the book. The author didn’t polish her novel well enough. 🙁

    Chyna @ Lite-Rate-Ture recently posted: To all the books I’ve loved before TAG! JOIN THE FUN!
    1. Yeah I’ve read two others and I gave them progressively lower ratings. Off the top of my head it was something like:

      4.5 stars for Statistical Probability
      3 or 3.5 for This is What Happy Looks Like
      .. Now this 😛

  3. I feel like I’m being really generous with 2 stars. This book was so painful to read. I didn’t love the characters, they were so dramatic and I didn’t understand why they couldn’t stop thinking about each other when they only spent about an hour together. If that was me I’d be like “Yep nice meeting you ok bye” but it was not what i was expecting at all. The postcards they did send only had one sentence on them and yet they’d be so happy and excited -_- WHY? You barely even talked to each other after your little “moment”

    Samena recently posted: REVIEW | If I Stay by Gayle Forman
    1. Yes, I totally agree! What was the big deal? That ‘moment’ they had wasn’t enough to be constantly thinking about each other for like a YEAR!

  4. This sounds like it would frustrate the heck out of me. That whole “instant connection” thing makes me crazy unless there’s a solid relationship built after that connection. I think I’ll pass on this one.

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