Publication Date: 01/02/2012
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?Warning: There will be minor spoilers for character backstory herein.
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.
Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.
Hadley Sullivan is having a time of it. She's missed her plane, stuck at the airport waiting for a trip she doesn't want to embark on to a place she's never been. London is already built upon a rickety self-imposed bed of memories, and nothing good could possibly come of it - right? Airport patrons, already schooled in the art of waiting, are often times incredibly observant and it's by this chance that she meets Oliver, who comes to her aid when the zipper goes on her bag and her things tumble to the ground. +1 for her trip across the pond.
This is a book that I was waiting very much for, for a few reasons: I love airports (so much happens there, it's great for observation), the title is incredibly catching and makes you want to know what might happen, and it has that fantastic cover. However, there is a catch, and it's a big one. The blurb only states that Hadley is going to her father's wedding in London, but doesn't say anything of the reason behind any of this. If I had known how things were to happen in this book I might not have been so keen to buy it.
Hadley's father was invited to be a fellow at Oxford, and Hadley and her mother had plans to visit him over the winter break - and then suddenly they didn't. In a whirlwind of events not only had Hadley's father been in a relationship with another woman, but suddenly her parents were divorcing and plans were being made quietly by her father to marry this other woman. The timeline for these events is so incredibly brief in the scheme of things that not only is it impossible for me to separate my anger at what was going on from the story, but it's also difficult for me to accept the way Hadley's parents are treating her.
"He's still your dad," Mom kept reminding her, as if this were something Hadley might forget. "If you don't go, you'll regret it later. I know it's hard to imagine when you're seventeen, but trust me. One day you will."I'm not so sure, either. The issue at hand isn't the fact that her father is remarrying someone Hadley doesn't know, nor is the fact that her father has moved to England. The issue here is her father's infidelity and everyone else's completely blasé reaction to it. Reading this I never had the feeling that neither Hadley nor her mother had a chance to properly be angry or upset. Everything was so rushed that they had to pass go completely, straight to an awkward semblance of peripheral acceptance; this left little room on my behalf as a reader to have any sympathy for her father. If the situation had been different, if it had come about in a different way then the entire shape of this book would have been different, and I would have been able to see it in a much easier light.
Hadley isn't so sure. (7)
The ratio of this review seems to be in even proportion with my thoughts while reading; though I loved Hadley (sarcastic and honest) and Oliver (witty and clever), the unhealthy circumstances behind their meeting threatened to overshadow how fantastically the two of them got on. The story of them is a one that is believable, well-paced, and I was behind them every step of the way. From their banter in the airport, to everything you can think that would happen during a 7-hour flight sitting next to someone you find wholly fascinating, it's a viable occurrence that might have you looking over the next time you're on a plane.
On the whole I did like the book, though I wish that I had known what I was getting myself into before I started, and that the reasoning were different. If anything, it's worth reading alone for the progression between Hadley and Oliver. Just take the backstory with a grain (or two) of salt before proceeding.