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Loss, Heartbreak, and the Love in Between: Two Tales of Love This Valentine’s Day

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Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!! I’m sure by the time I post this Valentine’s Day is over in some parts of the world. But Valentine’s Day should be celebrated every day, don’t you think? Still on our Cybils streak, I bring you two heartwarming stories that I hope would pull your heartstrings.

The Boy on Cinnamon Street487946_10151392317628700_1206283309_n

Written by: Phoebe Stone
Hardcover: 240 pages
Published by: Arthur A. Levine Books
Genre: Young adult, fiction, romance
Citation: 2012 Cybils Young Adult fiction nominee
Book borrowed from the Chula Vista Public Library.
Book photo taken by me, edited through an iPhone 4.

One ordinary (pizza) night, in the company of her Grandma and Grandpa, thirteen-year-old Louise Terrace finds a note sticking out from under the doormat. Thinking that the note came from one of the girls in her gymnastics team who hates her with a passion, Louise hesitates. After giving it much thought and realizing that it’s better if she reads it before her Grandpa does, she opens the folded paper. Inside, it reads:

I am your biggest fan.

The front jacket flap of the book notes that The Boy on Cinnamon Street is a story about “a wounded girl and the boy who won’t give up on her.” It was this very notion that made me want to read the book. Nothing is more exciting than reading about secret admirers. The mystery surrounding this new love – or, in Louise’s case, ‘crush’ – gives her butterflies in her stomach and funny feelings in her heart.

How nice would it be to have someone write you notes when you need cheering up and even draw chalk hearts outside your apartment? Louise doesn’t seem frightened by this secret admirer. What begins as a mysterious letter ends up in breaking codes, analyzing handwriting, and even posting notes on a school locker. All these things are made possible with the help of Louise’s trusted friends, Reni and Henderson.

Phoebe Stone’s novel uses the first person POV. While the language of Louise did not appeal to me, I think it’s essential in highlighting the confusion and heartache that she was experiencing. Such feelings were brought about by a dark family secret that she had been trying to push away from her memory. It reached a point where she changed her name to Thumbelina and quit her gymnastics team. In addition, Louise was only four feet and seven inches. Given everything that has happened to her, she felt smaller than ever.

Somehow, Louise’s fixation on this secret admirer, who she believed to be the pizza delivery boy, was her form of escape. She started to think that she was in love with this boy, and that there was hope for someone like her.

“It’s possible I’m in love with Benny. I mean, there is something pulling me toward him. It’s really strong. Reni says it must be love. Reni thinks so. Reni’s sure.” – p. 94

Reading this book brought back vague memories from middle school. Such a young age to understand love. We are like Louise sometimes, thinking we’re in love when we’re really unsure of how we feel. We rely on our friends who, in turn, are kind enough to take our side because they don’t want to see us hurting. Their intentions may be good but, sometimes, they also don’t know any better. We mistake infatuation for love because we think that love is the only way out of our problems. We fail to see acceptance and forgiveness. We fail to pay attention to the person who truly understands and loves us in spite of our faults and misgivings.

The Boy on Cinnamon Street is a predictable read. The plot is too familiar to me, but I truly enjoyed reading the last few chapters. My tear ducts managed to keep those tears from falling, but I sure held on my heart while I read those parts. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just too lovestruck to feel that way. Seriously, though, if you want a light read about young love and mysterious letters in between, try this.

I leave you this sweet line from Louise’s Grandma:

“[W]e’re all complicated. Every prince is ten percent nerd. No one is nerd free. It doesn’t work that way. But we are all beautiful, each one of us.” – pp. 232-233

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight71887_10151377840388700_665167424_n

Written by: Jennifer E. Smith
Paperback: 272 pages
Published by: Poppy
Genre: Young adult, fiction, romance
Citation: 2012 Cybils Young Adult fiction nominee
Own copy of the book.
Book photo taken by me, edited through and iPhone 4.

Seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan is on her way to London to attend her father’s second wedding. But fate seems to have a different plan altogether. Having missed her flight by four minutes (how annoying, right?), Hadley waits at the airport for the next available flight. There she meets a British boy named Oliver who also happens to be flying to London and, as fate would have it, shares her row in the plane.

Jennifer E. Smith concocts a beautiful story that reminds us about the magic of fate, all in a span of twenty-four hours. Although it took me days to finish the book, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is the best YA novel I’ve read so far. If you’re looking for a book that would make you gush and fill your heart with cheesiness, then this book is not for you.

Here is a book where love occupies only one-third of the plot. The story focuses more on Hadley and her relationship with her father. Her struggle with her parents’ separation echoes throughout the novel. Readers may find this repetitive, even boring. But I like how Smith tucks Hadley’s bittersweet memories between her conversations with Oliver. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I sympathize with Hadley. Yet, there is truly something beautiful hidden in Hadley’s heartaches that even love can’t compete with.

As for the love part, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight has the right amount of sweetness. I remember Myra and Iphigene asking me whether or not the novel was too cheesy. I was more than halfway through the book and it still didn’t appear cheesy or mushy to me. Then again, I might be the wrong person to ask because I’m too much in love to even bother. Haha!

The ‘romance’ between Hadley and Oliver is nothing short of charming. He reminds me a bit of my boyfriend who comes up with witty (and nerdy!) remarks every now and again. There is a natural force that pulls Hadley and Oliver together, and Oliver appears to be the perfect distraction for Hadley.

While I have so much more to say about this novel, I would only be spoiling it for you. I find myself smiling at certain parts where the power of fate is implied. It’s an ongoing joke between me and my boyfriend that perhaps we were meant to find each other – that all the things in our lives happened because, in the end, our paths were supposed to cross. While the idea of fate adds that magical touch to love, may we always trust what’s in our hearts and not allow fate to dictate how to live our lives or how to love others.

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A-Z Book Challenge Update: 18 of 26
(S, E, G, C, M, Z, B, N, R, J, A, H, W, X, V, I, L, T)

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Read-a-Latte Challenge Update: 33, 34 of 150

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About Fats Suela

Cloud chaser. Sky walker. Tale weaver. Smile painter. Dream believer. Heart stealer. Book gatherer. Star-child of the universe.

2 comments on “Loss, Heartbreak, and the Love in Between: Two Tales of Love This Valentine’s Day

  1. THANKS for stopping by my blog.

    You have a lovely, organized blog.

    Elizabeth
    Silver’s Reviews
    My It’s Monday, What Are You Reading

  2. […] Fats: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. There’s more to the story than just the statistical probability of love at first sight. […]

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