The Geography of You and Me

October 1, 2017

Author: Jennifer E. Smith.


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.

(Published Summary)

My thoughts:

If it is an absolutely one-hundred-percent necessity to put romance in every single YA book out there (as it apparently is) I wish more of it was like this story!

So Jennifer E. Smith is already my favorite author for cute fluff, ever since I found her, but The Geography of You and Me is my favorite yet. Lucy and Owen live in the same skyscraper in New York, but they’ve never spoken before the day they’re trapped together in an elevator during a full-city power blackout. Sure, it’s a pretty obvious plot device; on the other hand, not only does it do its duty, there’s something about it that catches the imagination. Think of seeing the stars over a light-polluted metropolis for the first time. That’s pretty neat.

The two hit it off pretty well, sticking together for a bit after they get off the elevator, but once the power comes back on they live separate enough lives neither sees the other for over a week – and by the time they do, by some quirk of fate both their families are moving away. Ouch. This is a pretty sweet subversion of expectation, I think; instead of suddenly bumping into each other wherever they go (as has literally happened in other stories), they’re heading in opposite directions.

They both have their own lives to worry about. Owen is applying to college, and trying to help his father get a job; more slowly, he’s trying to work through the devastation of losing his mother. Lucy is still in high school, and taking new opportunities to get to know her parents, so often absent in her lives. I love the parental relationships here, by the way. Owen and Lucy’s parents are important players in their lives, and while they’re certainly not perfect, they’re not antagonists either. They’re doing their best. Lucy, in particular, is nudged forward in an important way by the advice and love of her mother.

Lucy and Owen keep in touch the old fashioned way: snail mail. More specifically, post cards. I’m a big snail-mailer, so this totally biased me, by the way. But it’s kind of hard to have deep conversations by post-card, and they never established a relationship… they didn’t have time. So where does that leave them? Experimenting with casual dating, but a little guiltily. Not quite sure what they should be doing. I’m just glad they were honest with each other about it, and it didn’t turn into a love-triangle-thing; there was really nothing wrong there, although the stiff reactions were completely realistic.

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you Owen and Lucy end up together. Could you, in any circumstances, expect anything *else* of Jennifer E. Smith’s books? But it’s sweet, and cliche, and a little romantic.

I approved.

Content Review:

Sexual Content: Some kissing, only lightly described.

Language: 2 hell

Violence: None.

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