Review of THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME by JENNIFER E. SMITH
GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME is a sweet, smart young adult romance about when the right person is in the wrong place. Teenagers Lucy and Owen meet on a stopped elevator during a citywide blackout. Once free, they spend an unlikely, unexpected, and unforgettable night together. Before they even have a chance to explore the possibility of a relationship, life pulls them in different directions with Lucy moving to Europe and Owen embarking on a road trip with his father. Time ticks by as Lucy and Owen carry on with their separate lives, date other people, and barely keep in touch. Neither forgets about the other, though. Neither stops wondering and imagining.
I love a good romance...but I’m a very critical romance reader. For starters, I can’t care about a relationship until I care about both characters as individuals. Lucy and Owen are both likable leads, hailing from very different backgrounds and yet finding that common ground. Owen’s mother recently died. Now Owen and his father are barely scraping by, both financially and emotionally. Lucy, on the other hand, has everything she could ever want financially, but her rich life is rather lonely. Her parents travel constantly, never taking her with them. I related to Lucy especially, since she’s a bookworm. I appreciated Smith’s portrayal of an introverted bibliophile. Lucy isn’t a social outcast; she chooses books and quiet over parties and popularity.
Though I found a few metaphors distractingly cheesy, for the most part I loved the writing. Smith crafts distinct, realistic voices for each character. Both dialogue and inner monologue feel natural whether we’re following Lucy or Owen. Also, while they’re mature teenagers, Lucy and Owen definitely feel young: uncertain what they want or what life has in store for them, brimming with emotions, and quick to act or speak on those emotions.
The ending fell a little short of what I wanted, but I think Smith set quite the challenge for herself with this type of story. Young adult romances are particularly difficult, because authors struggle finding balance between that nice happily-ever-after feeling and “settling” their characters too young. Though not quite perfection, I think Smith found a fulfilling spot between frustratingly lacking closure and tying everything up too neatly.