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

Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Poppy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 352 (ARC)
Source: From Publisher for Review
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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This is my second Jennifer E. Smith novel and I think that Smith pretty much guarantees absolute cuteness and fluffiness no matter what. While this one was not a complete grand slam the way THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT was, Smith easily hit it out of the park. She has solidified herself as one of my go-to feel-good authors.

Told from two perspectives, THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME follows a young love story across the globe. Both Owen and Lucy have very strong voices and they were easy to root for due to the fact that I was immediately invested in their stories. Both were experiencing sad moments in their lives and they were brought together by, oddly enough, an apocalyptic-like power failure spanning the entire East coast into Canada. I found the descriptions of New York City during the blackout to be very interesting and entertaining because of the fact that I live here. So, for any New Yorker out there, there's some instant entertainment here for you. For those of you who aren't New Yorker's, there's a small dystopian-like aspect to this book in the very beginning that I think many will enjoy.

But back to Lucy and Owen. It was very easy to identify with Lucy because of the fact that she tended to be an introvert who loved to wander. She preferred the company of her brothers or that of a good book before anything else. She reminded me a lot of me, and for that I will always love her. Owen is also easy to love because he's broken. Not in one of those broody types of ways, but his heart is truly broken over the sudden and unforeseen loss of his mother. He doesn't want to brood, but his life is at a standstill and he doesn't know how to dig himself and his father out of this rut. One catastrophic twenty four hour black out altered both of their lives unexpectedly after spending a mere thirty minutes stuck in a really hot elevator.

A huge aspect of this story that I adored was how the parents of our main characters were painted. I think that it's become a common (and hated) young adult cliche to have bad parents in stories. While Lucy's parents are slightly absentee in the beginning, it is explained and throughout this story that spans a year, we get to watch her relationship with her parents grow and become something really beautiful. I loved seeing Lucy and her mother begin to foster a true mother-daughter relationship. I also loved reading scenes with Owen and his Dad. Owen's father suffered really badly in the first half of the book, but watching him come to terms with the early passing of his wife and begin to be a father once again to Owen, his only son who loves him more than life itself, was genuinely touching. It was very realistic and I applaud Smith for making such solid families with believable emotional struggles.

The world traveler in me is also extremely satisfied with the huge amount of places covered in this story between both characters. Off the top of my head we were taken to New York City, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Pennsylvania, Portland, Seattle, Edinburgh (Scotland), London (England), Paris (France), and Prague. And every place felt different then the others. Smith really put detail into her descriptions and if I closed my eyes and imagined things, I could see myself there. Her usage of post cards to describe huge landmarks but also as a way for Owen and Lucy to communicate was very adorable as well. Not only did it remind me of how I communicate with my parents when I am overseas without them, but it made their relationship foster and grow in a really unique and cute way--just adding to the fluffiness, I tell you! I was rooting for these two from the get-go.

My one complaint that makes this story fall just short of perfection was that I was able to put it down multiple times. When I put my mind to it I finished it with ease, but there were parts where I struggled to focus. I actually walked laps around the seaport at one point because I wanted to keep reading but I couldn't bring myself to do so because we were at a lull in the story. A solid portion of the book easily held my interest, but I had to trudge through certain parts in order to get to those at times.

If you are a fan of fluffy and adorable contemporary reads with a flair of unusual dystopian-like circumstances and powerful stories of self-discovery, this is a great book for you. Jennifer E. Smith can really do no wrong.

 4.5 stars

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FTC Disclaimer: I did not receive any form of compensation in exchange for my honest review.


  1. Aw, this sounds like such a fun, lovely read! I can't wait to read it! It sounds heartbreaking but sweet, and I just love the concept. So yayyy

    1. Pretty much summed up very simply! <3