by Jennifer E. Smith
Hadley is a 17-year-old flying to England for her dad's wedding. When she misses her flight by only four minutes she finds herself unexpectedly befriended by a British boy named Oliver. I was expecting a sweet teen romance when I picked this one up. And while it certainly contains that as well, the depth of the novel comes from the main character’s strained relationship with her father. Hadley and Oliver’s interactions are cute and relatively believable, but honestly I wouldn’t have enjoyed this one as much if that’s all there had been.
Hadley's dad left their home in the states to teach for a semester at Oxford. While there he fell in love with someone else and decided to get a divorce. Hadley’s hurt and anger at this betrayal is all too familiar for many kids. As she heads towards London for his wedding all of those emotions come roaring back to her.
There’s one section that talks about how quickly the time can get away from you when you’re holding a grudge. It rang so true to me. You can avoid or ignore someone who has hurt you and before you know it the years have slipped by and you’ve missed out on everything in that person’s life.
“Never has any period of time seemed so unending. And though she knows it’s nothing but a collection of minutes, all of them strung together like popcorn on a tree, she can see now how easily they become hours, how quickly the months might have turned to years in just the same way, how close she’d come to losing something so important to the unrelenting movement of time.”
I’ve never had to deal with a parent who cheated, but I let hurt and resentment widen the gap between me and my own father for far too long. Even when it feels like the distance has grown too far, there’s always a way back to your loved ones if you’re willing to make the effort.
BOTTOM LINE: A story about loving your family despite their mistakes. The romance is cute, but the heartbeat comes from the honest tone of Hadley’s relationship with her dad.
"In the end, it's not the changes that will break your heart; it's that tug of familiarity."
**There are tons of references to Our Mutual Friend in this and I immediately picked that one up after I finished this.