BOOK REVIEW: The Geography of You and Me

Title: The Geography of You and Me
Author: Jennifer E Smith
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: 15th April 2014
Goodreads Summary: 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.

{ Review }

Despite owning all of Jennifer E Smith's books, The Geography of You and Me is the first book of hers that I've read. There is quite a lot of hype surrounding her books so I've always had high expectations of them and unfortunately I think this is what tarnished my reading of TGoYaM. Don't get me wrong, I thought that it was a great read, it just didn't blow me away which is what I expected.

The Geography of You and Me follows the story of Lucy and Owen, two teenagers who get stuck in an elevator one fateful night in New York after the entire city loses power. Owen is the builder manager's son who lives in the basement and Lucy lives in a swanky apartment on floor 24 but despite living in the same building and seeing each other around, they have never spoken to each other. After just 30 minutes in an elevator together, they both realise that their first impressions of one another aren't completely accurate and they spend the rest of the night together walking around New York before eventually ending up on the roof of the building they live on. After talking for hours they fall asleep lying side by side on the roof, but when Lucy wakes up the following morning Owen is gone. Shortly after this night, Owen's dad loses his job as building manager and they are forced to vacate the basement apartment. Not long after that, Lucy dad gets a new job in Edinburgh. Despite being on opposite sides of the world, the two of them continue to send postcards to each other, keeping their relationship alive but both of them wonder whether the distance between them, both metaphorically and physically, is just too great. 

The Geography of You and Me is a great young adult romance that isn't overly sappy or melodramatic. It's simply about two people who have a connection fighting to keep that connection alive, even when oceans separate them. That is what makes this novel more unique and, dare I say it, better than other YA romances on bookshelves today, because it focuses on two people finding common ground in the unlikeliest of situations and it isn't some whirlwind romance. What's interesting is that there isn't actually that much interaction between Lucy and Owen throughout this story. A lot of the narrative focuses on their individual lives in their respective cities and yet there are still threads which keep the two together in your mind so you don't forget about one whilst you're reading about the other. This was nice as it meant that this story isn't solely focussed on romance but about personal growth and development. The only problem with this was that it made it a little difficult for me to find their connection credible as I didn't think that the amount of time that they'd spent communicating was enough for a relationship as deep as theirs to develop. 

Although I liked the romance aspect of this story, it's nothing earth shattering and I never got butterflies in my stomach or anything like that. I think the real winning factor of this story is the two characters themselves and it's seeing them develop as individuals, rather than as a couple, that really had me engrossed in this story. There's something very real about both the protagonists, Lucy and Owen. Although this story isn't written from the first person perspective, Jennifer E Smith still manages to give the reader a real insight into their minds and their way of thinking. Both characters are surprisingly mature for people their age and I can imagine both of them being real people that I'd like to get to know. There is a certain chemistry between the two and their, for lack of a better word, 'banter' made me chuckle to myself frequently throughout this story. 

I did feel that certain aspects of the story were rushed or under-developed but the overall plot and story were still excellent. This story is heartwarming and it restores your faith that sometimes those small moments can turn into big moments as long as you're willing to chase after what you want. There's something about this book that made me want to read it all at once. I read this entire story in one sitting and it's the sort of you flick through on a lazy afternoon when you're in the mood for something light-hearted. 

All in all, I greatly enjoyed reading The Geography of You and Me and the only reason I say I was disappointed is because I expected this to be a book full of romance and I believe that it what Jennifer E Smith's books are marketed as, but I didn't really get that vibe from this novel. Instead I thought this to be a great story of personal development and going after what you want even if the chances of your dream coming true are minute. This book leaves you feeling really content, not overly happy or sad, but content and I'd highly recommend it to fans of YA, particularly YA romances. 

p.s. TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY! I just thought I'd share that with you guys haha :) 

Share this:

, , , , , ,



  1. I did hear so much fuss about this book (especially from my friends). Too bad I never got around to reading it. From your review though, I think I should read the book soon. Lovely review by the way, thanks! :)

  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :) I know I am late now so fail! I hope you had a good one! :)

    I am glad you liked this one. I must admit as much as I adored it, the hype does kinda ruined it! :')

    I will pick up her other books though! :)

    Thanks for sharing hun! :) xx

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed this book. I read the first book in the series and half of the second and enjoy the writer's style. The stories are usually pretty sweet too. Thanks for the review!

  4. I haven't read this in over a year, and my reading experience wasn't tainted by the hype surrounding this book, as I didn't know much about the hype anyways (I had known of her other two books: TSPoLaFS & TiWHLL and wanted to pick up all of them), but I feel like I have similar thoughts on the book as you. It definitely wasn't the heavy romantic story that I was expecting, but it was still greatly enjoyable. I actually liked how it wasn't just a superficial, love-at-first-sight (though as you said, it definitely wasn't love-at-first-sight. It took a little bit for them to tolerate each other, from what I can remember) romance, it was also about the personal growth of the characters. In a way, it was a mixture of a coming-of-age story and romance, which is greatly appreciated. I'd write more, but I've already written this twice and both times that I have gone to publish this comment, it didn't work, so I'll leave it here.


I love comments! Leave your thoughts here and I'll get back to you :)