[The Geography of You and Me] Jennifer E. Smith

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Told in the alternating viewpoints of Lucy and Owen, The Geography of You and Me is a very quick read. After a blackout hits New York City, Lucy is trapped in the elevator of her swanky apartment building with the new kid: a boy who has recently moved in with his father, the building’s manager. The mysterious stranger that turns out to not be very mysterious. They’re rescued, but not before Lucy and Owen realize there is a spark of interest between them. They spend the remainder of the night going on a pseudo-date: eating the melting ice cream given out by the ice cream parlor for free; finding bottles of water, cookies, and dried fruit at the “blackout discount” prices; and spending the night on the roof gazing at stars that are normally never visible in the night sky because of the blinding New York City lights.

The next morning, the next days, and the next week, both Lucy and Owen try to see each other without actually going to see each other. They both are afraid of the embarrassment they will feel if the other actually didn’t have as much fun as they did. Then, suddenly, events in their lives force them to confront each other, only before they have to leave again. Suddenly, they’re not living in the same building. They’re not even living in the same country. But they both cling to that one night while he sends postcards and she sends emails, until they gradually allow themselves to drift apart.

The problem I have with Geography is that Lucy and Owen’s relationship is built on this fragile one night they had. Yes, it was a wonderful night, and I even thought it was cute, but they didn’t have more. They avoided each other until they couldn’t anymore. They never tried to progress the relationship. Therefore, they didn’t really have a relationship. Geography is touted as a “map of a long-distance relationship,” but sending the occasional email or postcard does not constitute a relationship. I had a hard time suspending my disbelief that Owen was worth it. Lucy barely knew him. It wasn’t like they had gone on several dates.

Overall, the writing of Geography was okay. I just couldn’t find it in me to view it as anything but “meh.” It was just something to pass the time.

 

2 stars.

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