Summary: Lucy lives on the twenty-fourth floor of her New York City apartment building, while Owen lives in the basement. Which makes it fitting that the two meet for the first time in the middle. Lucy and Owen are stranded in the building’s elevator during a citywide blackout, and while the power might be out, sparks fly between the two. After they’re rescued, Lucy and Owen spend the rest of the darkened day together, sharing their thoughts and wanderlust with one another. But when the power returns, so does reality. Lucy is headed to Europe with her family, while Owen road trips across the country with his dad. Taking off in different directions, they stay in touch through postcards and occasional emails. Through their own travels and self-discoveries, Lucy and Owen must figure out how to close the geography between them.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Inspiration to read Jennifer E. Smith’s The Geography of You and Me came to me when I was craving a contemporary read. Blame it on the warm weather and summer quickly approaching, but I’ve been only in the mood to read contemporaries lately. I usually try to read one book at a time, but as I was struggling through a fantasy book that will go unnamed at the moment, I realized that I wanted a lighter read that I could fly through. I’m so happy that I picked up The Geography of You and Me when I did because it’s most definitely a new favorite contemporary read of mine.
The Geography of You and Me is told through third-person POV from Lucy and Owen. I tend to favor one POV over another in dual perspective reads, but I honestly adored both Owen and Lucy’s chapters. I think this largely had to do with Lucy and Owen being on two different personal journeys. Jennifer also didn’t reiterate what was happening from both characters, which I always appreciate in multi-POV books. Lucy learns how to adapt to life abroad and tries to form a closer relationship with her parents, while Owen and his dad are trying to find a new home of their own as they deal with the aftermath of his mother’s death.
Although the premise of The Geography of You and Me begins with Owen and Lucy being trapped in an elevator, I enjoyed how the scene only composed one chapter of the book. It was fun seeing Owen and Lucy explore a powerless New York City together before heading off on their trips. And while blackouts are not too fun in our digital age, it was really interesting (and difficult!) to imagine a darkened NYC. I also didn’t expect how much traveling there would be in this book, but Jennifer E. Smith transports readers through Europe and the western US alongside Lucy and Owen. The book truly speaks to the mantra that people can travel anywhere as long as they book in their hands (NOT TO MENTION THAT LUCY IS A MASSIVE READER HERSELF). But through Lucy, Jennifer E. Smith also demonstrates,
“That was the thing about books, she was realizing; they could take you somewhere else entirely, it was true. But it wasn’t the same thing as actually going there yourself.” (216)
In short, The Geography of You and Me features plenty of traveling, romance, and self-discovery. It a perfectly sweet & fluffy contemporary read that’s great for any season—we spend September through June with the pair. It is easily my favorite Jennifer E. Smith book. And yes I know that I’ve only read This Is What Happy Looks Like and Windfall, but I’m even more excited to carry on through Jennifer’s collection!
Have you read The Geography of You and Me? What are some of your favorite travel-inspired books? Share in the comments!