A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Geography of You and Me is a sweet, charming romance with likable characters. It will strike a chord, especially, with teens who are preparing to part ways with friends and family and head off to college. It's really a coming-of-age story, packaged as a romance, that offers plenty of food for thought on fate, faith, and the strength (and fragility) of long-distance bonds.
What's the story?
Lucy, 16, and Owen, 17, live in the same building in New York City, but they seem worlds apart: Lucy lives on the 24th floor with her globe-trotting parents, and Owen is in the basement with his newly widowed dad. A blackout traps them together in an elevator, and the pair end up spending a magical night on the skyscraper's roof, marveling at the stars. But soon after, the two find themselves separated: Lucy moves to Scotland with her parents, and Owen and his dad hit the open road. The two initially exchange postcards to keep in touch. But as they move physically farther apart, the emotional distance between them becomes increasingly difficult to bridge.
Is it any good?
THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME is a smart, endearing romance. It trafficks in classic elements of the genre: an enchanting how-they-met story, kids from opposite sides of the tracks, alluring and exotic locations, surprises and setbacks. Yet it's a smartly told story, with characters who win you over on their own merits. Lucy's and Owen's individual stories, told in alternating chapters, are just as absorbing as their shared journey.
Author Jennifer E. Smith has an engaging writing style, with terrific sensory appeal: It's easy to imagine yourself in the stifling hot, pitch-black elevator, or returning to Owen's long-vacant home. It isn't exactly obvious why Lucy and Owen are so taken with each other -- their connection seems unlikely to outlast the peculiar circumstances of their meeting. But it's a story about faith, told skillfully enough that skeptics will lower their defenses and root for Lucy and Owen to find their way to each other.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the teens' initial preference for postcards, instead of e-mail or text messages, to keep in touch. Do you think that's nostalgic on the author's part, or do you think the medium really matters?
Why do you think star-crossed lovers are such a popular theme in romance novels?
Do you think it's possible for long-distance romances to survive? How could you help a long-distance friendship thrive?
- Author: Jennifer E. Smith
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Friendship, Great boy role models, Great girl role models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
- Publication date: April 15, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 352
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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