When the power goes out, Lucy’s in the elevator. There, in the darkness, she meets Owen. They spend the night of the New York blackout together, creating a bond, or so Lucy thinks. But when she wakes up the next morning, he’s gone. Summoned to London by her parents, she sends him a postcard “wish you were here” and so does he; the start of a correspondence that spans time zones.
Overall, The Geography of You and Me is a lovely and sweet contemporary story about two people who click and then are forced apart. They don’t spend their summer pining over each other, they each have their own lives, but their correspondence starts to mean something. Owen is the rare breed of a teenager without a phone (or he has a basic one and won’t text for some reason), and the postcards become their thing as he travels across America, with his dad looking for work.
It’s interesting how more and more young adult writers are shunning technology in favour of a simpler world. In reality, Lucy and Owen would be connected constantly through phones, email and social media.
There’s some good use of short chapters, when they are completely apart, but thinking of each other at the same time. Their thoughts flit from page to page, back and forth. There’s this moment where Lucy’s mum just understands everything, which made me tear up a little. She might seem like an uncaring, absent mother but she demonstrates that she is far from it in just a few lines.
People of Edinburgh, be warned, you might get offended. Lucy (and her dad) think the whole city smells of stew. It’s mind boggling how every other location gets treated with respect but Scotland is a land of stereotypes. It’s depicted as a dull place with horrid food. Imagine going to Florence and saying the food was awful because you only ate tripe sandwiches? That’s the same as blaming Edinburgh’s bad food on there being nothing but haggis and neeps to eat. Is she incapable of finding a supermarket?
Clearly Lucy is missing home and Owen, so Edinburgh has probably got the raw deal in order to depict her sadness. Maybe she’s just happier in other places so they’re described with a bit more enthusiasm. Still, it irked me. This is becoming a pattern with this author, maybe I’ll only read her books that stay well away from Britain!
The Geography of You and Me will be published by Headline in paperback and ebook editions on 15th April 2014. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.