[Blog Tour + Giveaway] Field Notes On Love by Jennifer E. Smith
Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: March 5, 2019 by Delacorte Press
Genre: YA Contemporary
Having just been dumped by his girlfriend, British-born Hugo is still determined to take his last-hurrah-before-college train trip across the United States. One snag: the companion ticket is already booked under the name of his ex, Margaret Campbell. Nontransferable, no exceptions.
Enter the new Margaret C. (Mae for short), an aspiring filmmaker with big dreams. After finding Hugo’s spare ticket offer online, she’s convinced it’s the perfect opportunity to expand her horizons.
When the two meet, the attraction is undeniable, and both find more than they bargained for. As Mae pushes Hugo to explore his dreams for his future, he’ll encourage her to channel a new, vulnerable side of her art. But when life off the train threatens the bubble they’ve created for themselves, will they manage to keep their love on track?
Rating: 3.5 stars!
Hello and welcome to our first ever blog tour! Special thanks to Fay from Bibliophile Soprano and to our friends at Penguin Random House International for letting me join the fun.
Just when I thought I’ve sworn off love stories, Jennifer E. Smith comes at me like a freight train with Field Notes on Love. This heartwarming story revolves around Hugo and May— two teenagers whose lives are about to intersect through a grand train ride all across America.
The one thing that I enjoyed about the book right off the bat is its diversity and representation. Hugo is from a mixed race family in England, while Mae lives with her two dads and grandma in Hudson Valley. I loved how, despite their unique situations, everything around them still felt normal— as it should. Jennifer Smith gave us a world where diversity is thriving despite obstacles, and I am here for it.
Next, the pacing.
I loved how there is no dull moment, whether the scene is set on the train or off it. The wheels of the narrative keep turning, and I like how we discover a little bit of both Hugo and Mae and their families along the journey.
That’s another thing that I enjoyed in this book: the characters’ relationships with their families. I’ll go so far as to say that I enjoyed it more than the romance itself. Hugo and Mae’s interactions with their families are so heartfelt and lovingly written that I couldn’t help but to tear up a bit at some parts, especially towards the end of the book.
Hugo’s dynamic with his huge band of brothers and sisters is so natural and enjoyable. His character resonated with me so much, because I also come from a band of 6 kids, although we’re not quite sextuplets. I liked how, despite hankering to go out and see the world, he still considered the consequences of his actions.
There are some novels out there that just flaunt privilege in their characters; they kind of promote the “I’m gonna quit everything and do what I want” kind of vibe. I’m so thankful that that’s not what this book is all about. For an 18-year-old kid, Hugo is pretty mature and I think that’s great.
Mae, on the other hand, is stubborn and determined, but she has a soft spot for her romantic, spunky grandma. Although some of grandma’s lines were cheesy, I liked their relationship best.
All these small elements and relationships are like puzzle pieces that come together to make the book more enjoyable.
I appreciated the differences between Hugo and Mae’s personalities and how they eventually got along the ride.
It’s cute, sure. And the fact that they each discovered a new part of themselves along the journey was told beautifully. But for the love of buko pie, I can’t buy into the concept of falling in love with an utter stranger in a span of a week, no matter how scenic the view or how charming the person is, or how deep and nice the conversations are. I just can’t convince myself that’s possible, even if I know that this is a YA contemporary novel, where plots are built on improbable situations.
I’m just mentally past that phase, perhaps. I really am more of a slow-burn person, so while a lot of people may find the romance between Hugo and Mae cute and endearing, I just found myself muttering ‘nope’ under my breath. There were also some lines that I found way too cheesy for my taste.
Still, Field Notes On Love makes for a light, romantic read that YA contemporary fans will love. It’s diverse, it’s got great characters and is a good coming-of-age tale altogether.
My pro-slow-burn heart gives it a 3.5 over 5.
Loved the review? Get your very own copy of Field Notes on Love Here:
About The Author
JENNIFER E. SMITH is the author of eight books for young adults, including Windfall and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. She earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and her work has been translated into thirty-three languages. She currently lives in New York City.
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