“How long could a single night really be expected to last? How far could you stretch such a small collection of minutes? He was just a boy on a roof. She was just a girl in an elevator.”
The Geography of You and Me tells the story of two teens, Lucy and Owen, who meet in an elevator in the middle of a new York City blackout. “After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan.”
A romance blossoms but eventually the pair has to part. Lucy moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father. In The Geography of You and Me we get to follow Lucy and Owen as they maintain what comes to be a long distance romantic relationship through letters, postcards and emails until they are finally able to reunite again.
You can read the first 3 chapters of “The Geography of You and Me” on the Barnes and Noble website. Its also available for purchase as a Hardcover, Nook Book or Audiobook!
Author Jennifer Smith was kind enough to allow us to briefly interview her about her book and what inspired her to create a tale of two lovers in a long distance relationship. Here are her comments and thoughts.
How would you describe your book to new readers?
It’s a love story that begins when two teens get stuck in an elevator during a major blackout, and then end up spending a sort of magical night exploring the city together.
Soon after that, their lives take them in very different directions, but even though they’re halfway across the world from each other, their brief time together has left them wishing for more…
Who is your book’s target audience?
Technically, it’s a YA novel, so it’s geared toward teens, but one of my favorite things about this genre is the range in readership. I get notes from fans as young as ten and as old as sixty, which is a lot of fun.
How does The Geography of You and Me differ from some of your previous books?
Many of my novels have dealt with themes of fate and serendipity, as does this one, but this is the first time I’ve really explored a true long distance relationship, which was a bit of a narrative challenge, since it meant the two main characters were apart for much of the book.
What made you decide to write a book that explores what it’s like to be in a long distance relationship? Did you draw from any personal experience?
There’s a line in the book that says, “How long could a single night really be expected to last? How far could you stretch such a small collection of minutes?”. In many ways, that’s where the story started for me.
We all have these moments of connection, and these experiences that can feel almost out of time. But if distance becomes a factor, I think these questions get sort of amplified. When you spend a short but meaningful amount of time with someone, and then get separated, how do you make that last?
And no — oddly enough, I’ve never been in a long distance relationship myself. But friends of mine have, and I think having seen them go through it really helped in trying to capture the emotions involved.
Is there any special significance or meaning behind the book’s title?
This is one of those titles that came to me very early in the process. With all the traveling the characters do – Owen out west, and Lucy to Europe – it seemed like something with geography in it would be a natural fit.
•Would you say that you are similar to any of the characters in the story?
I think there’s always a little piece of me in my main characters, and in this case, particularly with Lucy. Her love of books, her yearning for travel, her strengths and insecurities – many of them are my own. But of course, we’re different in a lot of important ways, too. (For one thing, I’ve never gotten stuck in an elevator with a cute boy!)
If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to have play the main characters?
That’s such a hard question! I never know how to answer this, mostly because I feel like I’m a little bit clueless about actors who are around those ages. But it would be a dream come true to see Lucy and Owen up on the big screen…
What are a few of your own favorite books/authors?
There are so many – it’s hard to pick! For classics, I love The Great Gatsby and anything by Dickens.
For YA, I grew up reading books that were sad and sweet and full of heart, like Bridge to Terabithia and Where the Red Fern Grows, and I still tend to gravitate toward similar books now, like The Book Thief and Wonder and The Fault in Our Stars.
But I also read quite a lot on the adult side, and some of my favorite books are by authors such as Jennifer Egan, Richard Ford, Donna Tartt, Kate Atkinson, Michael Chabon, and David Mitchell. So, as you can see, it’s hard to narrow it down!
What is the one message you would like to convey to your readers?
I’m going to defer to E.B. White on this one, because I’ve always loved this quote of his: “All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.”
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To learn more about the Geography of You and Me and where you can purchase the book, Visit Jennifer’s official website!