I hesitate to say The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith is “not your typical YA love story” because, in a lot of ways, it kind of is. Two teenagers meet by chance and immediately fall in love, more of less. Their relationship faces certain obstacles which serve to bring them closer to each other. It’s light and breezy and overall a fun read.
The difference is that the main characters, Lucy and Owen, spend most of the book apart from one another. The story focuses on their individual stories as they travel and grow.
The traveling is what made me fall in love with this book. The two started in New York City (*heart eyes*) and then traveled in opposite directions. Owen went west, ending up in Seattle and Lucy moved to London after traveling through most of Western Europe. Since the story focused on their individual travels, it showed off their individual development. When they came together in the end, it felt more like a beginning than an ending.
Instead of the relationship carrying the story and being used to develop the characters, the characters develop on their own and give the relationship an emotional weight that is deeply rooted in the individuals. Despite lacking a base setting, between the characters and the writing, the reader is never lost.
It’s an easy read, and it leaves the reader with a warm-fuzzy feeling, but it also makes you think about the world as a whole and travel as a life-changing phenomenon. You become invested in the characters and their development. The relationship is secondary, only important because it makes them happy, but it’s still well-done. It’s definitely in my top 10 as far as YA goes…but god, does it make me want to travel again…