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Field Notes on Love
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Field Notes on Love
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"Utterly romantic." —Jenny Han, NYT bestselling author of To All the Boys I've Loved BeforeThe bestselling author of Windfall and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight returns with a...
"Utterly romantic." —Jenny Han, NYT bestselling author of To All the Boys I've Loved BeforeThe bestselling author of Windfall and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight returns with a...
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  • "Utterly romantic." —Jenny Han, NYT bestselling author of To All the Boys I've Loved Before

    The bestselling author of Windfall and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight returns with a meet-cute romance about Hugo and Mae, two teens who are thrown together on a cross-country train trip that will teach them about love, each other, and the futures they can build for themselves.

    It's the perfect idea for a romantic week together: traveling across America by train.
    But then Hugo's girlfriend dumps him. Her parting gift: the tickets for their long-planned last-hurrah-before-uni trip. Only, it's been booked under her name. Nontransferable, no exceptions.
    Mae is still reeling from being rejected from USC's film school. When she stumbles across Hugo's ad for a replacement Margaret Campbell (her full name!), she's certain it's exactly the adventure she needs to shake off her disappointment and jump-start her next film.
    A cross-country train trip with a complete stranger might not seem like the best idea. But to Mae and Hugo, both eager to escape their regular lives, it makes perfect sense. What starts as a convenient arrangement soon turns into something more. But when life outside the train catches up to them, can they find a way to keep their feelings for each other from getting derailed?
    "One of the loveliest, most touching romances of 2019 thus far that gets at the nature of something deeply buried in all of our hearts." —Entertainment Weekly
    "This warm, romantic, never overly sentimental story is told with humor and heart....A deeply satisfying read about a life-changing journey full of poignant moments." —Kirkus, starred review

Excerpts-

  • From the book Hugo

    The shock of it takes a few minutes to absorb. During that time, Hugo sits with his head bent, his fingers laced behind his neck, trying to process the fact that Margaret Campbell—­his girlfriend of nearly three years—­is breaking up with him.

    "You know I'll always love you," she says, then adds, "in a way."

    Hugo winces at this. But Margaret seems determined to forge ahead.

    "The thing is," she says, and he lifts his head, interested to find out what—­precisely—­it is, this thing that's apparently happening. She gazes back at him with something like sympathy. "You can't stay with someone only out of inertia, right?"

    It's clear the correct answer here is "Right." But Hugo can't bring himself to say it. He just continues to stare at her, wishing his brain weren't quite so muddled.

    "I know you must feel the same way," she continues. "Things have been off between us for ages now. It's obvious that it's not working—­"

    "Is it?" Hugo asks, and Margaret gives him a weary look. But he's not trying to be cheeky. It's just that none of this seems particularly obvious to him, and his face prickles with warmth as he wonders how he managed to get it all so wrong.

    "Hugo. Come on. It's been hard enough when we're right across the road from each other. We must be barking mad to think we can do this when I'm all the way in California and you're—­"

    She stops abruptly, and they both blink at each other.

    "Here," he says eventually, his voice flat.

    Margaret sighs. "See, that's just it. Maybe if you'd stop acting like getting a scholarship to a perfectly good uni is the worst thing that's ever happened to anyone in the history of—­"

    "I'm not."

    "You are."

    "I'm—­"

    "Hugo," she says, interrupting him. "You've been in terrible form all summer. I'm not the only one who's noticed. I realize this isn't what you wanted, but at some point you just have to . . . well, get on with it, I suppose."

    He scratches at his knee, unable to look at her. She's right, and they both know it, but the fact of this makes him want to crawl under the bed to avoid the rest of the conversation.

    "Listen, I get it," she says, playing with the end of her blond ponytail. "If things were different, this wouldn't have been your first choice."

    This is only half-­true. Hugo certainly wouldn't have minded trying for Oxford or Cambridge or St. Andrews, all of which would've been options had his A levels been the only consideration. But the University of Surrey is highly regarded too. It's more that he never had a choice in the matter, that his path was set out for him long ago, and something about that has always made him feel like an animal at the zoo, penned in and pacing and a bit claustrophobic.

    "But if things were different," Margaret continues, "you wouldn't have been offered the scholarship at all."

    She says this as if it were nothing, an incidental detail, and not the very thing Hugo has been torturing himself over for years now. Because he didn't get a scholarship to the University of Surrey for being a brilliant essayist (which he is) or a maths genius (which he's not). He didn't get it for his skills as a pianist (though he's decent) or his ability on the football pitch (he's completely rubbish). It's not the result of any particular skill or talent or accomplishment.

    No, Hugo got the scholarship—­as did his five siblings—­simply for being born.

    The minute they arrived in the world—­one after another, Hugo bringing up the...

About the Author-

  • Jennifer E. Smith is the author of eight novels for young adults, including 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 lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @JenESmith or visit her at jenniferesmith.com.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2018
    Hugo Wilkinson, one of the "Surrey Six" sextuplets from Surrey, England, has been looking forward to a train trip across America with his girlfriend, Margaret Campbell. It would be a rare moment away from his siblings and the public scrutiny that will only get worse when they all enter university on a scholarship from a wealthy alumnus. But Hugo is blindsided when Margaret breaks up with him and he realizes her name is the only one on all their nonrefundable, nontransferable tickets and reservations. Margaret "Mae" Campbell lives in Hudson Valley, New York, with two loving gay dads and a doting Nana and was rejected by her dream film school. Discovering Hugo's post seeking another Margaret Campbell to travel with, she applies to join him. After some initial awkwardness, the two form a connection. Hugo is loyal to his siblings, but he secretly wants something different for himself. Mae, who appears confident, has kept a part of herself hidden. As they travel, she interviews passengers, and their revelations spark a change in her. This warm, romantic, never overly sentimental story is told with humor and heart, the cinematic narrative easily moving between the two likable, charming protagonists. The well-portrayed supporting cast members, especially Hugo's siblings and Mae's Nana, appear in texts and video calls, providing insight into the protagonists. Hugo is biracial (black and white), and Mae is white.A deeply satisfying read about a life-changing journey full of poignant moments. (Romance. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2019

    Gr 9 Up-Eighteen-year-old Hugo Wilkerson is one of the famous sixtuplets born in Surrey, England, where his childhood has been a series of publicity events. Now he is ambivalent about starting school at the local university, which has given the Wilkerson siblings a full scholarship in exchange for ongoing interviews. When Hugo's girlfriend, Margaret, breaks up with him, she urges him to go without her on the cross-country train trip they had planned in America. Because the tickets are in her name and non-transferable, he posts an ad online looking for another Margaret Campbell to be his travel companion. When Mae, an aspiring filmmaker from New York, and rising freshman at the University of Southern California, sends Hugo a short film in response, she has no idea what she's getting herself into. The two teenagers meet at New York City's Penn Station as awkward strangers, and set out on a week-long adventure across the country that brings them joy and heartache. Smith's novel is a feel-good, page-turning romance. The charming British characteristics of Hugo contrast humorously with Mae's tough-girl New York grit, making delightful drama. The author explores what it means to seek independence, while still clinging to childhood comforts. The intriguing backdrop of train travel gives the story a nostalgic mood, perfect for the soul-searching that the two teens engage in. VERDICT A highly readable and enjoyable choice for libraries serving teens, especially those with a demand for literary romance.-Karin Greenberg, Manhasset High School, Manhasset, NY

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus Reviews, starred review "This warm, romantic, never overly sentimental story is told with humor and heart....A deeply satisfying read about a life-changing journey full of poignant moments."
  • Entertainment Weekly "Romance novels can titillate, inspire, intoxicate, and more--but then sometimes they reach in and touch something essential in you. Jennifer E. Smith's Field Notes on Love is a YA romance that does just that....[it] is one of the loveliest, most touching romances of 2019 thus far that gets at the nature of something deeply buried in all of our hearts."
  • Booklist "Hugo and Mae's alternating viewpoints are rich and introspective, and this will appeal to any teen that appreciates a thoughtful love story."

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