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Editorial Content for Field Notes on Love

Contributors

Reviewer (text)

Ryan H., Teen Board Member

British-born Hugo has had his life mapped out for him since the day he was born: he will attend his town’s University with his five other brothers and sisters. He is the youngest of a set of sextuplets and has always longed for something more: to get away and be his own person outside of the group. Unfortunately, Hugo was just dumped by his girlfriend a few weeks before they were supposed to embark on a train ride across the United States together.

"I am constantly blown away by [Smith's] simplistic yet detailed writing style. [FIELD NOTES ON LOVE] does not disappoint."

In comes Mae Campbell, an aspiring filmmaker, who was just rejected from her dream school’s film program. Despite this, Mae is looking for a new film to produce, something that will expand her horizons because she is convinced that was the reason why she was denied. Much to Hugo’s dismay, the train tickets were bought under his ex-girlfriends name, Margaret Campbell, and are non-transferable. On a whim, Hugo decides to offer a spare ticket online to any Margaret Campbell, and to his luck, Mae jumps at the opportunity to go on an adventure and get material for her next film.

I have had the opportunity to read all of Smith’s novels, and I am constantly blown away by her simplistic yet detailed writing style. This one does not disappoint. Her cultivation of the main characters, Hugo and Mae, but also the side characters, leads me to feel like I actually know them as people; she meticulously details their hopes, fears, aspirations, personality characteristics, etc. The reader is able to watch Hugo and all of his five siblings and parents interact, and she captures the supportive, loyal, loving relationship they have. Smith lived a few years of her life in the United Kingdom, and this is apparent with the numerous details she utilizes to describe Hugo’s home, packed with British words and their dialect. We are also able to get a glimpse of Mae’s family dynamic, with her two dads, and her grandmother who served as the sole female role model in her life.

Among many aspects of this story that I adored, the one I treasure the most is that this journey opened both Hugo and Mae’s eyes to new places, people and feelings. As the novel progresses, Mae has an epiphany that she will interview other passengers on the train, who are of varying demographics and use the material to create a film. To keep the interviews consistent, Mae asks the subjects three questions, two of which were taken from Hugo’s first correspondence with her and the third: what is love? In the end, Mae’s own definition of love begins to change while Hugo makes a critical decision about his future.

Highly recommended to any young adult reader who is searching for a quick, light novel to read, with hints of romance, trains and pizza. Smith has outdone herself again!

Teaser

When Hugo's girlfriend dumps him, her parting gift is the pair of tickets for their long-planned last-hurrah-before-uni trip --- booked under her name. Meanwhile, 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. 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?

Promo

When Hugo's girlfriend dumps him, her parting gift is the pair of tickets for their long-planned last-hurrah-before-uni trip --- booked under her name. Meanwhile, 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. 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?

About the Book

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?

A Junior Library Guild Selection