Field Notes on Love
by Jennifer E. Smith
Our Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars)
Reviewed by: Rachel Maggard
This is a story all about how an 18 year old boy from England and an 18 year old girl from New York meet on a train traveling from New York to California.
Hugo is planning to go on a week long train trip from New York to California with his girlfriend. Unexpectedly, his girlfriend breaks up with him and, unfortunately, all of the tickets and reservations are in her name. Hugo’s siblings (he’s one of a sextuplet) comfort him by telling him not to worry because there are lots of Margaret Campbells in the world. They are, of course, implying there are many fish in the sea but this gives Hugo an idea. He desperately wants to go on this trip. He needs some alone time (again, he’s a sextuplet) and he wants to decide if he wants to go to the community college where he and his siblings have a free ride. Or does he want to go somewhere else? Do something else? Will he miss his brothers and sisters or will he revel in the freedom? So, Hugo puts out a want ad for a Margaret Campbell. He gives the details of the trip, promises that he’s not a serial killer and will get his own hotel room on the train stops, and he asks for anyone who’s interested to send in a resume. He doesn’t expect anyone to be crazy enough to answer his ad but he is surprised to be flooded with many interested Margaret Campbells.
Mae is a girl from New York who is an aspiring director. She has all of her hopes and dreams on getting into USC’s film school but, after entering a film that she loves and of which she is proud, she is devastated to be rejected. Her short-term boyfriend tells her that it is technically superb but not very personal. As summer is reaching its end, Mae and her boyfriend break up and Mae sees an ad for a free trip by train from New York to California. All that the person needs to do is apply and, also, have the name Margaret Campbell (her full name). She decides to apply and tells herself that this will give her some great life experience and, quite possibly, inspiration for her next movie for when she reapplies to film school.
Hugo receives Mae’s video resume and is intrigued. But, in the end, he plays it safe with an 80 year old Margaret Campbell and tells himself she is least likely to kill him in his sleep. Shortly before the trip is to begin, he gets notice from the 80 year old Margaret Campbell that she cannot go because she is having bunion surgery. He sends a desperate plea to Mae that she is his last hope and Mae decides to take the chance.
And so the story begins.
I am a sucker for a story with an interesting meet-cute, a romantic comedy, a summer love. This book has all three. It is the perfect book to read if you want to reminisce about the last weeks before heading off to college or if you are getting ready to go to college yourself for the first time or if you just enjoy a good love story. Hugo and Mae are both such likable characters and you can’t help but to cheer for them as they go on their adventure together and try to figure out what they want to do with this next chapter in their young lives. Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith is a perfect summer read and you should check it out!