9 Aug 2012

AAA: Jennifer E. Smith, author of Statistical Probability: Top 5 Books That Changed My World

For today's AAA post we welcome Jennifer E. Smith, who is the author of four YA novels. She is best known for The Statistical Probability of Love at First, which released earlier this year and has received high praise from authors including Susane Colasanti, Elizabeth Scott, Sarah Mlynowski, Margaret Stohl, along with readers from around the globe. And for all you fans out there, get excited because Jennifer is releasing another novel called, This Is What Happy Looks Like (hopefully!) next year! Read on to find out which five books changed Jennifer's world. Please give a warm welcome to: Jennifer E. Smith!
Top Five Books That Changed My World

When I first started making this list, I didn’t intend for the whole thing to be children’s books. In addition to writing YA, I’m also an editor of books for adults, and there are countless “grown up” novels that have had a profound effect on me over the years: The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, just to name a very few. And that’s not even getting into the classics like The Great Gatsby, Our Mutual Friend, and The Grapes of Wrath, some of my all-time favorites.

But when you talk about books that change your world, it’s hard not to think about children’s books. Obviously a big part of this is that reading as a kid is a very different experience than reading as an adult. You’re discovering all of these amazing works for the first time. But it can’t all be chalked up to that, since some of these are books that I read for the first time as an adult. There’s just something about them, I guess. In my book, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, there’s a line that says: “The stories had become a part of her by then; they stuck to her bones like a good meal, bloomed inside of her like a garden.” And that’s how I feel about each of these:

1. Harry Potter
I could list every single book in the series individually here, because each one of them holds such an important place in my library, but taken as a whole, they obviously packed a huge punch for me. I don’t know that we’ll ever experience anything like it again. This series was such a gift.

2. Matilda
I think any voracious reader can relate to this one. It speaks to the book nerd in all of us, celebrating a love of reading in the most wonderfully oddball and zany way.

3. Charlotte’s Web
I’m a huge fan of E.B. White. One of my all time favorite quotes of his says, “All I hope to say in my writing – all I ever hope to say – is that I love the world.” And that’s exactly what he did with Charlotte’s Web. The very last line of the book is my favorite: “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” I love that. It still makes me a little teary-eyed.

4. Where the Red Fern Grows
Speaking of teary-eyed, this book makes me weep every single time I read it. Whenever I tell people it’s one of my favorites, I think they find it a little bit odd, since it’s so sad. But it’s much more than that too. As a kid, it taught me so much about loyalty and friendship and hard work and love. And it made me wish desperately for a hound dog of my own. It took awhile, but I’m now the proud owner of a very sweet and slightly crazy beagle. And though he went through a pretty bad book-eating phase, he had the good sense not to touch my old seventh grade copy of this novel, which is still on my shelf today.

5. The Book Thief
It took me an embarrassingly long time to come to this book, though of course I’d heard all the wonderful praise. I only just read it a few months ago, but I can’t stop talking about it, and even more than that, I can’t stop thinking about it. As someone who walks the line between the world of children’s books and adult ones, it’s always so wonderful when you find a novel that appeals to both audiences. And for good reason: this book taps into something sorrowful and beautiful and pure. It’s a gorgeous window into an awful piece of history, and it twists at your heart in such a visceral way. There’s a scene toward the end with Liesl and Rudy, which I won’t ruin for anyone, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to read it since finishing the book. This one is the newest addition to the books that have changed my world, but I have a feeling it will stay with me for a very long time.
Find Jennifer on: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Thanks so much Jennifer for stopping by and sharing this wonderful 'Top 5' post with us! If you’re fan of Jennifer’s books don’t forget to take the time to appreciate her and say ‘thanks’.

Don't forget to go enter the AAA giveaway! It's open internationally, and there are DOZENS of books to be given away!


  1. I love these author posts! So great to hear about books that have inspired/made an impact in an author's life. Also, I've been meaning to read Statistical Improbability, so this is a great reminder. Thank you Rebecca and Jennifer for a fabulous post!

    1. It makes me so happy to hear you say that! I finished Statistical Probability last night and LOVED it! I really hope you get a hold of a copy soon, and when you do, enjoy it as much as I did! Thanks for yet another great comment, Kristen!

  2. Oh WOW, this is such a great post!

    I haven't had the chance to read Statistical Probability yet but it is high on my to-read list. This list is awesome. (I even like her adult list up there.) She sounds like a cool, cool person just based on the books she likes to read and it is super-cool that she likes Matilda (one of my favorites, ever).

    Great post, Rebecca and Jennifer! Love it!