Smith’s novel ‘Field Notes on Love’ will entertain some, leave others disappointed


“Field Notes on Love” written by Jennifer E. Smith is a quick paced and heartwarming story of self-discovery, personal growth and new beginnings. Full of humor, romance and raw emotion, Smith crafts a story that explores what to do when you want to wander off the beaten path.

Hugo Wilkinson got his heart broken by his girlfriend, Margaret Campbell, right before they planned to take a cross country trip from New York to California, leaving Hugo with two tickets that he cannot use because they are under Margaret’s name and nontransferable. Desperate to get out of his hometown, Hugo finds a girl with the same name as Margaret to go on the trip instead. When meeting the new Margaret, they instantly have a bond that drives them to step out of their comfort zones and become the people they were always meant to be. 

The Gateway nominee was enjoyable, albeit not revolutionary. The plot is unique and interesting, though I couldn’t quite get behind the seemingly instantaneous love story. I may be cynical, but the ending was far too idyllic for my tastes. With a theme of growing up and following your heart, it could have been an important read for many teenagers that struggle with feeling that their options are limited, though it seemed to fall flat of being something inspirational for teens. Growing up is harsh, especially in the transition from high school to college, and the novel didn’t represent the true teenager experience. That being said, the novel depicts a very pure kind of love that every reader can relate to. The characters are also strongly developed and diverse. They go through triumphs and hardships, but they never let anything get in the way of their goals. 

If you’re looking for a quick-read with a clean ending and fluffy plot, this book is for you. If you’re looking for a book that will help you through one of the toughest phases of your life, my most honest recommendation would be to keep searching.