Title: This is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Date(s) read: March 19 – 21, 2013
Genre: YA contemporary
Source: Publisher / Netgalley
If fate sent you an email, would you answer?
When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O’Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.
Then Graham finds out that Ellie’s Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?
Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for providing me a copy of this book for review!
For the longest time, I’ve been hearing so many fantastic things about Jennifer E. Smith, mainly about her book The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. The book had always caught my eye whenever I saw its cover, but I admit that I had never really thought to read it. It wasn’t until I received a copy of This is What Happy Looks Like from the publisher, read it, and fell in love with it that I immediately bought a copy of TSPoLaFS (seriously long title — it must be shortened!) because I had to have MORE of Jennifer’s writing.
This story grabbed me from the first pages. I loved the premise about two people meeting through emails — kind of like You’ve Got Mail — like an accidental meet cute. Well, that and the cover completely grabbed me. It just screamed HAPPY ROMANCE BOOK that I knew I needed it in my life. I was so insanely happy to be reading this that I’m sure I had a smile plastered on my face for the majority of it.
First of all, the main characters. Ellie is just your normal teenage girl who lives with her mom and has a normal life (with one secret that neither of them can get over) and Graham is a boy who had a normal life until he became a movie star. A movie star! I mean, how perfect is that? I loved that Graham could see glimpses of the life he kind of wished he had in Ellie’s life. Between that and the lovely Maine setting, it was something that he hadn’t had since he became a movie star. And really, the two of them got along brilliantly. It wasn’t easy, but definitely a real life meeting between two people who feel like they’ve known each other for a really long time.
I completely swooned through a LOT of this novel. There are some majorly cute things that happen that had my heart going, leaving me to know that this will be a novel I’ll come back to in years to come. It was a romance, but still had some depth to it, and then some fun on top of that — a perfect mix of all the things I love.
There were only a few things that I didn’t really like in the story, one of them being the fact that a LOT of people recognized Graham wherever he went. I get that he’s a movie star, but I mean, they’re not made of gold. I would like to think that unless you’re really looking or unless you’re extremely infatuated, you won’t notice. At least, I probably wouldn’t. And yet it seemed like almost everyone Graham met was going to fall at his feet. Perhaps it was to set off the indifference that Ellie felt? The last third of the novel, part two of the story, was also something I didn’t totally agree with. I don’t want to talk about it and ruin the story, but the thing that happens just didn’t seem right and didn’t sit well with me.
I am so happy to have started reading Jennifer’s books — I can’t wait to dig into TSPoLaFS one day soon. I know it’ll make the perfect summer read — just like this one, which seemed to brighten up the snowy Spring. Jennifer has such a great way with words, letting a story flow from the first page until the very end, when you realize you’ve read the whole story through in one sitting without realizing it. My favourite kind of book!