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Book Review: This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This Is What Happy Looks LikeTitle: This Is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Series: Standalone
Pages:  416
Publisher: Headline
Date of Publication: 4th April 2013
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

In This is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith's new YA novel, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O'Neill meet—albeit virtually—when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic movies like "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle," the two 17-year-olds strike up an email relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don't even know each other's first names.

Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don't tell each other everything; Graham doesn't know the major secret hidden in Ellie's family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles.

When the location for the shoot of Graham's new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie's mom want her to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

My Thoughts:
YOU GUYS THIS BOOK IS SO ADORABLE! Seriously, I absolutely love love loved it. I devoured it in one day, completely by accident - all 416 pages of it. Perfection on the page, right here.

I read Jennifer's previous book, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, and enjoyed it but thought it was a little rushed, so when I saw that This Is What Happy Looks Like was a good 400 pages I couldn't wait to jump in and start it, so that's exactly what I did. The book begins with an email conversation between a boy and a girl, about a pet pig. Awesome right? From the very beginning it was super, super adorable and I just knew that I would absolutely adore it. I just had a feeling...

After the first few pages of emails, the actual book starts, and each chapter begins with a new email. It was different and a really great way to add another layer to the story. I love things like this in books, especially in contemporaries. It just adds reality and helped to drive the plot, which was fast paced but not rushed. It moved along at the perfect pace and I could really imagine this summer romance playing out... Aww it's just so perfect! (Sorry, there could be a lot of that here...)

I really like Ellie. I think one of the things that Jennifer E Smith is best at, apart from writing adorable romances (obviously), is creating believable and realistic characters. Ellie was down-to-earth and very normal, and because of this I could empathise with her. She didn't fall straight for Graham, despite his obvious movie star attractiveness, so it was clear she had her head screwed on nice and tight and I loved that about her. There's nothing worse than a ridiculous main character, seriously. Anyway ;)

Graham was so cute. He wasn't the cocky, obnoxious and spoilt-rotten movie star that I was worried he would be, and I absolutely adored that he hated the paparazzi and I loved finding out about how he felt about being a star. I guess I'd never really thought properly about what it must really be like to be a movie star - to be constantly followed by cameras and never having anything in your life secret must be really difficult and it was really cool the way he dealt with the press and the cameras when he was with Ellie. How Olivia loved it, and welcomed the attention, I have NO idea at all. It makes me shiver, just thinking about it.

Lastly, I also felt that the way Jennifer E Smith dealt with Ellie and Quinn's relationship and the friendship they had was extremely realistic and I was actually kind of glad (in a weird way) that they didn't resolve their differences immediately, because that's not how real teenage girls are, as much as I wish they were (me included, I'm no hypocrite). We hold grudges over stupid things and don't want to be the first to apologise, so hats off to Jennifer for getting that so right. In the end though when it was all worked out I was super happy and even a little jealous of Ellie for having a friend as great as Quinn turned out to be.

This Is What Happy Looks Like is so adorably perfect and I cannot recommend it to you enough. I can find no faults. Please, go and pick up a copy as it is the perfect summer read and I can promise you, you will not be disappointed.


  1. I loved this a whole lot more than I did TSPOLAFS. There was so much more to it, especially the characterisation of Ellie. And you're defintiely right about it being a perfect summer read.

  2. I LOVE adorable books! :D I'm so glad you enjoyed this one because I have it for review, and now I'm even more excited to read it. Great review!

    Zoe @ Bookhi


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