Tuesday, September 3, 2013

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

Title: This is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Published: April 4th 2013 - Headline
Source: Publisher

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? 

Just as they did in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the hands of fate intervene in wondrous ways in this YA novel that delivers on high concept romance in lush and thoughtful prose. 

                               My Thoughts

One email. One pet pig. One small town girl. One celebrity.. Equals one happy and dreamy love story.

Once I started reading the first few pages of This is What Happy Looks Like, I just can’t seem to stop. There is definitely something special with Smith’s writing because readers will surely be engaged while turning the pages. I cannot imagine exchanging emails with someone I don’t know anything about, but in the case of Ellie and Graham, they totally made it into something that’s effortlessly sweet. Of course they still had some boundaries, no personal questions and no specifics, but their conversations were touching and inspiring. I thought that reading their exchange was going to be weird and awkward but boy, I was wrong.
I know that the probability of this happening in real life is zero, but then, I can’t help but fall in love with what Smith has written. We have two main characters, Ellie and Graham, who are both equally adorable in their own little ways. Graham is an overnight star while Ellie is just a small town girl helping her mom make a living. I love the fact that Graham’s character wasn’t the usual cocky actor type. He genuinely loves what he does but sometimes, he can’t help but feel lonely about it. In the past, he used to have a very open relationship with his friends and family, but because of his busy schedule and of the constant change in locations of his projects, they’ve all grown apart. He used to talk to his parents about everything, but that also changed. Both of them also didn’t like travelling too, so they only had little time to see each other. Plus, there were moments when Graham also felt like he was just being used by other people, because he’s in the limelight and people just wanted to get close to him because of that and for his connections.

As for Ellie, I think that even though she doesn’t live a lavish lifestyle, she’s already very contented with what she has. Plus, I love that she also knows what she wants to do in life and she will do anything to achieve her goals especially when it comes to her future career. I think that it was so cute seeing her and Graham together because who in the world would know that someone as famous as him would go to Maine just to get close to her and know more about her? That is a perfect and classic love story there, people.

I also liked the character of Quinn, because she’s a true friend to Ellie. Even though they had their fights about some things, the moment the one needs the other, they won’t hesitate to help. Now, that is called being mature.

This is What Happy Looks Like is a lighthearted book that will leave readers smiling from the beginning up to the end of the story. Smith has this unbelievable ability to turn a typical love story into something extraordinary. Get ready to be charmed by the adorable Graham Larkin and Wilbur, his pet pig, who started it all. ;)

My Rating

Have you guys read this book? Tell me what you think in the comments! :)


  1. You've made me really curious about this book, but I really didn't like The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight, so I'm hesitant to give this one a try. Smith's writing didn't really work for me and her characters weren't that interesting in that one. But this one sounds like it might be one that I do consider reading.

    Great Review :)

  2. So glad you liked this book. Jen is one of my favorite writers, and while you are so right, this story is improbable (or just a dream come true!), she did a great job with the story.

    I'm glad you mentioned Quinn. I forgot to in my review but she was a very good friend, and they had a realistic share of ups and downs which I appreciated a ton.

    Wouldn't this make a cute movie?

  3. I love this book so much I can't even review it. I'm so envious of you because I still can't put my feelings into words. Pigs! <3 Great review as always!

  4. This sounds like such a sweet book! I can't wait to read it! Awesome review!

  5. Great review! I have had this one on my TBR for awhile, I'll need to push it up!


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