Title/Author: This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher/Year: Poppy on April 2, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Other Books by Author: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, The Storm Makers, The Comeback Season, and You are Here
How I got this Book: Purchased
Summary From Goodreads: 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?
I read this book as part of the Spring into Summer Read-Along, and it was perfect… for that. It was a good book to lead into summer, because it was a very quick read (despite it being 400+ pages), and it was very light and predictable. This book was, to me, not as good as Jennifer’s other book The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, although I still enjoyed it.
The book started off with a really cute email exchange between Ellie and Graham, although at this point neither of them know who the other is. I thought that the premise for this book, which all started with that email exchange prologue, was quite creative! It’s very possible that someone could email the wrong person, and then easily strike up a conversation with them. Also, who doesn’t want that person to turn out to be a famous movie star!! Unfortunately, I thought that this concept could have been taken farther than it was, and could have been a little bit less predictable.
Ellie was a good main character, who knows what she wants and works hard to get it. She also has a good relationship with her mother, with the exception of the topic of her father. There is a bit of a sub-plot in the beginning regarding Ellie’s father, which pick up in the second half of the book and becomes part of the main plot. I liked the bit about Ellie’s father, and I understand that it was essential to Graham and Ellie’s relationship, but I do not agree with the fact that it was practically just dropped, out of the blue! The way the media in the story dealt with this was truly not how something like this would go down in real life.
I also Graham as a character too. He wasn’t my favourite, and there weren’t too many swoonworthy things about him, but I can appreciate the fact that he didn’t let his fame get to his head, and remained “normal” after being thrust into the spotlight. As for secondary characters, this book leaves a lot to be desired. With the exception of Quinn, Ellie’s best friend, we see veryyyyy few other secondary characters. To me, these characters are important, as they can reveal even more about the MCs.
Lastly, I just wanted to point out that I love how Ellie named her Beagle Bagel, and that I want a pet pig like Graham and have ever since I saw the movie Uptown Girls. Also, I adored the setting! Ellie’s little town sounds so quaint, and sort of reminds me of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls!
This book was good, but not great. It was perfect for a light read to ring in Summer-time. It was a little too predictable for my liking, and I agree with Betty in the fact that it was quite cheesy.
“How can you know it makes you happy if you’ve never experienced it?”
“There are different kinds of happy,” she said. “Some kinds don’t need any proof.”
Have you read This is WHat Happy Looks Like? Did you like it? Have you read anything else by Jennifer Smith? Do you have any creative pet names?