This Is What Happy Looks Like
by Jennifer E. Smith
Publish Date: April 2, 2013
Find it here: Goodreads / Amazon / B&N
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? (from Goodreads)
I went into This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith expecting to fall in love with it like I fell in love with The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, which is the last book that I read by this author. While I did not love it to the same degree, I did like it a lot.
Here are some things about it:
- Setting. Small town Maine really came to life in this summer story, and it was a bonus for me that the setting was coastal. I loved that Graham really fell for the small town life too – city-boy that he is – because it made the setting far more part of the story than just a story element.
- Opposites Attract. I liked Ellie; I liked Graham. I liked how they were different, how they came from different worlds. I liked how they complemented one another despite their differences. I tend to enjoy the “opposites attract” romances, and in this case the characterization was great.
- Friends vs. Romance. The way the “relationship” between Ellie and Graham begins is fun, albeit perhaps a little bit unlikely. Pen pal friendships are super-neat – I really love them. But when the two took their friendship to a romance, though, it was very slow-to-progress and stayed on a very light level.
- Happy & Light. This book is not the fluffiest book I’ve ever read, but it is definitely on the lighter end of the contemporary spectrum. There is some substance to it, sure, because it tackles friendship issues and parenting issues and socioeconomic issues. However, this book is one that I would recommend to people that are looking for beach/summer/pool reads or books to squish between heavy/long reads because I never felt bogged down by anything and it just made me HAPPY, which was the entire point, I think.
Final Thoughts: I think that there was more of an emphasis on happiness than on romance, which is completely okay. When I mentioned the term courtship earlier, what I meant was that the romance felt more like it was in the stages of development throughout the book to me – or perhaps like it was on the younger end of the YA spectrum? At any rate, I still enjoyed this book a great deal, particularly with the great setting and characterization.
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