July 07, 2014

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

Title: This Is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Published: April 2, 2013
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Hardcover: 416 pgs

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When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two 17-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 cannot get enough of author, Jennifer E. Smith! She has this incredible way of making me sigh with joy and fall in love over and over again. (Click here to read my reviews of The Geography of You and Me and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.

This Is What Happy Looks Like follows the love story of two teenagers who couldn't be further apart (both geographically and personality-wise). They meet by chance because of accidental email and they just decide to keep on writing each other. One, a heart-throb actor from L.A. and the other, a loner girl from middle-of-nowhere Maine. Seriously...read the first chapter of this book and you'll be hooked on their emails alone!

Now, normally, I don't like when books write dialogue through emails or texts, but for this one, I'll make anexception. The emails are not only a great way for Smith to show off her wit and humor, but they also stand to show us exactly what our characters are thinking. The emails are their deepest thoughts -- those words that you can't quite say out loud, but are more easily written down. It's like another window into their relationship and it is so fun to look through.

Ellie and Graham's relationship is adorable. I love the fact that they don't just fall in love out of nowhere (since they've technically been writing each other for months) and that at first, they don't even recognize one another. It is so true to life. They also come to terms with reality a lot sooner than you'd expect. Graham being a movie star, Ellie knows that she'd essentially have to be in the spotlight all the time - something she's definitely not comfortable with.

For a 31 year old woman like me, this book was adorable but filled with a little too much teenage drama for my taste. But for everyone 25 and younger, it'll be perfect! The teenage drama is just so authentic and makes for great reading. I just wanted more of Grahman and Lucy and not so much of the side characters (Ellie's father and best friend or Graham's agent).

I definitely recommend this book, as I do all of Jennifer E Smith's novels.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars!


  1. I carried this book home last summer and it sat on a pile unread. Now I need to find it again and really read it. I enjoyed The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight so I am sure I would find this book fun, too.

  2. I enjoyed The Statistical. It wasn't my favorite but I thought it was very fast paced and adorable! I've been wanting to read this for a while.


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