Review: This is What Happy Looks Like

Posted April 3, 2015 / Book Reviews / 6 Comments

Review: This is What Happy Looks LikeThis Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Series: This Is What Happy Looks Like #1
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Hachette on April 2nd 2013
Also by this author: Happy Again, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Summer Days & Summer Nights, Windfall, Field Notes on Love
Format: Hardcover (416 pages) • Source: Library
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three-half-stars

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?

thoughts

There really wasn’t anything bad about this book, but it was super in the middle of the road for me. I liked the characters, premise, and writing style, but it wasn’t anything particularly exceptional. With contemporary, my main concern is the swoons. If it’s a book about a couple getting together, I kind of want to SEE the couple together and FEEL their relationship grow. Beware that this review is A LITTLE SPOILERY. I won’t ruin anything major, but there’s really no way to explain my problems with the book without talking about the main thing that had me feeling “meh.”

The set-up of the book is that Graham, a celebrity heartthrob movie star, accidentally emails Ellie, a regular girl who lives in a small Maine town. The two of them spend quite a few months emailing back and forth and essentially end up falling for each other. She doesn’t have any idea that he’s actually a celebrity, and she has some skeletons in her closet as well. View Spoiler »He comes to her town to film a movie and the two of them start hanging out.

My issues:
  1. It feels like insta-love. Even though they’ve been talking for months, he seems to be blown away by her immediately and their relationship takes off without a hitch. I get that there’s the whole background setup of them talking for a while, but the reader doesn’t get to experience any of that!
  2. They spend half of the book apart. Because of her family issues and him being a celebrity, there’s a huge portion of the book where they aren’t together. They’re not even really interacting at all. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SHIP THEM???
  3. There aren’t enough friendship feels either. All the drama with Graham apparently creates an issue with her best friend. I don’t even remember the part where they even got into the fight but I remember thinking that the whole thing was dumb as hell. Again, this happened pretty early on too, so there wasn’t any build-up of their friendship either.
  4. There wasn’t enough closure – about anything. View Spoiler » UGH.

In general, the characters were cute and I wanted them to be together. I just didn’t feel like I got enough time with them or even got to see their relationship develop. The book was too long with just not enough in it. I would have rather spent the first quarter of the book reading their email chain, so at least I could see the build-up of the relationship. Maybe it’s a pacing issue?

TL;DR: Pacing issues aside, this was a cute book. Good for younger readers but not as highly recommended for older YA lovers who dislike insta-love.

rating report

plot premise  four-stars characterss  four-stars writing style  four-half-stars pacing  four-stars feels swoons  two-half-stars addiction  three-stars

6 responses to “Review: This is What Happy Looks Like

  1. I get where you’re coming from with this book. Although I liked it. I mostly liked it tho because it was just light and simple and fun – and that’s what I needed to read at that point! 🙂

    Jill the OWL recently posted: OWL Notes
  2. This book had sort of a cutesy made for tv family movie to me. Very tame, sweet, and not a ton of relationship development (which I find strange since in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight it’s much more developed, and that book takes place over just a 24 hour period!) However, I am still excited to read the new novella that follows the characters after this book, so hopefully there will be more closure!

    Cristina @ Girl in the Pages recently posted: Pardon the Dust!

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