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

This is What Happy Looks Like cover“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?”

This review is pretty late going up: I read this one over Easter when I was away in Spain, and it was the kind of book I didn’t want to end.

I read a book by this author a while ago – The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – and whilst I’d enjoyed that a lot, it left me feeling a bit disappointed, because I wanted more; I was worried this one would be the same.

It wasn’t.

I thought the premise of this was great – Ellie and Graham accidentally get in touch with each other via email, but start to get to know each other anyway. The twist? Graham is the latest teen actor heartthrob, and he’s coming to Ellie’s town to film a movie. This whole small-town-girl meets super-hot-super-famous movie star could’ve come off as a major cliché and with a predictable ending: but I thought Smith did a fantastic job of blowing me away with this book.

I was hooked from their first emails, and was kept on the edge of my seat. I felt that Ellie came off as sincere and reacted like any teenage girl would in her situation, and Graham was surprisingly down-to-earth and facing his own issues as a teenager, too. I also liked that Ellie had issues outside of her relationship with Graham: I was kept hanging for a while wondering just why she and her mom had left their old home and started up in this new town, and just what had happened with her out-of-the-picture dad. That subplot added a whole other layer of depth to the story, taking it from easy-breezy poolside read to ‘Holy crap it’s late but I can’t go to sleep yet, I need to know what happens here’.

The writing was great, the characters were well-developed and realistic, and the story was absolutely brilliant. I’d definitely recommend!


leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s