March 28, 2013

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

Title: This is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: April 2nd, 2013
Publisher: Poppy
Page Count: 416
Source: Borrowed from Michelle
Rating: ★★★★
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? 

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Ellie get an email from a stranger. They talk. They share STUFF. They become friends. And it's not creepy. Because the stranger, or G, has a pig named Wilbur. I mean, that's not the only reason. But yeah, let's go with it. Anyway, G turns out to be a Hollywood Star who Ellie is NOT INTERESTED IN. Until she finds out he's G. After that, things get PHENOMENALLY ADORABLE. I just want to huggles this book forever and so should all of you.

Let's break this down:

The plot of this story takes a whole bunch of cliche story lines and builds up to a whole bunch of awesome. I mean, we've all read/watched the internet love story, the celebrity who falls in love with the Regular John/Jane and the quirky teenage love story, but, like a good mashup, when all these plots are pulled together in JUST THE RIGHT WAY, it's totally amazing. I also really liked that the romance was there from the VERY start. There's no agonizing build. It's more about the drama of the relationship and the troubles (personal and otherwise) Graham and Ellie have to overcome in order to be together than anything else.

I think my only complaint about the plot is the Ellie's father's plot. I'm not going to spoil anything for you guys, but I will say it got kind of convoluted and didn't really get resolved, in my opinion. I think the plot line itself contributed a crucial element and the whole story wouldn't have worked so much without it (I also didn't see it coming, which was nice), but that bit fell kind of flat for me - especially after all the build up and importance given to it.

And now to talk about Ellie and Graham: I LOVE THEM. I LOOOOOVE THEM. I just want to read about them snuggling together forever and ever - even though this book is one of those books with an ending that implies that MAYBE these two crazy cats don't stay together forever. Which I like, because hey, that's reality, but it also makes me want to stomp my feet like a five year old because they're so ca-yuuuuute together.

But I don't just love Ellie and Graham. I love basically ALL of the supporting characters. Everyone is just so great. They all have their own plots that don't get so big as to take over the book, but are fleshed out enough so that the reader can really get a feel for the people in Ellie's lives. The structure here is really quite wonderful. I ESPECIALLY liked Quinn and Ellie's mom. They were really as complex as Ellie or Graham but not the focal points, y'know?

As is the prose, of course. Jennifer E. Smith really knows how to tell a story. I was straight up squeeing and tearing up on public transport. People must have thought I was out of my mind, but honestly? I'll never see them again, so THAT'S FINE BY ME. Seriously. Think I'm crazy. I'll take it if it's due to me getting to read an AWESOMESAUCE book.

All in all, this book was pretty brilliant. The familial issues were a little rough around the edges in concerning Ellie's dad, but otherwise, this is the perfect summer romp.

The long and short of it?

Plot: The perfect blend of all of the cliche contemporary plots that somehow became something new and AWESOME.
World Building: Pretty realistic. Based on my tabloid-reading observations, the paparazzi really are pretty vicious, y'know?
Character Development: All of the characters were so wonderfully wonderful. I wish the book was longer so I could have more time with them.
Prose: SO CUTE. This book was SO CUTE. Jennifer E. Smith knows how to write the kind of book that makes one of those tiny grins creep up one side of your face before it spreads to the other and before you know it you've got a megawatt smile going on.
Would I Recommend This Book?: If you loved Jennifer E. Smith's first book - The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - you'll love this. Also, if you're into Sarah Dessen, I'd say you should give this one a read. Since I'm a big Dessen fan, that's a pretty strong recommendation, if I do say so myself.

Talk to me pretties - have you read this one yet? Tell me about your love for Graham. Or maybe about the relationship between Ellie and Quinn. Ellie and her mom? How about Ellie's dad. That'd be an interesting conversation, don't you think?


  1. I am so excited that I will finally have a copy of this in my hands next week! I absolutely adore Jennifer's writing, and I can't wait to see what she does with this plot. Your thoughts are making me even more excited!

    1. YAAAAAY! I'm glad you're all excited. It's SO CUTE! ^_^

  2. I need to read this one ASAP! It sounds adorable!

    1. YES! Get on it. It really is just as adorable as I say. Although I am biased.

  3. GAH, REALLY looking forward to it. I haven't requested it anywhere, so this will give me time to read TSPOLAFS. Which I should have done AGES ago. Anyway, Gaby, really happy you liked this one.

    So, you liked the two MC's huh? Just a little bit? ;) Seriously, this one sounds super cute. So looking forward to reading.

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

    1. JUST A LITTLE BIT. Anyway, get to reading TSPOLAFS and then this one, would ya!?!?

  4. AHH I have a copy of this but I'm busy working on library books right now. It sounds really good, though! Jennifer E. Smith is like THE BEST at writing (IMO) and I'm glad to hear she brings it again in this novel. I think I love Graham already. I hope they have a happy ending because otherwise I will be one sad panda.

    1. YOU WILL SEEEEEE. I can't wait to chat with you as you read!!

  5. Yay! I'm so glad you loved this too! I thought Graham and Ellie were adorable.

    I was completely inspired after reading this book to find a whole bunch of poetry that I want to frame. I'm on the look out now for some funky frames to complete the look.

    1. I totally love the poetry in frames idea. So cute. But definitely not as cute as Graham and Ellie!!


Hey there! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment. Also, if you have a blog, be sure to leave a link so I can go check it out!