Thursday, April 10, 2014

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

Release Date: April 2, 2013
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Poppy (UK paperback version published by Headline)
Age group: YA
Pages: 416
Buy the book: Amazon - The Book Depository

Rating: 4/5

Description (from Goodreads):

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

In This is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith's new YA novel, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O'Neill meet—albeit virtually—when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic movies like "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle," the two 17-year-olds strike up an email relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don't even know each other's first names.

Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don't tell each other everything; Graham doesn't know the major secret hidden in Ellie's family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles.

When the location for the shoot of Graham's new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie's mom want her to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

Just as they did in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the hands of fate intervene in wondrous ways in this YA novel that delivers on high concept romance in lush and thoughtful prose.


Last summer Jennifer E.Smith made me laugh and maybe ever shed a couple of tears over her very sweet and cute novel The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight in which boy and a girl meet at an airport and form a connection that turns from a friendly chatter to something more. When I came across This is What Happy Looks Like with its cute cover and very romantic sounding synopsis, I knew it was exactly what I needed to get my mind away from the abundance of university work stressing me out.

Ellie is a small town girl from Maine with a secret past she cannot tell anyone about in order to protect herself and her mother. Graham Larkin is a Hollywood film star who underneath all his glamour feels like he does not fit in and rather spends time with his pet pig than in glitzy parties filled with other celebrities. These two individuals from totally different worlds form an email relationship in which they talk about their dreams, lives and problems without even knowing each others names. When Graham's new film travels for a shoot in Maine, Graham looks for her mysterious pen pal and soon realizes that the not everything works like in movies. 

Likable female protagonist? Check. Cute and charming, down to earth film star? Check. Secrets, romance and self discovery? Check. Some could call Smith's book cheesy and predictable, and yes, maybe it is both to some extent. But hey, what did you expect in the first place? This is What Happy Looks Like is sweet, romantic, occasionally funny; so exactly what the premise promises. Ellie is real and honest and not blind to Graham's fame. Graham is charming, impulsive and clearly a bit lost. When they meet, Ellie realizes Graham is nothing like she expected, but as she gets to know him better, she realizes that the guy she has been emailing with is underneath the flashing lights and magazines covers, just looking for the girl he has fallen in love with even before meeting her. 

If you are looking for something that will take your worries away and make you gush for young love, look no further. This is What Happy Looks Like is just what you will need. 


  1. I'm glad that you were able to turn to this book when uni work was becoming too stressful, I love picking up fun fluffy reads from time to time and I have to agree with you this book was a lot of fun! Great review!

    1. Me too - this book will definitely have a meaning that I carry with it for a long time, just because of the way it took some of the stress away, at least temporarily.

      Thanks for stopping by! :)


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment!