Written by: Jennifer E. Smith
Published by: Little, Brown
Release date: April 2nd 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads
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?
After absolutely loving Jennifer E. Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I was seriously excited to read This is What Happy Looks Like. I’d heard from a few different people that they liked Happy even better than Statistical Probability – so that was encouraging, considering how much I loved the latter. Plus, the concept sounded SUPER cute. Graham, a famous actor, and Ellie, and normal small-town girl, strike up an unlikely friendship via email, neither knowing who the other is; and eventually the two meet when Graham suggests Ellie’s hometown as the setting of his new movie.
This is What Happy Looks Like definitely delivered in the “cute summer read” category. I loved Ellie and Graham, both strong and believable characters in their own rights. Ellie is a very normal teenage girl and she had a personality I really enjoyed. Graham is definitely not what I imagine most teenage heartthrobs to be like – he doesn’t love the spotlight, misses his parents, but is truly passionate about acting.
Graham’s and Ellie’s emails were probably my favorite part – the book opens with the string of emails that brought the two together – an accidental misspelling of Graham’s pet-sitter’s email meant that he emailed Ellie about his pet pig, Wilbur (who unfortunately doesn’t make an appearance). The two hit it off right away, and their emails back and forth are so much fun to read. I really loved them once they met, as well – their in-person relationship is pretty slow-moving because Ellie is reluctant to be seen with the famous Graham Larkin, but they’re still adorable.
I would be remiss, though, if I didn’t explain the few things I did find disappointing about this book. Now, it’s probably because I was expecting to be blown away after loving Statistical Probability, but I really didn’t feel the emotional depth in this book. I know it’s completely different circumstances in this one, different characters, etc etc, but I was expecting a bit more emotional resonance, and I just didn’t feel that here. Additionally, like I mentioned above, my favorite part of the book was Graham’s and Ellie’s email correspondence, which tapers off a lot as book goes on. I just wish it could have stayed as strong as it was in the beginning.
But these are relatively small complaints – I’m still easily giving it four stars for pure enjoyment factor, believability of the characters and relationship…and overall cuteness, lol. ;) Definitely pick this one up if you’re in the mood for a fun summer read.