Monday 27 October 2014

Book Review - This Is What Happy Looks Like

This Is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Genres: Contemporary | Young Adult
Release Date: 24th October 2013
Publishers: Headline
No. Pages: 404
Source: Purchased
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
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?

Jennifer E. Smith is one of my go-to authors. She writes some of the most wonderful romances, really touches on subjects that can be related to by so many readers and her style is wonderful, so finally reading this during the Summer couldn't have been more perfect. I can't say that I loved this book as much as I did her previous work, but I would not say that this wasn't an enjoyable read. If I did, I'd be lying through my teeth.

This book, personally, is the definition of a nice book. Nice books aren't a bad thing, they can really be wonderful reads when read at the right time, they can bring you that light and happy feeling some people need, or they can really pick you back up and encourage you again, but This Is What Happy Looks Like didn't do that for me because I didn't need picking up or cheering on, and therefore if became apparent that this wasn't the strong novel I'd been hoping for. My issues? The novel itself felt unnecessary in places, it fell short at the lines a few times and really could have been developed and shortened to create a much more enjoyable read that didn't have be flipping the pages just because they needed flipping. Some paragraphs I glazed over, others I just didn't bother with, and while this didn't take away from what joy I did get, it did make me wonder just how much of this book actually needed reading, yet, alas, I finished and liked it even through these issues.

The actual romance within the novel was quite nice to read about, there wasn't that naivety or awkwardness involved and when they actually got their stuff together, Graham and Ellie were actually really complimentary to one another. They each got each other to consider things they never had, they each had their parts of their personality that rubbed off and really, they were also just really nice with one another. I would have much prefered for their to have been more time taken with the emails involved in the plot, I expected much more of a build up with the romance via the emails and the different perspectives leading up to the meeting around half way, so I was a little disappointed when the emails were short, not used often and they met around page 70. I had expectations with this novel, which were clearly ruined, but generally, as romances and friendships and connections go, this was a nice one. Ellie's relationship with her Mother was also a little nice, cliche and recycled, but nice, and the use of friend drama of boys is also a little recycled, but nice. I guess in the end, there's a lot about this novel that was nice, but not an awful lot else made it anything more than enjoyable.

You know the drill. Single Mother takes Daughter away from 'in-the-spotlight' Father, starts up a business which therefore makes their finances unstable. Daughter meets 'film-star', they have a small romance and she can finally find the money for that thing she really wants, all the whole forging a romance, arguing with a best friend, finding new friends in people you didn't expect and a nice fireworks display at the end. It's a well used plot and I confess, I really expected more from Smith after The Geography of You and Me this year wrapping me up in joy and love and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight sweeping me off my feet. I will continue to read this wonderful woman's work, but I will now be more wary of my own expectations and be careful for what I wish for. You like cute, nice and simple contemporaries, this is the book for you.


  1. Glad to hear you like this one, it's on my TBR! :D

    One Curvy Blogger

    1. I hope you have better luck with it than me hunny :)

  2. Happy you still enjoyed this one even if it didn't blow you away. I think that I'll probably skip it, seeing as I didn't have the best luck with the last Smith book I read.

    1. Yeah, it's definitely not her best out of the two. Her other works I found much better, but I shall still read more! :)

  3. I'm not sure if I'll try it...I think there's a movie?? Which means I SHOULD try it. But I didn't really love The Geography of You and Me. It was cute and fluffy, but I totally felt bored the whole time. I do like my contemporary, but I think I love gritty contemporaries better than fluffy ones. x)

    1. Is there? I didn't know about that, I could see it being a very simple and well loved film for many, but not me..
      I think if you're not high on the fluff factor then this definitely isn't the one for you Cait :)


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