This Is What Happy Looks Like (This is What Happy Looks Like, #1)by Published 02 Apr 2013
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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?
This Is What Happy Looks Like (This is What Happy Looks Like, #1) Reviews
Sweet, heartwarming and very wholesome. Three things why I like reading books by Ms. Jennifer E. Smith. There is a familiarity to her stories the reader could easily relate to. It’s like watching feel-good romantic movies. You could easily predict the plot but you enjoy it just the same.
I just thought the alternating POV between the girl and boy would have worked better in these kinds of stories instead of the third person because it seemed like the third person narrative made the pacing a bit more long-winded. I think it’s also the same reason why I feel quite distant from the characters.
Nevertheless, it was still a good and enjoyable read especially if you’re looking for something light and sweet. For a more detailed, more awesome review, do check out Adita’s.
To my sweet friend, Adita,
If you want a read that leaves a smile on your face, This Is What Happy Looks Like is the perfect choice! A sweet romance, a small town, and fun characters make this a great summer read that you should definitely bring on vacation!
A modern day fairy tale is what this story is, really. It's not the kind of love story that's particularly believable--no one accidentally pen pals a stranger who ends up being a movie star--but if you enjoy those lightweight romance books where the story is more of a dream than anything, this one fits the bill. It's fun for a different reason; instead of being a love story that burns with the fierce realness of two people who fall in love, Jennifer goes into almost every teenage girl's dream and plucks the most famous movie star into the arms of your every day small town girl. You will likely find yourself pondering on what this would actually be like, which is fun, you have to admit! Getting to see Graham's POV also brings up what it truly means to be famous. Not the glamorous red carpet side, but how nothing you ever do can be private, and no one truly knows the real you--he even feels like a stranger in his own family. I liked how his side of the story was just as developed as Ellie's, showing us his true feelings toward his stardom; he does not rejoice being recognized by the masses. While it's impossible to relate to that lifestyle (at least for most), it's easy to understand how not all of it is dazzling. It was nice that Ellie wasn't the star struck fan that some might expect, as well. She was basically unperturbed by stars in her town--at least until she finds out who, exactly, her email buddy is. But she wasn't pretentious about the relationship at all which made her character very likeable; how many do you know who would not immediately blast Facebook with their relationship had it been them? She actually had her reasons for wanting it to be kept on the down low which creates more than a few bumps along the road between these two. Although, it remains a lighthearted read nonetheless.
Like every small town, the people who reside in it know everyone else, this makes for a small but lively cast of side characters, as well as a great small town atmosphere which I genuinely felt throughout. Being from a tiny town not so different than Ellie's, I easily found myself roaming the streets along with her, enjoying the family owned quirky shops and town events. This small town garners more than just romance, too. We have some family issues that are visited throughout the story, friendship quibbles with her best friend, along with a scandal or two. Not everything is complicated, though; I especially loved Ellie and her mother's relationship. They have an easy going dynamic where they can actually talk to each other; no unconcerned parenting or melodramatics involved. And to add a great touch of charm to the story, we get snippets of emails between Ellie and Graham at the beginning of every chapter which I thought was a great way to keep the romance in the air.
Light, charming, funny, and sweet, this is one you pick up when you simply want to escape into a romantic lala-land! In short, this book is what happy looks like! <--- You know I had to!
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.
For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
As a true hopeless romantic, the "normal girl meets and falls in love with a famous boy" story makes my heart flutter. No matter how cliché, I really enjoy reading stories like it. And yet... This Is What Happy Looks Like is just lackluster in everything. This review will contain spoilers. Beware. I just can't review this book without pointing out the idiotic plot points.
So Ellie and Graham meet by accident when Graham misspells an e-mail address. They don't know who the other is, but they seem to really easily strike up conversations about almost nothing. So Graham, a famous movie star, when in need of a location to shoot his next film, insists on traveling to Ellie's home town to meet her. After a first cliché mishap of mistaken identity, they meet and instantly know this is true love.
Okay, they talked for three months via e-mails, so it's not really instalove, but it felt like it. I just feel so cheated. Maybe it's because I have experience with situations like this, but online contact is vastly different from offline contact. And even if you really like someone online, that's not necessarily the case offline. But no. They knew it INSTANTLY. He wanted to kiss her INSTANTLY. And just... UGH. What is this??
And the rest of the book only makes it worse. Why? They were together for all of two days, before Ellie freaked out about the paparazzi shizzle and started avoiding him like the plague. For THREE WEEKS. And during that time, all they do is pine for each other. Then when they're finally reunited, you once again see them together for only THREE DAYS. Guys, this isn't a heart-throbbing romance. This is just odd. They're pretty cute together, for sure, but I don't buy it. Whereas I think the concept asked for a happy-go-lucky, totally feel-good kind of romance, I think Jennifer placed way too much emphasis on the underlying "drama" in both of their lives that just made the romance kind of stupid.
Like, Ellie is terrified of the paparazzi because she is the illegitimate daughter of a senator. Her mother ran away with her as a child to escape the press and it's basically implied that all hell would break loose if their true identities were discovered. Well, spoiler alert: it gets out, right at the end. You feel that coming, but still have a certain curiosity about how it would get resolved. Well? "Yeah, they found out your name, and the connection to your father, but it's really just a footnote, and nobody really cares because all they care about is that you're Graham's girlfriend."
No no no no no. And don't get me started again about how the press calls her his girlfriend, he refers to her as "his girl" and everyone else in town knows they're in LOVE when they've known each other for FIVE DAYS in total. I don't count those three weeks they weren't speaking, and I don't (really) count the three months of email conversations. Hell no. asdfjkl; Their romance consisted of like 3 kisses and a bit of hand holding. Some more development would have been amazing. I just didn't see it as a serious relationship, unlike apparently everyone else in the book.
Also, in the end, out of nowhere, Graham suddenly regains contact with his parents, whom he's been estranged from since he became famous. And it then turns out that, contrary to everything Graham has indicated about them in his narrations, they truly care about him and have been keeping tabs on his activities via magazines and stuff... instead of just talking to him... I'm sorry, WHAT? Talk about a plot element out of nowhere just for your convenience. This made no sense to me. You can't establish one image of certain characters all throughout the book, and right at the end, over the phone prove that it was totally not like that. I get that this was supposed to just be a feel-good moment, but usually that still has some kind of cause... or build up. Or something.
I started off writing this review wondering, "Hmm... how did I feel about it?" And within 10 minutes it became this full-fledged rant. I read the book, entirely, at a high speed, all things considered, but I just totally disagree with it. This is not the book I hoped it would be. The characters were all right, and the concept held some appeal to me, but it desperately failed in the execution and overall in the plot. So two stars... because I did manage to finish and while reading didn't notice how much I disagreed with it.
TL;DR: this is SO NOT what happy looks like. (Sorry, I had to.)
In Three Words:
I honestly don't think I would.
So the thing with Jennifer Smith's stories is... It's not unique but it's... Amazing.
I don't know she does it, but somehow, it's almost like she takes cliches... and makes them new and refreshing, and remind us of WHY they became a cliche in the first place. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight used the cliche of love at first sight, and this one of falling in love with a celebrity.
And OMG. I loved it. It was absolutely adorable.
I did wish the mystery of who Graham was withheld a little longer, but it's fine.
This book is about twice the length of TSPLFS (Too lazy to type it all :3) but it never felt long. Like TSPLFS never feeling too short, this one never felt long. These stories are each at their perfect length.
I loved both characters- they were genuine, and kind of heartbreaking... Oh jeez.
A great GREAT chick-lit for those days when you just need a smile... :)
This. Sounds. So. Perfect.
And since I loved The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I will probably love this one. :) AND THE COVER FITS IN PERFECTLY :D
DNF at 100 pages.
Wow, this novel single handedly solidified my dislike for fiction books about famous people.