Review: This is What Happy Looks Like


Title: This is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Pages: 404

First Line: “It was not all that different from the circus, and it came to town much the same way.”

“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?” – from

My thoughts: This book started out really well for me. I really enjoyed reading Ellie and Graham’s initial email correspondence. In fact, I almost wish the whole book was written in emails. Anyway, I definitely wish we got to read more of them throughout the book. I kept waiting for a chapter of just their back and forth banter through email, but it never came after the beginning. I didn’t mind Graham and Ellie’s love story, but I had trouble suspending disbelief in this story. Fine, fine, a movie star and a small town girl have a summer fling. But Ellie’s whole secret past and the reason she so NEEDED to stay out of the spotlight was too contrived for me. I think Ms. Smith would have found plenty of issues to put between the star and the unknown girl without adding in some weird father issues, that Ellie’s mother so selfishly needed to keep safely secret. I understand she didn’t want to be followed around by paparazzi or whatever, but it would have just blown over eventually and then you wouldn’t have to live your life in hiding! Done! And your daughter wouldn’t need to lie to everyone! Although I guess this is at least shown at the end, when unsurprisingly, none of it REALLY mattered anyway. And on Graham’s side, I know movie stars are followed and judged, but I find it VERY hard to believe that their agents tell them who to date and they just listen and go along with it. Besides, how would it be bad publicity to date some small town girl instead of another movie star? I don’t know… so weird. Basically I liked Ellie and Graham just fine, but I wish they had just had a flirty summer fling… with a lot more witty emails… as opposed to a bunch of very dramatic MY LIFE IS OVER BECAUSE I WAS PHOTOGRAPHED madness.

My Ratings:

Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 2/5
Kept me interested: 2/5
Overall rating: 2/5

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Posted on July 2, 2013, in Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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