This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith | Book Review

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. SmithBook Title/Author: This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
: Little Brown 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No
Other Books From Author: The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight, The Comeback Season, You are Here, The Storm Makers

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

A friend let me borrow this one!




When Ellie accidentally receives an email meant for someone else she never could have imagined that the person she developed a friendship with is one of the biggest teen movie stars — Graham Larkin. They’ve kept up the conversation but have remained anonymous about who they are and their background. Graham decides he wants to meet Ellie in real life so he makes sure his next film is shot in Ellie’s very small town in Maine which happens to be the perfect location for the film. When Graham finally reveals himself to Ellie it seems like it is destined to not work. Even if Ellie really believed something could ever work out between an average girl from a small town and a famous actor, she knows she has to avoid all the attention and the spotlight to hide her past.

I thought this one was okay — cute, light and entertaining enough. I didn’t feel as much for it as I did The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight but it wasn’t by any means a BAD book at all. I enjoyed it in the way I enjoyed (ok, still enjoy) Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen movies like Passport To Paris, Winning London, When In Rome, etc. It was more of the cheesy cute romance variety where you’ll need to suspend some disbelief and there’s a bit of predictability. This actually would make a VERY cute movie on ABC Family or the Disney channel.

The romance is very cute and is the sort of thing that 13 year old Jamie would have gone gaga over since she always dreamed of chance encounters with the boys of Tiger Beat who plastered her walls where they would fall madly in love with her. It’s a really cute, fun premise that certainly was easy to get into.

The tension of the romance is in that Ellie, the main character who ends up emailing with THE BIGGEST TEEN MOVIE STAR, has absolutely noooo interest in fawning over a movie star. I loved reading the emails they exchanged between each other and how she had NO idea he was famous. It led to some crazy tension when he finally rolls into town and she finds out that HE was the person she had been emailing all along. Not to mention the fact that Ellie has her own secret and needs to keep her life private — something that dating a celebrity would not afford you with all the paparazzi intruding on their every moment. It’s the typical “we could never work out because our lives our so different” kind of thing and I really did enjoy watching them through those moments.

While it was very cute it just didn’t didn’t do a ton for me. I liked the characters but kind of found them to be a little dull though I did love reading about a nice guy though I wished he would have been a little more interesting. The story, at points, seemed to drag and I just never really felt invested in the story or characters to make me feel anything other “well, that was cute.” That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it because I definitely did just wasn’t super strong for me. Also, we read this for book club and it honestly didn’t lend to much discussion to be honest.

This Is What Happy Looks Like is a cute, clean romance that I thought was okay and enjoyable but I didn’t particularly love it. I enjoyed it in the way I enjoyed Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen movies. It’s filled with romantic tension as Ellie tries to fight her feelings towards the guy she has been emailing who she finds out is actually one of the biggest teen movie stars. It’s full of cute moments that I think 13 year old Jamie would have swooned over but it didn’t leave a huge impression on me though it was totally sweet and uplifting. I would 100% recommend this to tweens/younger teens though!



This Is What Happy Looks LIke by Jennifer E. Smith


Recommend if you like: The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight, Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen movies or Disney channel movies/ABC family shows, clean romances, cute & light books

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you have read it, what did you think? Did you feel differently than me! I would love to hear it!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. so not a graham slam eh?? πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  2. OMG – I used to watch Passport to Paris ALL THE TIME. I loved that movie.

  3. I’ve heard in a couple of places that it didn’t live up to the absolute awesomeness that was Statistical Probability. Of course, it would be really hard to live up to that one. I do like the cute concept of the “normal” girl and the famous guy — definitely some of my favorite kids’ movies have that trope!

  4. I have this one but I haven’t read it! I like how you compare it to a Olsen flick! I actually just bought myself all of those movies that you mentioned in a 4 pack, couldn’t help myself! It’s all about reliving the childhood!

  5. i think i rated this 5 stars but don’t really know why anymore…my feelings were pretty much the same as yours to be honest – cute but nothing new or really swoonworthy. what a shame really after TSPOLAFS which managed to charm with so little pages!
    however, it was a nice and light read and i must say, i absolutely loved looved loved the setting of this one and J.E. Smith’s way of description made me want to go visit that lovely beach place πŸ™‚

  6. I liked this one, but not as much as Statistical either. Although I was super excited about a character named QUINN, because that’s my name πŸ™‚

  7. I’ve never read a book by Jennifer E. Smith but I absolutely love her concepts. They remind me a little of the Meg Ryan romantic comedies that reigned supreme in the ’90’s, particularly You’ve Got Mail, which I still adore to this day. They sound relatively light-hearted and very cute, although I’ve been told Smith manages to touch upon more weighty considerations in her stories as well, which I appreciate. After reading your review it sounds as though I should begin with The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight and then go from there, although I really love the premise for This Is What Happy Looks Like as well. If nothing else, her novels sound like the perfect additions to my summer reading list, when I’m ordinarily looking for light, cute contemporary romances.

    It is a shame you didn’t feel a personal connection with the characters or their story, however. That’s the sort of ineffable thing you never can plan for, and sometimes there’s no real reason why a story will work for you or not. That’s what’s so interesting and great about reading – Two people can read the exact same book and come to wildly different conclusions. I know I’ve definitely read polarizing reviews for this novel thus far! I absolutely loved reading your thoughts about this book, Jamie, and look forward to seeing how successfully Smith’s novels work for me πŸ™‚

  8. Sounds like a cute book, but I don’t think I’d enjoy it (I probably would have loved this back when I was a teenager, though).

    Great review!

  9. I loved STATISTICAL with a fierce passion – that book was amazing and expertly crafted. I think I need to read THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE if only because I think the premise is cute; it’s been done before and I’m glad you referenced that it wasn’t of the same quality as STATISTICAL, but it sounds like it’s enjoyable if nothing else. I hope Smith’s next book is more of a one-two-punch in cute premise and amazing execution. πŸ™‚

  10. Okay, when you compared it to the old MK&A movies, you kind of sold me, if only to help me relive the cutesy love stories those movies always had. Glad to know it’s good for that, but also definitely good to go in not expecting anything more πŸ™‚

  11. I posted my review this week, too. Fourth of July, after all! I agree with what you said about how light it was, despite the family issues. At times, it was like, “Of course the manager is like that. They’re ALWAYS like that in these books and movies.” LOL. Predictable but sweet! Good beach read!

  12. This book was super cute! I’m a sucker for cheesy, romantic, chick flick type stuff, and this filled that craving. While I too didn’t love it as much as Stat, I still enjoyed it! Smith definitely knows how to tell a story πŸ™‚

  13. Hahaha, you say it perfectly, I didn’t even think of the Mary-kate and Ashley movies thing, and then when I read that sentence I knew exactly what you meant! That’s exactly what this book was like. Cute but there could have been more to it. I definitely think it’s a good summer read.

  14. Ahaha, yes! Oh, Mary Kate and Ashley movies. I freaking loved those movie once upon a time. (And by once upon a time, I mean last month when I watched one with my little cousin. πŸ˜€ )

    Also, you actually make an excellent comparison! I didn’t even think of it, but it’s so true: this book would make the perfect Mary Kate & Ashley movie! It was a little far-fetched but totally cute.


  1. […] airport and hitting it off as you chat your whole flight across the ocean? SWOON. Also check out: This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith — normal girl + movie […]