Book Title/Author: This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher/Year: Little Brown 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Other Books From Author: The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight, The Comeback Season, You are Here, The Storm Makers
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!
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!