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

book coverE-ARC: n/a
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: standalone
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

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?

I loved the premise of This Is What Happy Looks Like: A regular girl, Ellie, who lives in a small town in Maine, began corresponding through email with Graham, a very popular teen movie star when Graham accidentally sent her an email meant for someone else. But Ellie didn't know who he was--to her he was just GDL824 and she loves that anonymity of it. They start to fall for each other through their email correspondence.

That sounds a lot like one of my favorite movies of all time, You Got Mail and I wanted to read this book yesterday. Unfortunately it didn't quite live up to my expectation but it was still a good read.

The first few chapters of the novel was really great as we read Ellie and Graham's emails and learn more about them. They were both just so cute and sweet and so darn likable. I was really looking forward to when they meet and Ellie learns who Graham really is and how she will react to the news... and then they met.

After that the novel lost some of its luster.

Most of this novel wasn't about Ellie and Graham slowly falling in love like I anticipated. They were already in love when they met. This novel was more about how their relationship will work outside of the emails, especially when being thrust into the media spotlight was the very last thing Ellie wanted--a relationship with Graham will definitely put her in the spotlight.

There was a lot of family drama in this novel and that was what drove the story more than anything else. There's nothing wrong with that of course--it was obviously interesting enough that I finished this novel in a matter of days. But it wasn't what I was looking for when I picked this book up and that was kind of a let down.

However, I still recommend this book for those who enjoyed Jennifer E. Smith's previous novel The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and those who like light contemporary YA in general. I really like the author's writing and her voice. And there's still plenty of cuteness, hand holding, romantic moments and kisses between Ellie and Graham to satisfy the romantics out there. Add This Is What Happy Looks Like to your summer reading list!
Click the image for more M&L-Approved Beach Reads


  1. Hm. We too would have expected it to be about their falling in love, but we really like family drama stories, so maybe we'd enjoy this even more, now that we know what to expect! Thanks for the heads-up and the good review. :)

  2. I'm really upset about this one. I really loved her other book and everyone has been rating this one rather low or pointing out a lot of negatives to the story in their review. I have to say I might just not read this since there is so much drama and the romance is not as strong as it seems to be from the summary.

    Thanks for the great review!


Thank you so much to stopping by today and taking the time to comment.