Sunday, April 5, 2015

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

Title: This Is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publication: December 24th 2013, Poppy
Format: Trade Paperback
Source: Own Copy from NBS
Buy it on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | The Book Depository | Kobo | National Book Store / Fully Booked (PH)


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?

Misfit Review:

Have you ever had one e-mail sent to a person you have no idea who and end up getting to know them after through those exchanges? I've never but with the strings of fate working their magic on Graham Larkin and Ellie O'Neill, one would wish they could've been as lucky as these two with finding each other.

An e-mail gone astray, Ellie receives it, opens to find that the sender is asking her to feed his or her dog, Wilbur. Lo and behold, Wilbur is a pig and string of conversations between her and the sender ensue. Ellie has no idea who she's emailing almost every day from the other side of the country. But they make a connection, knowing almost every other detail about each other. Little did Ellie know that she has been exchanging stories with rising celebrity, Graham Larkin who is big in Hollywood. Graham fixes a deal with his production company to have his new movie shot in Henley, Maine where apparently Ellie lives and plans to meet her. From then on, quests for whoopie pies and most likely, love, sends the two into a spiral of conflict and tension, not only with each other but also with their own problems.

This Is What Happy Looks Like seems to be a light read at first, not really minding the size and number of pages but more like it's fluffy and sweet. Serendipity brings two unlikely people together, however their chance meeting causes problems with Ellie's family. We find out that there is more to her than just an ordinary girl from Henley, Maine. She has been keeping a secret from people and her Mom is trying to make sure she is protected and safe and hanging around with Graham Larkin, a celebrity, would bring attention that the O'Neill's have been trying to get away from in the beginning.

Graham Larkin is a passionate little rebel. I like how he's willing to go against the odds to spend even the shortest of times with Ellie even if it'd risk his career or getting Harry pissed off. I did find his soft side, especially with his parents, sweet and genuine and it's very rare for a male character in books to show emotions that seem not so masculine. Certain male characters' sell point is in their brooding or rather, their capability to keep emotions hidden.  But Graham charms his way into readers hearts, most especially the girls, with his magnetic charisma and vulnerability.

Ellie O'Neill is someone whom I enjoyed reading as a female character. I always have problems with female characters in books who think their male counterparts will show them the world, but Ellie knows how to keep her cool and being adorable about it. She doesn't want to burden others with her problems and she values friendship among all else. 

There were many more things I loved about this novel, maybe Henley itself. It just seems like an easy place to live in and everyone seems nice. And the shops! MY PLEASE! TAKE ME TO HAPPY THOUGHTS GIFT SHOP! And Harry. Stern as he may be, he actually cares, awww. He is the actual hero of the novel. LOL. And that one scene where Graham was shooting a kiss scene with Olivia and then he asks for a break, finds Ellie walking towards Sprinkles, all adorable and unnerved. They talk, even if Ellie did seem awkward about it, but when Mick asks Graham is inspired yet, and says yes, UGH! MY HEART!

Maybe the only thing I kind of felt a little lacking in this novel is maybe an X-FACTOR that would allow no reader to put the book down. Honestly, there were many times where I could not grasp the book entirely because I get easily distracted and it happens with certain books that are, yes, a little mild on conflict. But then again, This Is What Happy Looks Like delivered, and Jennifer E. Smith did too, adding her beloved formula that is sure to charm readers who have yet to read this book! She hands in adorable, charming, heartfelt and all in all a worthwhile read.


P.S. This review is dedicated to a few people. Godwin and Niaowie, who are Graham and Ellie shippers. And of course to the one and only, Dianne of Oops I Read A Book Again.

About The Author:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Jennifer E. Smith is the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, The Storm Makers, You Are Here, and The Comeback Season. She earned her master's degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently works as an editor in New York City. Her writing has been translated into 28 languages.

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