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

This Is What Happy Looks Like

Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publication date: April 2, 2013
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?

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When I read Jennifer E. Smith's The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I was swooning with each turn of the page. By the time I reached the end, my heart had melted all over the floor. I was completely in love with story and quickly added Jennifer E. Smith to my list of favorite authors. When I saw that This Is What Happy Looks Like was a daily deal on amazon, I had to snatch it up and read it. I had been waiting for a while to get it but running low on money so it was the perfect opportunity to do so. The whole premise of a teenager swapping emails unknowingly with a famous movie star and falling in love seemed right up my ally. In fact, this is my second story about a small-town girl falling in love with a celebrity.

Unfortunately, This Is What Happy Looks Like didn't live up to my expectations and I was rather disappointed in it. Don't get me wrong, it was sweet and cute and I really enjoyed Ellie's conversations with Graham, both through email and in person. But not once was I swooning over this teenage romance. In fact, it felt a little flat for me. I like for my romances to take me on a ride, whether that be up or down, and I want to really feel it in my heart. I want my pulse to race and my cheeks to blush and my heart to swell when they kiss or something sweet happens and sadly none of that happened to me. Most of the drama that occurred seemed trivial and petty in my eyes. There were lies and secrets that seemed completely pointless to me. I couldn't understand why Ellie was lying about certain things when what she was lying about wasn't a big deal. Her best friend got mad at her and stayed mad at her for most of the book over something incredibly stupid and was really rude to her about it and then suddenly everything was fine. Even Graham who had issues with his family all throughout the book seemed to tie everything up all nice and neat in the end far too quickly and easily. The issues that were covered just didn't seem to have much depth to them and it really disappointed me.

I wanted so badly to absolutely love this one because The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight instantly fell into my list of favorites, but this one just didn't live up to it. Even thought I didn't love it, I did like and enjoy reading it so I hope this review doesn't deter you from trying it for yourself. It was a quick, cute read that I'm sure several of you will enjoy.

I rate this book:


About Jennifer E. Smith

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.
Author Links: Goodreads | Twitter 


Maybe there was something safe in the not knowing, something that made it feel like all the mundane questions you were usually required to ask were not all that important after all.

It seemed to Ellie that you could tell a lot about someone by the way they carried a secret--by how safe they kept it, how soon they told, the way they acted when they were trying to keep it from spilling out.

"Yes," Mom said, regaining herself. "It's a terrible shame you only want to be a marine biologist. I suppose it would be much more useful to have been asked out to dinner by a whale."

"Looks like the wrong kind of bait can get you the right kind of fish."

He could see her, and it was just like he'd though. It was just like being punched in the stomach.

Childhood memories were like airplane luggage; no matter how far you were traveling or how long you needed them to last, you were only ever allowed two bags.

It should have been the most ordinary thing in the world--this girl on the beach--but somehow, it felt to Graham like he was staring at the sun.

"How are you supposed to find what you're looking for if you're not convinced it's even out there?"

It was exactly as he'd though it would be, like the first time and the millionth time all at once, like being wide awake, like losing his balance. Only this time, it wasn't just him, this time, they were losing their balance together.

The unspoken rule was that the next morning was a clean slate, and all of it--the dirty looks and the sharp words--would be left behind, leaving only heart-shaped pancakes in its place. The best kind of truce.

When he kissed her, it was like the answer to the question. It was the only thing she needed to know.

His poor telescope heart--that fragile, precious thing--would have probably been better left in the box.

Maybe growing up was really nothing more than growing away: from your old life, from your old self, from all those things that kept you tethered to your past.


  1. It is definitely one I would recommend if you love happy endings, Contemporary YA, and fairy tales, because this has all of those things.
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