Review “This is What Happy Looks Like” – Jennifer E. Smith

September 16, 2013 Book Review, Initial Reaction 1

Review “This is What Happy Looks Like” – Jennifer E. SmithThis Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
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Published on: April 2nd 2013
Pages: 416
Genre: YA Romance
Format: eBook

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The Story(summary 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?

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Initial Reaction

No, I’m not in fancy dress, it’s my onesie! Unfortunately our heating decided to break just as winter arrived so I now spend most of my time in my onesie trying to keep my feet from freezing off my body!

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My Thoughts

This book had gotten such amazing reviews, and the idea behind it really interested me, so I was extremely excited to start reading it. Unfortunately “This is what happy looks like” did not make me look happy, in fact by the end of the book I was looking kind of sad.

So, what did I think about this book?

The beginning of this book, I loved! The Prologue is the first email conversation between Ellie and Graham, and I immediately fell in love with both characters. They don’t speak more than a sentence to each other at a time, and most of it is about nothingness as they have just met on the internet and neither knows if the other is an “creepy old internet predator” as Ellie puts it, but even though they don’t even know each other’s names and spend most of the email conversation either talking about a pig, or saying hello in various different ways I knew already that I loved these characters. This structure of the emails carries on throughout the book with each chapter starting with an email, as Ellie and Graham are still emailing each other even though they are in the same town. But I really liked it, and thought it was cute.

“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.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve guessed already but I’m one of those readers who hates the whole” fall in love after a day” thing. Now don’t worry, that isn’t what happens in this book. Although I’m not going to lie, I did find it kind of strange that this guy, Graham, would fight to have his film made in the small town where Ellie lives, just so he could meet her. But then again, you’ve got to remember that they have been emailing for like 3 months, and as Graham points out a few times, his life is a complete fake and he is actually quite lonely, so after chatting to Ellie for 3 months as his real elf and being able to tell her things he can’t tell anyone else in his life, you can kind of understand how he has fallen for her.

“Nothing’s all that scary if you can see it coming.”

The book then follows this cute teen romance book and is very easy to read. A summer fling between the movie star and the small town girl seems like a story that has been done before, but with these characters only being 16 and 17 I found this story quite refreshing. So, what was the problem? Why did this book not make me happy?

How can you know it makes you happy if you’ve never experienced it?”
“There are different kinds of happy,” she said. “Some kinds don’t need any proof.

It was the ending. Well, not the ending as in the last 2 pages, but more like the whole ending wrap up of the book, or the lack thereof. One example: The whole book we are constantly reminded that Ellie has this big secret, and we find it out, and Ellie and Graham attempt to do something about it. But then give up, and then the book ends. This is just one of a few examples of the story just stopping without actually ending. I didn’t feel any deep sense of happiness, sadness, or inspiration upon finishing it. In fact I felt nothing, if maybe slightly relieved that I could finally go to bed.

“How are you supposed to find what you’re looking for if you’re not convinced it’s even out there?”

The idea for the story is original and did draw me to the book, and kept me reading for a good half of the book. But after that the only thing that kept me going was the fact that I had spent £6 on it and so wasn’t going to stop reading until I had gotten my money worth!

“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. And while those bags might hold a few hazy recollections—a diner with a jukebox at the table, being pushed on a swing set, the way it felt to be picked up and spun around—it didn’t seem enough to last a whole lifetime.

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Final Thoughts

I really really wanted this love this book, and I know a lot of people have read it and loved it, so it made me really sad that I couldn’t get the same kind of happiness out of it that other people have. A nice book to read to kill time, but if you are looking for something epic, in my opinion, this is not it.

Re-Readability: No

I would recommend this book to fans of: YA contemporary, teen romance

Rating Didn't Enjoy.5

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Have you read This is What Happy Looks Like?

What was the last book you were disappointed in?

 

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One Response to “Review “This is What Happy Looks Like” – Jennifer E. Smith”

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