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

Friday, 29 March 2013

Book: This is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Headline
Pages: 416
Format:  Hardcover that was sent to me for review.

Goodreads Summary 

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

In This is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith's new YA novel, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O'Neill meet—albeit virtually—when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic movies like "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle," the two 17-year-olds strike up an email relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don't even know each other's first names.

Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don't tell each other everything; Graham doesn't know the major secret hidden in Ellie's family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles.

When the location for the shoot of Graham's new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie's mom want her to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

Just as they did in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the hands of fate intervene in wondrous ways in this YA novel that delivers on high concept romance in lush and thoughtful prose.

I wasn't thrilled with this book. It, in my mind, was too fluffy and so much went on, but nothing really happened. Its a classic story of a regular girl who falls for a movie star. I've seen it a million times on the Disney Channel. The plot was lacking, and just like Jennifer E. Smith's other book, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the title and synopsis is misleading. It advertises a very romance centered book and it ends up having a lot of content about her family and their issues.

The one thing I loved were the characters. Graham was a little goofy and was realistic to the point in which I got second hand embarrassment a few times. Ellie was a different story. Although I liked her character, I was bored with her. She wasn't overly interesting and had no defining qualities.

The pacing of this book was weird as well. Just like with the Mortal Instruments series, I found that so much stuff was happening at one point, but in the end, nothing happened. There wasn't a real climax, or a turning point. It was just weird, and I didn't like it a lot.

Overall, I was let down a lot by this book. The romance was insta-love and the pacing was off. So I'm giving it a 2.5/5 star rating. Just not my cup of tea.

-Indigo
@indigowayworth

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