April 29, 2013

Latest Read: This Is What Happy Looks Like

Here are the basics ...
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Publication date: April 2, 2013
Publisher: Poppy
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Purchased

Summary: 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? (Adapted goodreads.com
My thoughts…
The good: This book totally took me back to my AOL days. Back then my screen name was PaceyzGirL (before I changed it to NYCBallet29) and writing emails was one of my favorite things to do. I wrote to my best friends even though I saw them every day and to a few people I had "met" online. I just loved hearing that "you've got mail!" message. While most of my online buddies didn't become in-real-life ones, we'd write and share a lot in the few short weeks we talked. It's funny how much freedom the Internet and a little bit of anonymity can give you sometimes. I completely got how a random email, if you took the chance to respond, could turn into something bigger. That was favorite aspect of This Is What Happy Looks Like.

I loved reading their initial emails that started off so playful and eventually became a little deeper. And when it turns out the guy emailing small town girl Ellie O'Neil is teenage movie star Graham Larkin and he makes a point to find her, that changes everything. (How come this never happened with me and Joshua Jackson? Just saying.) I enjoyed watching them try to not only deal with his fame, but also the transition of their relationship from email to face-to-face. Everything about their interactions was cute and funny and of course it helps that they're both such likable protagonists. At the heart of it, they're both teenagers who are a little lonely but feel this connection to each other that they can't ignore. Even when circumstances imply that maybe they should. There's something so effortless about the author's writing which makes you believe something like this could happen in real life and maybe even work.

(Minor) reservations: There are a couple of sub-plots and obstacles throughout the book that didn't feel necessary. I mean the whole he's a movie star in town for only a couple months seems like a big enough hurdle to me. I would've preferred the focus to be on that and on what makes Ellie and Graham happy (aside from each other).

Do I recommend?: I've enjoyed every Jennifer E. Smith book I've read and this was no exception. You can always count on her books for something cute and heartwarming.

Happy reading!

8 comments:

  1. This is the second or third review that has mentioned that the number of obstacles was a little excessive, considering they were already working around his celebrity status. I love that it took you back to your AOL days though! I used to LOVE ICQ, messaging random people and sharing things that I would have had a hard time saying to someone's face; oh anonymity! Haha

    I think for the sense of nostalgia this would give me, I need to give it a shot!

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  2. Oh AOL... I miss those days sometimes!!! I'm really excited about reading this one and can't wait to get to it! Glad you enjoyed it so much! :)

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  3. I'm so excited to read this book! I adore Jennifer E. Smith a lot, especially because her writing tends to be so beautiful and wonderful and just so, so well-done. I look forward to meeting Graham! And Ellie too, but honestly, more of Graham.

    I love the Internet. I've managed to make some awesome friends because of it, just saying ;)

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  4. Just got this from the library! I'm excited to read it! I hope I don't get annoyed with all the excess of story lines...:/ But I am looking forward to something light and fun. Love your review...duh

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  5. Oh, I can't wait to read this! I so desperately want to see what all the hype is about. I mean, yes it's a Jennifer E. Smith book but I didn't really like The Statistical Probability very much so I'm a bit wary. However, I've looked at reviews of this book by people who shared the same thoughts as me on The Statistical and who loved this one! Great review! :) And don't you agree that the cover is divine?

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  6. Although I was really eager to read this when I first saw it. But since then I've read some mixed reviews, and now I'm nervous to pick this one up just in case I don't love it. But I'm a sucker when movie stars fall in love with regular people, I'm excited about the Maine setting and this looks super cute all around. But I'm a little worried about all those sub plots and extras thrown in. This is still on my TBR however.

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  7. After reading (and being really impressed with) The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I’m thinking I really need to add this one to my summer TBR. I like how Smith’s books are all so quirky yet relatable and realistic. Perfect pool reads!

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  8. I love how you said this reminded you of your AOL days! I used to spend soooo much time chatting online with friends and random strangers. Sadly, I didn't meet anyone famous (a girl can wish!). I was madly in love with The Statistical Probability of Love and First Sight, so I'm really hoping I like this one as much ast that one.

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