This Is What Happy Looks Like Review

Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Published: April 2, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
Retail Price: $10.00
Received: Bought
Rating: 5/5



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?


What I Liked:

I actually really enjoyed the relationship in this book. It felt so natural to me. Although I’ve heard that some people believe the story is contrived, I did not feel that way at all. The concept of all the secrets that meant so much to the two protagonists lives was so interesting. That leads me into my next point.

The main concept wasn’t even romance. I found that family and friendship meant so much to the plot.


If you have not read this book, do not continue. Spoilers ahead.


With Ellie having only her only her mom as family catered so much to the story. I mean, of course Ellie’s life is based off the woman you raised her. But then there is also her father, who she tries to find later in the story (which was very sad I think). I thought this was exceptionally a crazy element. I kind of thought that Ellie’s mom was crazy for not taking the money from Paul because it could’ve helped them. Even if was one of the smaller checks. But I do understand her reasoning, she didn’t want them in her life.

Then there is her ongoing relationship with Quinn who I actually love so much. Yes they went through a rough patch through most of the story but that obviously took a toll on Ellie’s life in that time, which means Ellie cares about her friendship with Quinn. There is also her beginning friendship with I believe a friendship like this can change anyone’s life as much as it did Graham and Ellie. Neither of them notice what a no-secret friendship like that felt like, and so a friendship meant so much to them.

I also really liked the fact that the celebrity life of Graham Larkin felt very real. Celebrities must feel lonely in a business that only want them for their talents and to make them feel better. Celebrities do actually care for people and will punch a paparazzi for them. Filming, promotion, all felt very real and I liked that.


What I Didn’t Like:

There wasn’t much of a character development. There was slight, which I enjoyed; like Ellie becoming more trusting and what she knew was good for her. But there wasn’t anything huge. Yeah, best friends overcame whatever silly thing they were arguing over. But there was nothing huge, I feel like, that changed within the characters.

As for characters I did not like, I hated the paparazzi, but that’s an obvious one. They are such a**holes that I was praising Graham when he punched on of them. I mean, he was disrespecting Ellie but I guess that’s their jobs *rolls eyes*.


Favorite Quotes:

“But that is not what happy looks like.” – pg. 18 (I love when books explain the title in the story. It makes me so excited and happy).

“Once again, they managed to talk about everything without really talking about anything at all…” – pg. 27

(All pictures provided by Instagram @youngbook.lover)


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