Wednesday 17 April 2013

This is What Happy Looks Like - Jennifer E Smith

Pages: 404
Publisher: Headline
Release Date: 4th April 2013
Edition: UK proof, review copy

In This is What Happy Looks Like, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O’Neil meet – albeit virtually – when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic comedies You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, the two seventeen-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 LA.

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 moved to picturesque Henley, Maine where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Ellie 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?

This is What Happy Looks Like is a sweet, romantic and thoughtful novel that brightened up an early, rainy commute to London. I loved it!

I love the entire premise of this novel and the way that Jennifer E Smith began it with some of their email exchanges really set up the whole atmosphere and the connection between Graham and Ellie perfectly.  The fact that there was an email from one of them to the other at the beginning of each chapter which set up what might happen in the next or reflected what happened in the chapter before and I adored it.

I enjoyed This is What Happy Looks Like more than I did The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. There was a lot more character development and depth to this novel than TSPOLAFS and it was so much more my kind of novel. The romance had more of a foundation and the characters had more time to get to know each other than Hadley and Oliver did.

Ellie is a brilliant heroine and I connected to her straight away. I love the way that she didn’t fall all over herself when she found out who Graham was and she went out of her way to avoid all of the attention that followed him around. It endeared her to me even more and when Graham tried to protect her from it, swoon! All of the troubles that were thrown at the two of them made me champion then even further and every time someone or something threatened to stop them in their tracks, I nearly squealed in frustration.

The conclusion and resolution of This is What Happy Looks Like was perfect. I’m so glad that it wasn’t neatly wrapped up and there wasn’t the expected cheesy movie conclusion. I loved it and can’t wait for whatever Jennifer E Smith writes next.

Thanks to Headline for sending me a copy to review.



  1. Yay, you loved it too! Twas pretty awesome, right?

  2. I've read a lot of negative reviews so i'm so glad that you enjoyed it!

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

  3. I definitely need to get a copy of this! Great review Sophie.

  4. I enjoyed this one more than TSPOLAFS as well - glad I'm not the only one! I agree with you, Ellie was a great character, and I thought the ending fit the book very well. Great review!

  5. Great Review Sophie. This looks like a really good book and I really need to get my hands on this one. New follower via GFC and Bloglovin, I'd love it if you could check out my blog. I love your blog, this review has made me even more anxious to read this.

    - Sunny @

  6. I really loved this one! Everything about it just made me happy.


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