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March 21, 2013

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

This Is What Happy Looks Like
Title: This is What Happy Looks Like 
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: HBG Canada
Publication date: April 2, 2013
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary/Romance)
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Pages: 416
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? 
This is What Happy Looks Like will not disappoint fans of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Smith's earlier contemporary novel. I personally enjoyed both stories, but didn't love them. I think that Smith's writing doesn't appeal to me 100% which is why I never really completely connected with the plot and characters. Nevertheless, This is What Happy Looks Like is a story filled with a ton of humor, friendship, romance, layered characters, and a beachside setting, the type of setting I love in contemporary novels. 
I have to say, the plot of this novel is one that could create endless funny, butterfly inducing, and cute scenes and story lines. A celebrity actor, think Zac Efron, accidentally emails a small town girl who he thought was his pet walker. Not only that but his pet is a pig! That in itself had me laughing every time I remember it. When the misunderstanding is cleared, meaning the girl isn't the pet walker, they start to send emails back and forth. Of course Graham hid from Emma his celebrity status which is to be expected. After a couple of months, Graham ends up in Emma's town for his outdoor filming for his next movie. You all now think it will be a happily ever after from now but that's not the case. 
Emma is a very complex character, she tries to stay away from the spotlight, her and her mom, for some reasons that you find out later in the story. I loved that Emma wasn't selfish or too selfless, she thought about her family first but at the same time still thought of herself. She has emotional issues in regards to her lack of a father and his high status in the country at the moment. Graham on the other hand has his own family problems and I really felt for him. Imagine getting instant fandom after a movie and then seeing the closest people, your mom and dad, change the way they act around you and treat you like a celebrity, i.e.: stranger. I enjoyed their emotional development but I grew kind of tired of the internal monologues after some point in the novel. I wished there were more time spent together between the two or at least more side characters involved.  
This novel is told from both Graham and Emma's POVs and is more of a reflective and healing book than outright romantic. Yes there is romance, but that is secondary to the friendship that both Emma and Graham needed in each other. Like I mentioned before, I didn't connect with the novel completely but I do like Emma, Graham, and their story. Fans of Smith's tSPoLaFS will fall in love with This is What Happy Looks Like! 
Other books by Jennifer E. Smith

28 comments:

  1. Ooooh! This sounds perfect for me and I LOVE dual POV. Can't wait!

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  2. I am actually reading this book right now. I haven't read her earlier book but I do say I am enjoying this one so far:)

    Thanks for the review!

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  3. I have to admit that I love books where the friendship is in the foreground and romance is secondary. This one looks adorable and somewhat reminiscent of a Meg Cabot book I read many years ago. Great review :)

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  4. Glad it's told in dual perspective...I wanted Oliver's POV in TSPoLaFS. I'm afraid after we agreed on that book about not connecting with the characters that I'll probably have similar problems with this one, but it sounds cute so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt for now. :P

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  5. I love dual POV's and this sounds like a cute book. I loved TSPoLaFS so I am really looking forward to this one.

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  6. I'm reviewing this Saturday. I didn't like it as much as TSPoLaFS, and I thought there were a few believability issues, but overall it was a fun and entertaining book.

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  7. I think I'll like this one. And I can imagine lol'ing about the pig's status as a pet! Graham and Emma both sound like good characters, but I'm sorry that you didn't connect with this book very well. Great review, Juhina! (:

    Loves,
    Megan@The Book Babe

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  8. This story sounds adorable! I still haven't read TSPoLaFS it's been on my bookshelf forever, if I enjoy it I will definitely be picking this book up!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

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  9. I love the fact that it's told from two different POVs - I like books like that. And I also like that it's not just about romance. This one's actually on my wishlist so I'm really looking forward to reading it :)

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  10. Great review and while you didn't love them I am glad you enjoyed them. I do like the two pov's I am finding they give you are more up close and personal relationship with the characters.

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  11. I read the free preview from Amazon and I get what your are saying. I loved their email exchange and cute messages but I couldn't connect with them either. The story is so sweet that I'll definitely give it a try. Fabulous review, Juhina!

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  12. I completely agree with your first paragraph, though in relation to The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. I liked it well enough, though never did connect with it fully. Even though this had the same sort of reaction, I'm glad you enjoyed it overall! Great review, Juhina. :)

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  13. I'm so excited to read this. I enjoyed The Statistical Probability... but didn't love it, but I think this sounds like a fuller story that I'll really love (hopefully!).

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  14. Great Review, this sound awesome! Thanks for sharing

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  15. Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait! I did hear that before from someone else, that they weren't able to connect in quite the same way, but I'm anxious to find out how I'll feel. :)

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

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  16. That cover makes me happy. I'm interested enough to add to my wish list.

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  17. Awe, this does sound really good and right up my alley. Great review. :D

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

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  18. I'm looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for the review.

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  19. This one sounds super cute! I really enjoyed The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight so I think I will definitely be checking this one out! Thanks for the review!!

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  20. I'm sorry to hear that you didn't completely connect to this, but am glad you enjoyed it overall. I love the sound of it, and the cover is so cute. It's nice when friendship comes before romance, isn't it? :)

    Lovely review! ^^

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  21. I definitely want to read this one... love the review!! I also liked Statistical Prob. but didn't LOVE it. It was cute, but kinda short for me.

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  22. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it as much. I can't say anything about Smith's writing as I haven't yet read TSPoLaFS, but I'm still excited to read both book. It seems really funny and carefree read, so I think I'll probably read both of the books soon. Great review Juhina!

    Anatea @ Anatea's Bookshelf

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  23. I want to read it. I love dual POVs.

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  24. I've always wanted a pet pig! LOL This just sounds all kinds of cute and fun!

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  25. I wasn't impressed with her first contemp! It was only okay when I exoected to love it. But I've heard such good things about this one that I can't wait to read! It sounds so cute! Happy you enjoyed it but sad that you didn't LOVE it!

    Jasmine

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  26. I am in the mood for a good beach read right now (considering it just snowed AGAIN where I live) I could really use a nice reading escape! I'm glad you enjoyed this one =)

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  27. Jennifer E. Smith is such a talented writer. I have enjoyed and read all of her books. They are wonderful!
    Best TrustPrice

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  28. I LOVED The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. This sounds like another great contemporary read from Jennifer E. Smith. I'm looking forward to this one. Thanks for the review!
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