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

This Is What Happy Looks Like
(This Is What Happy Looks Like #1)
by Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Romance

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 started off so good. I loved that due to an email address error, Graham accidentally emails Ellie. What starts out as an innocent mistake quickly turns into a secret friendship. Over a handful of months these two exchange emails back and forth. While Ellie doesn’t know anything about Graham, not even his name, Graham has been able to figure out her name and where she lives. So when the location for his upcoming movie falls through, he suggests they film in her neck of the woods. Which is how these two go from being anonymous pen pals to meeting face-to-face.

While I really enjoyed the beginning of this book and the whole idea of dating a celebrity, I did have some problems with the story. A lot of stuff just gets glossed over. I felt like we were only getting a glimmer of the whole story. You know Ellie is an illegitimate daughter of a Senator who’s apparently running for president, but that’s all you really get. Even when she meets him and her face is later plastered all over the newspapers, you’d think something would come of that. Then, you have Ellie’s best friend who randomly ices her out for something as silly as Ellie having a pen pal who apparently is a celebrity. Something that Ellie didn’t even know. Then there’s their romance. They have a snippet of time, two days to be precise, to actually be around each other before Ellie freaked out and ignored him for the rest of his time filming. Then on the last couple of days, they reunite like they’ve been together this whole time. I didn’t feel like it was enough to get a sense of them as a couple, or to understand their strong feelings of love for one another. So, I honestly don’t know what happens with them after the film shooting ends and he moves on to the next location. There was just so much that was sort of glossed over that I really wish the author had taken more time to flesh it all out.

While I thought this was a cute idea, there isn’t much there. It’s honestly just a story about a small town girl meeting and falling in love with a celebrity. If you’re looking for a light and quick read, then this is the book for you. Just don’t expect much to take place.



Favorite quote…

β€œChildhood memories were like airplane luggage; no matter how far you were traveling or how long you needed them to last, you were only ever allowed two bags.”




26 Thoughts on “Review: This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

  1. The correspondence thing was what grabbed my attention at first and I really though it was a nice idea, too bad it turned out to be just another light read like that in the end πŸ™

  2. Too bad it wasn’t more for this one. I tried a book by the author a long time ago but I can’t remember it.

    • This is the first one by her that I’ve read. I have another book by her on my shelf. I think it’s The Distance Between You and Me. I’d have to check though. Hopefully I enjoy that story more than this one.

  3. I always like the premise and beginning of her books but they never quite get there for me.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

    • I love celebrity romance and I loved how these two start talking, but yeah… it didn’t work for me. Hopefully the next book I try from her is a bit more to my liking.

  4. Bummer this did not work out for you. Sounds different with how they met.

  5. This is my favorite JES book. It just made me happy. I was quite pleased when she gave us the followup novella too.

    • I’m glad to hear you like the book. I still need to read the novella. Hopefully the short story will give me some closure and answer some things for me.

  6. Sorry you didn’t like this one that much. I guess sometimes one needs a drama less story. It sounds cute though. πŸ™‚

  7. bookwormbrandee on 29 January, 2018 at 5:42 pm said:

    Hmm, I see what you mean, Kristin. The beginning sounds good and seems well done. But then things definitely seem to fall apart from there. That’s too bad since the story had such promise.

    • I really enjoyed the beginning and all their correspondence via email. I just felt like once they met up, the story sort of scattered and we never really got to see them fully connect.

  8. I think I bought this one at a book charity sale last year. Too bad it fizzled out after the good start.

  9. The idea of an errant email seems cute, but not really for me. Glad you want to read more from the author.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  10. Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it more.

  11. What a shame…sounds like so much potential.

  12. I am sorry this one did not work for you. Love the title.

  13. It sounds like it would be interesting and a fun read. That’s too bad that it went a bit downhill after they met in person. Thank you for the review.

    • I love celebrity romances and thought this was a really fun way for them to connect. I just wish there was more of them together in person so that I could get a better grasp on their relationship.

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