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

15790873 Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: December 24, 2013 by Poppy
Length: 407 pages
Source: bought (at Barnes & Noble)

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 is such a cute book! It is written in 3rd person point of view and alternates between Ellie’s and Graham’s perspective. The story begins when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an e-mail instead of sending it to someone who will babysit his pet pig, Wilbur. I really like the two main characters because they are so believable. Ellie’s life is simple; she goes to work at Sprinkles (an icecream parlor) and uses the money she earns to fulfill her dream. Graham on the other hand just wants people to see him for who he is. He is tired of people, especially girls, treating him “extra special” just because he is a celebrity. There are also a couple of Charlotte’s Web references which made me smile because it is one of my all time favorite children’s book.

The story takes place in Maine, and the way the author describes the setting felt like I was there. She uses a lot of descriptions but not too much that it will make you bored. I can easily imagine the beach scenes, Graham and Ellie’s dates and their adventures, where Ellie works, etc.

Family and friendship is also significant in this book. The two main characters help each other out to resolve their family conflicts which I really loved because it shows that these characters are compassionate and caring. I really recommend reading this book because it was a light, fluffy read and it was easy to just dive into the story. At times it was a bit unrealistic and hard to believe but overall  I enjoyed it.

4 of 5

20 Responses to “Review: This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith”

  1. 1 Daevone September 29, 2014 at 12:13 AM

    Great review Leigh. Because of you, I now have a new book to add to my To-Read list.

  2. 3 thewritinghufflepuff September 29, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    Definitely putting this on my TBR 🙂

  3. 5 SarahClare September 29, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Hm, I’m still not sure if Smith’s writing style suits my reading style. Heh heh. I think it’s the flip flop between characters that sometimes happens so fast! Yeah. I love the cover of this one though! I might give it a go.

    Nice post! 🙂

  4. 7 Sam September 29, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    I’ve already ordered THE GEOGRAPHY OF ME AND YOU, so I’m very excited to read this author’s work. This one does sound super cute, though. As usual, GREAT post. 🙂

    Samantha | Bookish Serendipity

  5. 9 Aimee September 30, 2014 at 7:45 AM

    Awesome review, Leigh! I really enjoyed this one as well–the emails and their real-life interactions were cute. 🙂 I think it’s my favorite Jen E. Smith book so far (I also read The Statistical and a few chapters of The Geography). 🙂

    • 10 Leigh (LittleBookStar) September 30, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      Yes! I love the e-mail conversations the most. I wish the author had more of those. It was fun and exciting what the other character will reply and vice versa. I still need to read The Geography. I read Statistical and liked it but at times it was ridiculously unrealistic.

  6. 11 One Curvy Blogger September 30, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Ack, this sounds so cute! I love all animals, and I love it when author’s give pets their own personalities. The book sounds intriguing… may have to add it to the TBR.

  7. 13 Sydney October 2, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    I’ve had this on my TBR for awhile now, but seeing as I haven’t been in much of a contemporary mood lately I just haven’t picked it up. I’ll definitely give it a shot next time I’m feeling something contemporary, though. ;D

  8. 15 Alise (Readers in Wonderland) October 2, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    Totally agree! The main thing I remember about this book and that I mentioned in my review: it’s cute. For sure. I also liked the characters because they were really easy to imagine as real people 🙂

  9. 17 Hazel @ Stay Bookish October 4, 2014 at 12:23 AM

    So glad you liked this one, Leigh! TIWHLL isn’t my favourite Jen E. Smith but I thought it was really cute and fluffy too! I really enjoyed Ellie and Graham’s emails! 😀

  10. 19 NIcole @ The Quiet Concert October 6, 2014 at 8:22 AM

    I didn’t find this one all that believable but I still thought it was a solid contemporary with a lot of likability. The email chain was cute, the setting was great, and I liked that the story was about more than just them!

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Well hello there! Thank you so much for stopping by. Little Book Star is a young adult book blog ran by Leigh, an 18 year old avid reader. This blog consists of book reviews, giveaways, author interviews, and more! Feel free to explore!

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