Thursday, 20 February 2014

Review: This is What Happy Looks Like

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: This is What Happy Looks Like
Series: none
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Published: Headline; 2013
404 pages, paperback
Source: Borrowed from the library
 Description (from Goodreads):

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

It's June - seventeen-year-old Ellie O'Neill's least favourite time of year. Her tiny hometown is annually invaded by tourists, and this year there's added inconvenience of a film crew. Even the arrival of Hollywood heart-throb Graham Larkin can't lift her mood.

But there is something making Ellie very happy. Ever since an email was accidently sent to her a few months ago, she's been corresponding with a mysterious stranger, the two of them sharing their hopes and fears. Their developing relationship is not without its secrets though - there's the truth about Ellie's past... and her pen pal's real identity. When they finally meet in person, things are destined to get much more complicated. Can two people, worlds apart but bought together by chance, make it against all the odds?

My Thoughts:
This Is What Happy Looks Like is a sweet and light-hearted contemporary read about small-town girl, Ellie, and her accidental pen pal and teen superstar, Graham. It starts when Graham accidentally emails Ellie about his pet pig, Wilbur. They don't know who each other is but they connect instantly, they enjoy the anonymity of it all, and soon it blooms into a regular correspondence. They exchange random messages about everything and nothing, but soon begin to confide in each other, their fears and hopes. It takes a while but soon Graham realises he is falling for her, this girl halfway across the county that he has never met, whose name he doesn't even know. But Graham isn't going to let it stay that way for long. His next movie needs a small-town real-life set - and he knows just the place... What happens next is a funny, witty and highly-amusing story that will knock your socks off.

I loved every aspect of this. I don't know what I was expecting, something a little cheesier I guess. I mean superstar falls for the "nobody" girl? A little clichéd, eh? But it isn't anything like that. Its was also a story of a ordinary boy trying to discover who he really is while simultaneously trying to dodge the paparazzi and film a highly anticipated movie. His family is slowly falling apart, his manager is forcing him in directions that he isn't comfortable taking and he doesn't know what he wants anymore.
This Is What Happy Looks Like is partly a tale of his journey. Figuring out what he wants, who he wants in his life.

The other half is a moving tale about the discovery of love and all its possibilities. Ellie and Graham aren't a perfect couple, they have a few kinks to work out but I love the journey they travel to discover what they want. Ellie is feisty and stubborn and not afraid to say what she is thinking. Graham is funny and loyal and sweet. Together they have something beautiful...

I really, really enjoyed this book. It was light-hearted but had a serious undertone that approached some deeper subjects that I were touchingly written. I loved the characters and how they made me laugh and laugh. Overall, this was one hell of a contemporary novel that I would highly recommend to fans of
Anna and the French Kiss and everyone else really. I am definitely going to be checking out more of Jennifer E Smith's work. This was amazing.

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