Tuesday, 2 April 2013

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith

Publisher: Headline
Published: 4th April 2013
Pages: 404
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? 

When Ellie gets an random email, the stranger on the other end becomes a friend to talk to without judgement. For Graham, it is a relief to talk to someone who doesn't feel intimidated by his movie-presence, someone he doesn't have to pretend with. So when he gets a chance to film his new movie in Ellie's home town, he thinks it's the prefect opportunity to meet her. Of course, doesn't really start off very well. First, the town is turned upside down with production trailers, film stars and paparazzi. Then Ellie's friend is wearing her name tag at the sweet shop and a slightly embarrassing case of mistaken identity later, Graham is finally on the right track.

I haven't read Jennifer Smith's first book - trust me, I want to and after reading this one, now I really, really want to! This was sweet and cute, yet dealt with more pressing issues than 'does he really like me?' Which is impressive. It was not the usual love story; I liked how it focused more on their own personal development rather than them trying to get together, like with Graham's parents not understanding his new acting world, and the mystery behind Ellie's father. Yet even with all their other drama, Ellie and Graham had instant chemistry without even trying.

Ellie was really sweet, the only daughter to a single mum, with money problems, loves poetry and when she strikes up with email correspondence, there is a sense of secrecy and worry that she doesn't tell anyone. And Graham was so lovely, I couldn't believe he'd been sucked into the double-standard world of acting! I loved especially how neither of them pretended to be anything different than who they were in their emails - even if they didn't reveal identities, they let themselves be real with each other. And as much as I loved the characters, Henley was just perfect. The sense of small-town America was adorable and touching and really felt a world away from everything else.

The email's inter-spacing their real-life interactions were lovely, this sense that they still communicated in the way they started. But alongside this was how they both grew; Ellie got the confidence to find her father and Graham made stronger connections with his family. Before I gush too much, I just want to add that I loved how they came together at the end, overcoming their fears of what could happen with the fame and just enjoyed each other's company.

Thank you to Headline for my copy.


  1. Gah, so looking forward reading this! Glad you enjoyed it :)

  2. Yes, completely agree with this review! I was impressed and pleased that this one was more than just a romance story. It really gave the chance for the characters to grow. Henley - and indeed the entire novel - was utterly charming!

  3. Completely agree with this! I really loved this book but was glad there was more to it than the love story.

    So glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Aww this book sounds really sweet- glad you enjoyed it but I want it now too! *Drowns under wishlist*