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

This Is What Happy Looks LikeTitle: This Is What Happy Looks Like

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Publication date: April 2, 2013

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 404

Source: Bought from Fully Booked

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store




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?

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

*Book details from Barnes & Noble 

My review: 

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith was one of the books I looked forward to in 2013, but I never got a chance to read it because of work duties. Now that I’ve got free time, of course, I grabbed the opportunity to read it. This is the third Jennifer E. Smith book I read. Although I found the book lengthy, it didn’t matter to me because I was smitten from the first page until the last.

This Is What Happy Looks Like is an eye-opener, exhibiting happiness in a way that one doesn’t normally perceive it to be. The kind of happiness expressed in the story comes from within, and is something that material things cannot epitomize. Through its exceptional and poignant prose, the novel could be a soul-stirring journey for readers as it provides them with a deeper and meaningful sense of what happiness is really like.

What I admire in This Is What Happy Looks Like is the complex backstory of characters Ellie and Graham. It makes their personas organic and convincing. Ellie and Graham’s skin-deep flaws paint readers a picture of who they are within. That picture is definitely a strong foundation of each character’s frame, helping readers understand Ellie and Graham down to their core. Jennifer E. Smith is undeniably a champion when it comes to well-developed imperfect characters. The romance in the novel is really earnest and sweet. It’s not insta-love since Ellie and Graham have communicated with each other prior to meeting in person. Their email exchange is so adorable and I loved how it was the beginning of what will become something special—offline.

Jennifer E. Smith’s writing combines rich imagery and strong emotional punch. The author’s dynamic descriptions never fail to project clear mental pictures of scenes that make readers feel involved in the story. Should you be looking for contemporary YA with a unique storyline, depth, and authenticity, you’ll never go wrong with a book by Jennifer E. Smith. Reflecting the truths of teenage life, her stories are oftentimes a phenomenal reading experience as they fill the mind with wisdom that is worth keeping in life.

Shining with hope and bright promises, This Is What Happy Looks Like is a realistic and endearing novel that will carve a smile to anyone’s heart.


4/5 stars


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