Monday, October 28, 2013
Review: This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Published: 2 April 2013
Synopsis: From Goodreads, "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?"
Review: Jennifer E. Smith knows how to write books that grab at you and makes you love her characters. As the writer of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I also got sucked in and cared about her main characters and wanted to follow them through from beginning to end, regardless of how "probable" the scenario they were put in.
In this scenario, Ellie has met a movie star through a misplaced email, only she doesn't know that he is a movie star, nor that he has suggested her hometown for their movie set. As the filming begins in her hometown in Maine, the loneliness and desperation he feels to meet this funny girl he has been exchanging emails with over the Internet has driven him to locate her and connect in real life. Will the variables be too much for them, and will she be able to handle all of his fame?
The premise of this story was pretty out there, but still woven together so well because the characters had such interesting and quirky back stories, that you couldn't help but keep reading. Both were so vulnerable, and in weird ways! I guess we don't always think that the rich movie star might be lonely and seeking validation and love, but that is exactly what Graham is doing. All he really wants is to escape his Hollywood life to spend time with a nice, regular girl like Ellie. How is it that he ends up being the one we feel so sorry for in the end? Yet, Ellie also has a story that tugs at your heart strings, that unfolds over the course of the story that we all come to understand why she fears getting to know Graham. In short--it's a little scary to date a guy who has paparazzi following him. That, I do get!
I really loved this novel, almost as much as I did Smith's The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Honestly, I just really love her fresh writing style that makes you feel as though you are in the story with her characters and helps you feel what they are feeling. The story is more than going through the motions; it is about feeling all of their joys and fears with them. I loved these characters and thought this was a fun premise to consider "what if" you fell for a teenage movie star? Wouldn't it just be fun to test that out and see what would happen?!?
This was a great, fun read. If you're looking for a fun, clean, romantic YA read--this has a bit of it all, with a surprising storyline that you haven't quite seen before. I really enjoyed it! It's too cute.
*FTC Disclosure: This review was based on a library copy of the novel.