Saturday, 15 June 2013

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

Title: This is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy
Released:  April 2013

Summary: 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?    

The lives of Hollywood actors has always fascinated me the teensy tinsiest bit. We all know at the end of the day that they're just normal people like me and you. Well maybe not exactly like me and you, but they're human (although, the jury is still out on some of them). It's just that you have to wonder sometimes what it would be like living the way that they do.

In This is What Happy Looks Like we get to meet Graham Larkin, a somewhat reluctant teen heartthrob who much prefers spending time with his pet pig Wilbur than partying it up in LA. Does someone like Graham Larkin exist in Hollywood today? Probably not. I mean we can dream though. While Graham has more money than he could possibly ever need, and is famous throughout the world...he isn't happy. His distant relationship with his parents and the isolation he feels due to his fame are some of the elements that bring a bit of reality to this, overall, unrealistic and cliche ridden novel. 

The romance between Graham and Ellie is cute and nicey-nice. The email exchanges between them at the beginning of the novel were especially sweet and funny. And while they  are both decent human beings - Ellie is a down-to-earth, smart girl and Graham is a genuinely good  guy - there wasn't enough character wise and plot wise to really dig your teeth into. I felt as though this book had the makings of being great, but missed the mark along the way and ultimately fell flat. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy reading this book, because I did. The writing is good and I liked the romance between Ellie and Graham.  

This is What Happy Looks Like is a light read with a likable characters and a cute romance. While it lacks the spark and depth of other novels in this genre, and is not as compelling as Smith's 2012 novel The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, it is still sure to please those of us who are fascinated (okay, slightly obsessed) with Hollywood stars and the entertainment business. 

Recommended for people who like: Fluffy reads, lifestyles of the rich and famous, E! News.

What did you think about This is What Happy Looks Like? 


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