Review: This is What Happy Looks Like

August 5, 2013 Review 41 ★★★★

Review: This is What Happy Looks Like
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Poppy
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 416
Release Date: April 2nd, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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?


If I had to choose one word to describe THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE, it would be: cute. Fantastically, adorably, cute. Jennifer E. Smith has this amazing talent of really making you believe in fate and chance and especially love.

I loved THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, but after some less than stellar reviews from other bloggers, my excitement dimmed a bit. However, I knew when I finished the first chapter, this was going to be another favorite.

A movie star, Graham Larkin sometimes just wishes he could get away from it all. At least after he meets Ellie in a twist of fate-a misspelled email address. The two begin talking and are quick to become friends. When Graham ends up in the little town of Maine where Ellie lives, they finally have an opportunity to meet in person, but will it be everything they imagined?

I loved Graham and Ellie so much. Their dynamic worked so well, they really complemented each other’s personalities and were so good for each other. In a contemporary YA, of course there has to be turmoil, so the two are split apart for awhile but the book did not lose its pace. For over four hundred pages, I never really felt a lull in the storyline.


The romance was, like I mentioned above, adorable. These two are like my new favorite couple, the way they talk to each other and feel about each other is really relatable, making you wistful of your own first love.

Like Smith’s other books, this one has somewhat of an open ending, but I have definitely come to appreciate those in her writing. They leave you smiling, and imagining any possibility you want to.

If you liked this review and found it helpful, please vote on Amazon here: This is What Happy Looks Like

Rating Report
Overall: 4.3

41 Responses to “Review: This is What Happy Looks Like”

  1. Aylee

    Oh yup, “cute” would be pretty much my descriptor for this one, too. It may not have been perfect, but it was an absolutely adorable romance and just totally light-hearted and fun. A great summer read. It put a smile on my face, as well, and isn’t that the most important thing when reading for fun? Lovely review!!

  2. Lectus

    Every time I see this book I think of reading it because, when I’m happy, I think that is what happy must look like :-)

    But the summary always throws me off!!! A movie star meets a regular girl? I don’t know, what are the chances of that happening in real life? I mean, totally me teenager dream come true but my teen years are soooo far behind now :-(
    Lectus recently posted…Strangelets by Michelle Gagnon

    • Alise

      I had no idea he was a movie star when I first picked this up so I was a bit surprised when it was revealed, LOL. It’s not quite like the love at first sight movie star regular girl cliche and their relationship developments with neither of them knowing the other’s true identity. I hope you give this a shot :)

  3. Danna

    I really enjoyed The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight so I’m excited to see what the author does in this book:) I love cute, contemporaries and I’m thinking that I’ll really enjoy This is What Happy Looks Like. Thanks for the review!
    Danna recently posted…Review: Hooked by Liz Fichera

    • Alise

      I loved TSPOFAFS (ha) too! This one has a lot of the same elements and I think that is why I enjoyed it so much!

  4. Eve

    I’ve never read anything by Jennifer E. Smith, but I did get The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight as a gift a couple of months ago. If her books are so good, now I kind of hate myself for not reading sooner. Your review totally sold me!
    Eve recently posted…Review: Divergent

  5. Kezia D

    Aww I saw The Statistical yesterday but didn’t buy it! :( sounds like a happy read but I dunno… The title kinda screams insta love xD if it is that good maybe I’ll pick it up later :) I thought this was the sequel of Statistical because the cover looks similar but it’s a whole different story apparently xD
    Kezia D recently posted…[Review] Reboot by Amy Tintera

    • Alise

      xD I know what you mean, but it’s definitely not insta-love. More insta-attraction because the characters seem like they are making fun of insta-love :P Yeah, it’s a whole different story, just the same author :)

  6. Danielle

    I bought this months ago and just read the first few emails and had a big dumb grin on my face for the rest of the day. Oh so cute, I’m glad the rest of the book was good and you enjoyed this. I’ll save this for when I need cheering up, it sounds like the perfect fit.
    Danielle recently posted…Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

    • Alise

      All the negative reviews brought me down as well, but if you read and liked her other book, this is sure to also be a winner :)

    • Alise

      Nope, they are totally unrelated :) Although I do think Statistical Probability is a bit better, and plus it’s shorter so you can see if you like the author’s writing style.

  7. Magen Corrie

    I love when you get through that first chapter and you know you found a book you will just love and enjoy! I’ve been wanting to read this one and I think I need to push it up on me list :) The book sounds adorable and so do the characters!

    Great review! Also, loved that gif!!

  8. Aman

    Ah, we were review twins yesterday, Alise! I fell in love with this book, it was so cute and adorable, specially the ending. I’m not a fan of open endings but this one was just perfect. I didn’t had high hopes for this book because of the okay reviews, but I’m so glad that I’m not one of them. Great review! :)
    Aman recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (47)

    • Alise

      I feel the same about the ending :) Right? All the negative reviews made me less excited too. I’ll check out your review!

  9. Maida

    I can’t wait to read this. I have it sitting on my kindle, and I have heard nothing but great things about it. I completely enjoy cute, contemporary stories, so I know this one will be fun for me too. I really like the sound of Graham and Ellie and their romance. I am curious to see how they both grow throughout the novel, and how their relationship evolves. But, I kinda get really emotional with no HEA, so the open ending has me totally scared. I guess, I’ll have to read it and find out! lol ;p Glad you enjoyed this, Alise! Fabulous review! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 
    Maida recently posted…Cover Reveal: All of You by Christina Lee

    • Alise

      Don’t worry about the ending, it is a happy one :) I’m like that too, so no worries! I think you will definitely enjoy this one, and I would love to hear your thoughts on it if you review it!

  1. Review: This is What Happy Looks Like | Giraffe Days

    […] “If I had to choose one word to describe THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE, it would be: cute. Fantastically, adorably, cute. Jennifer E. Smith has this amazing talent of really making you believe in fate and chance and especially love.” Readers in Wonderland […]

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