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

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?
It's June- seventeen-year-old Ellie O'Neill's least favourite time of the year. Her tiny hometown is invaded by tourists, and this year there's the added inconvenience of a film crew. Even the arrival of Hollywood heart-throb Graham Larkin can't lift her mood.
But there is something making Ellie very happy. Ever since an email was accidentally sent to her a few months ago, she's been corresponding with a mysterious stranger, the two of them sharing their hopes and fears. Their developing relationship is not without its secrets though- there's the truth about Ellie's past...and her pen pal's real identity. When they finally meet in person, things are destines to get much more complicated. Can two people, worlds apart but brought together by chance, make it against all odds?
I absolutely adored Jennifer E. Smith's last book The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight so I have really looked forward to reading her latest book This Is What Happy Looks Like. I have to say that Jennifer E. Smith's books have the best titles and I loved the yellow cover for this one.
I can't really review this book without including spoilers but I think it is pretty obvious from the synopsis as to what will happen.
Ellie O'Neill receives an email from GDL824@yahoo.com, whoever sent it got the address wrong as it was meant for a different recipient. However they are soon emailing back and forth and this is what we have at the beginning of the book. This was one of my favourite parts, it's so easy to be honest and open when talking to a stranger, especially via email, there's no pressure or preconceptions.
Ellie begins to look forward to these emails every day, she can't believe how close she feels to someone she has never met. This all changes when Ellie realises that the stranger she has been emailing is actually the movie star Graham Larkin. He is no longer a pen-pal but a real life person in her small town where he is filming his latest movie. After the initial shock Ellie wants to get to know Graham but she has secrets in her past and being photographed with Graham could ruin everything. Is Ellie going to give up a chance of happiness in order to keep her past hidden?
Jennifer E. Smith has written another great book. I love the dialogue she creates between the characters, Ellie and Graham's relationship is very realistic and their interactions show their deep affection for each other.
This Is What Happy Looks Like is such a good idea, it's a classic love story with a twist. What would you do if you fell in love with a huge celebrity? Would you be happy to become part of their public and exposed life? I really enjoyed Graham's perspective in the book,
especially regarding his relationship with his parents. Outwardly, Graham looks as though he has it all but he begins to questions the sacrifices he has made for his career.
This Is What Happy Looks Like is a great read, I think it will appeal to a Young Adult audience and also cross over to older readers. I think Jennifer E. Smith offers something new to this genre, it will be very exciting to see what she does next.

Dot Scribbles Rating: 4/5
Publisher: Headline Review
Number of pages: 416

Many thanks to Sam at Headline for sending me a copy, it is available now!


Jo said...

I have this on my pile of arc to read! Might need to come nearer the top now!

Mama J said...

Love the sound of the corresponding by email while not knowing who the recipient is. A bit like in You've Got Mail (my favourite film).

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