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

Posted 4 June, 2013 by Pushy in Blog, Pushy, Pushy Book Review / 8 Comments

Review: This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. SmithThis Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Hachette Audio on April 2nd 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

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?

Let Your Summer Be Happy

I’m a fan of epistolary forms of books, so I was delighted to find This is What Happy Looks Like opened in the email version of this format. With the delightfully simple device of a misaddressed missive, Jennifer Smith introduces us to Graham and Ellie, two teens with well suited personalities who turn into quite amusing pen pals and through Graham’s machinations become so much more.

I hadn’t read much about Jennifer Smith or her books prior to picking this book up, so I came in with no expectations or preconceptions. And so it was with true delight that I listened to this story unfold.

Graham is a very easily imagined character. Think of any of so many young Hollywood stars who are filled with charm and easy good looks but seem shocked to find that those very characteristics lead to a disproportionate amount of public interest. Add in the fact that despite his being completely adrift personally, disconnected from his family and former friends, he remains kind and upbeat, I found him to be an immensely sympathetic character.

Equally, Ellie is your typical good girl. She’s bright and talented and sweet, yet for all that, she’s no cardboard cut out leading girl. She’s got a sly sense of humor and a secret past, both of which give her depths worth exploring. Plus, there’s such a chemistry created between her and the reader, I found her impossible to resist!

And it’s not only Graham and Ellie I adored but the myriad secondary characters in this book. Ellie’s mom, her best friend, even Graham’s pig, Wilber, help flesh out this story beautifully. Add into the mix a setting that’s lush and inviting and a series of events that keep the drama dancing along, and I think you’ll find yourself as charmed by this story as I was.

Bewitched Rating


Bottom Line

Fun, light hearted but with enough meat to hold your interest all the way through, This is What Happy Looks Like is what perfect summer reading looks like. Pick it up today and see for yourself!


Get your own audiobook at Audible: This Is What Happy Looks Like (unabridged, 8hrs 37min)

I absolutely, hands down, adored the audiobook version of this book! And a HUGE thank you to Hachette Audio who provided me this copy for review. As I said above, I hadn’t heard much about this book before I requested it for review, but when I started listening to the opening chapters, I fell under the spell of the narrators, Andrew Sweeney and Marcie Millard.

With perfect pacing and inflection, they drew me into the world of Graham and Ellie. With equal measures sweet and snarky, wry and hopeful, they bring both their characters and world they inhabit so fully into life. I found myself so enthralled that the story flew by and finished far sooner than I would like.

If you are at all a fan of audiobooks, I highly recommend you pick This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith up in audio format!

Now go and get lost…in a book!
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Lover of words and authors; absolute fan girl of books! Give me a good story, with characters I can love (and hate) and I'll follow you anywhere. Sing me a song of worlds I can dream of, and I'll listen forever.

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