Sunday, May 12, 2013

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Publisher: Poppy

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?  -

This was a cute contemporary story that fit neatly along with the contemp romance thing kick that I've been on lately.  It was another of those "average girl meets a movie star" guy stories, but this one had somewhat of a unique little twist to it that made it more fresh that some of the others I've read in the past.  He is a movie star, but she isn't completely average herself.  She's the estranged daughter of a senator, whose mother wants to keep them in quiet obscurity where no one knows about them.  So garnering the attention of the paparazzi for hanging out with a teen heartthrob boy is not exactly a good idea.

I really liked the characters.  I thought Ellie was sweet, down to earth, and remarkably unaffected by the fact that she's got a movie star guy interested in.  I'm not sure how realistic that would be, but I went with it.  And Graham himself is completely different than I expected him to be.  This is a guy who is also unaffected by his own press.  He's a good guy with a good heart who misses being a part of a family and feeling like he belongs somewhere.  That internal angst and loneliness made me like him more, and made me root for them to be together so that he could have someone.

I liked how they met, as they were able to get to know each other before the whole movie star issue came between them and changed things.  So there could be no doubt that her feelings for him were genuine, as she started to like him before finding out what he was.  This was another twist that made things unique from other books of this kind.

As far as things I wish were different... I would have liked to have seen more resolution on the whole father scenario.  I wanted to see more interaction, and I feel like this was a missed opportunity for some more emotional development.  I also wasn't a huge fan of the ending.  Although it did end well, there was nothing definite, and I really like my happily ever afters to be a bit more tightly woven.

On the whole, however, I really enjoyed the book.  The writing was serious and some scenes very thought-provoking.  A nice romantic read for a nice long weekend afternoon.


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