Monday, May 13, 2013

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

I have been waiting on this book for a long time. I absolutely loved Smith’s other book, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. And while, I love a lot of the YA contemporary authors that keep writing awesome books, it’s good to get a fresh new voice for this genre too.
The story is sort of a classic romantic comedy “You’ve Got Mail” type story. It begins with an accidental email that Graham sends to Ellie about his pet pig, Wilbur. How could Ellie not respond to that email, even it were an accident? The two build up a virtual friendship with a near constant correspondence. And much of my favorite lines of the book come from their witty email dialogue.  (Note that while this book seems thick, definitely thicker in length than Smith’s other book, keep in mind that a lot of pages have very few words on them –emails take up page space).
Well, it turns out that Graham is a movie star (and he most definitely did not tell Ellie this), and that his next film location is in the small town in Maine, where Ellie lives. Technically, Graham fought for this location because he knew it was where Ellie was from. However, unlike Ellie’s best friend and the rest of town, Ellie seems to be the only one who doesn’t want a movie crew taking up space.
Ellie has a secret she’s never told anyone (especially not Graham), and as the two meet, and become real life friends, Ellie’s secret has a way of putting up major boundaries in regards to this friendship growing into anything more. Ellie’s secret means she needs to avoid cameras at all costs! And cameras follow Graham absolutely everywhere.
This book is loaded with friendship and family drama. It deals with money issues (for Ellie), and success issues for Graham. It’s about two completely different teens finding someone they can trust, no matter what. And it is just so much fun too! Between the boat adventures, the film sets, the dates, the secret beaches, the Fourth of July fireworks, the ice cream fiascos, and the secrets, it was quite honestly impossible to put this book down.
Was the book realistic in the slightest? Not really. How often do we find ourselves in mysterious correspondence with movie stars? And I’m not sure how in love I am with the book condoning digital relationships turned real relationships, because in most cases a girl will not realize the person she is talking to is actually a teen heart throb. However, Smith takes this fantastical (every girl dreams of this happening) idea and gives it authenticity by making the characters so real. Even Graham has his flaws and I found myself often finding myself feeling more sorry for him than for Ellie.
I loved that it takes place in a town with a season (like the town I’m living in). And I found Ellie’s secret to be so amazing! I’m not sure if I’ve ever read from the perspective of a character that’s been through what she has before. So, even while the story is a sort of classic romantic concept, there were definitely new elements thrown in as well. Also, Smith just wows me with her characters. I loved everyone from the main characters, to the best friends, to the people working for Graham, to Ellie’s mom.
This book makes the perfect beginning of summer read. Take it outside and read it in the sun, and it’s even better. It makes me want to go on a YA contemporary binge. I give it a 9/10. And I look forward to anything else this author has to say.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I also loved "The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight" I can't wait to read this one, it sounds awesome!