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

This Is What HAPPY Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: This Is What HAPPY Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Headline (4th April 2013)

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

It’s June – seventeen-year-old Ellie O’Neill’s least favourite time of year. Her tiny hometown is annually 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 destined to get much more complicated. Can two people, worlds apart but brought together by chance, make it against all the odds?

Spanning one fateful summer, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel proves that life – and love – are full of unexpected connections and happy mistakes.

Rating: ** (2 stars)

THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE is the second stand-alone novel from author Jennifer E. Smith. It tells the story of Ellie O’Neill – a seventeen-year-old who lives in a coastal town in Maine. The story takes place between June and July, whilst a film crew (and the typical holiday makers) invade the town. The narrative is split between emails between Ellie and her mysterious pen pal, and chapters following the story of Ellie and her pen pal.

I was really looking forward to reading this book. First, I thought the premise of the book sounded like it could be a LOT of fun. And second, I had heard a lot of good things both about the book, and about the author and her debut novel THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. Plus, I thought the title – THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE – sounded like an interesting concept. I mean, what exactly does happy look like?! I’m pretty sure “happy” is defined different by everyone. So, I wondered how Smith would portray it in this book.

This book is a really sweet and fluffy romance. I really enjoyed the way that the chapters of the book and the changing narrative were interspaced by emails between Ellie and her pen pal. The emails really added to the story, and didn’t feel superfluous as they gave insights into the characters. I also liked the fact that we get to read the emails from the get-go, so we can see first hand how things develop and change between them. The plot, at its bare bones, is the typical boy meets girl romance. However, things (as they always seem to do) get a little complicated as both Ellie and her pen pal are keeping secrets.

Now, as I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve given the book 2 stars – I thought it was okay. Don’t let this put you off, if you think this book might be for you. I did think the book was okay. Smith did a lot of things right in the book, and in all honesty it hovers between 2 and 3 stars – I thought it was okay and I liked it. However, personally I did have a couple of issues with it. One of which was the secrets aspect of the novel – honestly, for me, it wasn’t needed and didn’t really bring anything to the plot. The other is in relation to Ellie’s Mom. There were certain situations that just infuriated me. So, as you can see my “issues” with the book are personal ones that probably won’t affect you, but they did influence my feelings about the book.

If you are looking for a light, fluffy, summer romance then you should pick up THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE and give it a try.

4 thoughts on “Review: This Is What HAPPY Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

  1. I definitely enjoyed This is What Happy Looks Like, but I didn’t like it as much as Statistical. I actualyl don’t find her books fo very fluffy. They’re not heavy, of course, but I always feel like there is a melancholy atmosphere. That might just be me, though. I guess for me, fluffy = funny, and I didn’t find this one funny.


  2. I read this book so long ago i don’t really remember all that much many things but i do remember liking it and giving it 3 stars. from what i can remember the romance was cute but i think i also had problems with Ellie’s mom and her friendship with her friend. I remember being iffy about it.


  3. Pingback: ICYMI Sunday 5 – The one with a new Harry Potter Cover link! | The Flutterby Room

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