Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review | This Is What Happy Looks Like

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Review by Alyssa
April 2013 by Poppy
416 pages
Amazon + Good Reads

"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?"
-Good Reads

Can I just dub 2013 as the Year of the Contemporaries? Seriously, though - when 2014 finally rolls around, I'm going to be knee deep in a YA contemporary hangover. Let's just add This Is What Happy Looks Like to the list and move on. 

I picked up This Is What Happy Looks Like on a whim. Jennifer E. Smith's name has been floating around my TBR for a while (namely, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight) and when I saw this title in the library, I decided now was as good as any to try it out. It proved to be an incredibly quick read (two days) and was a quintessential summer time contemporary read. It was cute, fluffy, a bit unbelievable, and I totally want to see it made into an ABC Family movie. 

This book didn't blow me away by any means. I hate to say it, but I feel as though, once you've read a handful of YA contemporary, you've basically read them all. Sure, some will stick with you longer than others, and the stories can be unique but... contemporary is contemporary, right? I hope that I didn't offend anyone with that statement. 

The characters were easy to like. Ellie is the typical small town girl, who is hiding from an enormous past and is very reluctant to get involved with our male lead. Graham is a young actor who has just risen to stardom, frustrated with his status in his new found fame. The two had adorable chemistry with each other and I couldn't help but want their relationship to work.

The plot moved at a fairly steady pace. Ellie and Graham experienced the typical roadblocks in their relationship and I was so happy that there was no over the top drama... except of course, that the male love interest is basically the equivalent of Harry Styles but, yeah... 

Unfortunately, my biggest problem with this book was the ending. There was so much build up, so many different directions that Ellie and Graham could have taken, only for... nothing. Literally, nothing. I legitimately stared at the acknowledgements page (that follows the last page of the novel) for at least ten minutes thinking, "Really...? Really?" I am not a fan of stories that have wide open endings... I need closure... Hell, I need to know what happened to Graham and Ellie.

Jennifer E. Smith, if you're reading this - could you please tell me what happened to them!? 

All in all, this was an adorable read but not a favorite. If the ending had offered just a bit more closure, I would have been totally sold. That being said, if you're a fan of summer contemporary books - this book is for you. 

Have you read This Is What Happy Looks Like? If so, let me know if you were upset with the ending too!

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