This Is What Happy Looks Like – Jennifer E Smith

Sent: Thursday, March 7th, 2013 10:18PM
Subject: (no subject) 

Hey, we’re running pretty behind here. Any chance you could walk Wilbur for me tonight? 

Sent: Thursday, March 7th, 2013 10:24PM
Subject: Re: (no subject) 

I think you have the wrong email address. But since I’m a dog owner too, and I don’t want poor Wilbur to be stranded, I thought I’d write back and let you know…”

When an email pops up on Ellie O’Neill’s screen from Graham about his pet Wilbur needing a walk she has to answer it, she can’t leave Wilbur stranded. Assuming Wilbur is a dog, Ellie’s reply starts a stream of emails between the two, and they connect instantly. All the while Ellie isn’t aware that Graham is actually a world famous film star and Graham doesn’t realise that Ellie has secrets of her own. 
When Graham’s new film needs a new picturesque coastal location, he manages to persuade the directer that Ellie’s hometown of Hanley Maine is the perfect place, but once he’s there the two of them realise that whats done cannot be undone and nothing will be easy when a rich film star tries to have a real relationship with a small town girl. 

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

***
I have been looking forward to this book for months, maybe even longer. Since I read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight I knew Jennifer E Smith was going to be huge and I would read any of her books, thankfully her new one, This is What Happy Looks Like did not disappoint and I think I may have liked it even more!
The story is cute, but thankfully has some serious issues at hand too. The two characters connect instantly over email but there’s always a niggling feeling from Ellie especially with regard to talking to a stranger online, I think thats why she doesn’t tell anyone including her best friend Quinn, that she’s been chatting to a stranger online. Graham has issues with regards to his fame and as its all quite new to him he struggles with being recognised, with the paparazzi and with his agent telling him what to do and who to date. The two of them both also have family issues which are very prominent and I liked the way the stroy dealt with that a lot. I think a good romance does need a bit of backbone, a bit of depth to it and This is What Happy Looks Like definitely does.
The characters are really cool and I loved Ellie, she was a little impulsive but I think thats because Graham showing up and him being who he is made her go off the rails a little bit, especially when she falls out with Quinn. I loved Graham but I’m sad to say I loved GDL824 a little bit more, Graham was sweet but there was something about him in real life that didn’t impress me as much, though I think it was his constant worry about photographers and people recognising him, I can image its hard. Ellie’s mum was the best and I really loved their relationship, I understood it in a big way and loved that her mum had always been there for her, no matter what, the same with Quinn, I really liked her and understood her anger towards Ellie, I was so happy when the two of them made up after their argument because I wanted to see more of Quinn. 
The book definitely has a small town feel to it and I liked that most of the characters, even the background ones like Joe who owned the Lobster Pot and Meg who owned the deli, were named. I could feel the sense of community and even though I grew up in the middle of nowhere in dingy, cold Northern England, I could relate a lot to Henley. 
The interspersed emails between the two characters, and Ellie’s ‘saved drafts’ folder were a brilliant touch and made me love the book even more. The writing was beautiful, flowed brilliantly and whilst it was told in third person I loved that the perspective still changed between Ellie and Graham with each chapter. I could seriously see this book coming to life in my head whilst reading in and think that someone should make it into a movie because the premise is brilliant and everyone needs introducing to the things that make you happy! 
This Is What Happy Looks Like will be published on April 4th by Headline. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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  • I adored this book! It was just one of those books that leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling! I totally agree with you about Graham though; he was much better online instead of in reality.

    I loved the small town feeling as well. I dream of living in a small town likes Ellie does, where everybody knows each other and everyone gets along.

    Thanks for the wonderful review, Raimy! I’m glad you enjoyed this 🙂

  • I’ve not heard of this book before, but it sounds pretty good! Great review 🙂

  • I have this book for review and now I am VERY excited to read it 😀 I have TSPOLAFS on my TBR pile too and that looks just as good. I’m glad you enjoyed it – thanks for the great review!

  • Oh I loved this book so much. It made me want to frame poetry and whip up a batch of whoopie pies!