Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review: THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE by Jennifer E. Smith


Title: This Is What Happy Looks Like

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Publication 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? 

Review:

I consider myself to be a romantic. I love romance in my stories and my heart fluttered when I read this synopsis. Normal girl has an accidental exchange with famous boy? Who cares if it resembles a cliché of any sort, it sounds great, does it not? I had even heard that it was a cross between my two favorite Meg Ryan movies, You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle

Let's just say that it ended up producing more frustration than happiness. 


That is not to say that I did not gobble the book up and finish it in about a day. I did. However, the aftertaste was not pleasant. Movie star Graham Larkin mistypes an email, which results in it being accidentally sent to Ellie O'Neill, a small town girl. Instantly, they strike up a conversation and continue to email back and forth for three months. Graham then pleads to have his next movie set in her hometown in Maine. After a somewhat cliché mixup with Ellie's best friend, Graham rushes to Ellie's house and the two officially meet each other. 

Since this is a spoiler-free environment, there will be no spoilers even though I desperately wish I could rant about everything.

When Graham and Ellie first meet, it's suddenly true love. You must be joking. It's not exactly insta-love, considering they had been emailing about everything, but nothing all at once (yes, I did add my own cliché in there, but I'm pretty sure the author even said it in the book). However, that's not love. Talking with someone over the internet or any electronic device is vastly different than talking in person. I really don't care how close they felt through the emails, they cannot look at each other and then think I AM IN LOVE AND OUR LOVE IS STRONG AND WORTH FIGHTING A MILLION DRAGONS FOR. No. Just no. 


Do you know what makes it even more eye-rolling worthy? Ellie and Graham spend two days together before completely avoiding each other for three weeks. After all that, they only spend TWO DAYS of reveling in their giddy "love" before Ellie freaks out and avoids any contact with Graham for THREE WEEKS. On top of that, she won't email him or her best friend because she can't find any suitable words. We see her drafts, there were at least one in each that was perfectly acceptable. I understand that it can be hard, but it's better than NOT explaining...right?

So basically Ellie freaks out on Graham because of the paparazzi due to the past between her father and mother. This is not a spoiler, don't worry. Her mom was a waitress and her dad is big in politics, they have an affair, her mother moves away to get out of the spotlight, and now has forced this big belief on Ellie that the scandal will ALWAYS be a big deal. I read Yahoo, I get it. Some scandals will be mentioned and cast her father in a bad light. However, that should NOT define your life. Also, I'm not in her position, but really, who cares?

There are a few things that I do wish I could complain about further, but those are definitely spoilers. So if anyone has read this book and wants to have a complain fest with me, I'd be more than happy to rant. 

In total, Graham and Ellie are together for FIVE DAYS and apart for THREE WEEKS while he is in Maine and emailed for THREE MONTHS. Wow, great relationship.



I must mention that they did have an email of sorts beginning the chapters, but they were sorely lacking for me. All in all, there was insta-love, predictability, and an absence of emails which I was wishing for. There was some cuteness splashed in there and there was something that kept pulling me in, but it wasn't unbelievably amazing. I know I basically trashed the book, but there were some redeeming qualities. Enough to make me want to read it again? Probably not.

Verdict: A somewhat cute read that left a bitter aftertaste.

What do you think? Will you read it? Did you like it? 

32 comments:

  1. I don't really know what to think of this book based on the review. The plot kind of reminds me of the disney movie Starstruck...Well I'll add it on to my to read list and who knows? Maybe one day i'll feel like reading it...
    Great review :)

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  2. Too bad you didn't enjoy this one!! I still want to read it, but after reading your review my expectations are much lower. I really don't like ista-love in books.. It is always unbelievable and annoying..
    Thanks for sharing your honest opinion!!


    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

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    1. See, I think my expectations were too high so that's probably a good thing! Also, it was enjoyable (sorta) while reading it, I just couldn't stomach it after. Thanks!

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  3. "I AM IN LOVE AND OUR LOVE IS STRONG AND WORTH FIGHTING A MILLION DRAGONS FOR." I just did a spit take. Thank you, Sunny.

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  4. Great honest review! Haha I love your GIFS and Insta-love is annoying. So this one had a bad aftertaste.

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  5. I really loved the author's previous book, so I was excited for this one...but I ended up being so disappointed. I hated the "insta love" just after emailing each other (I LOVED when you said "I AM IN LOVE AND OUR LOVE IS STRONG AND WORTH FIGHTING A MILLION DRAGONS FOR"), and I actually would've liked to have seen more emails too. The whole "secret" reason Ellie was avoiding the cameras seemed like a major letdown to me (as did Graham's relationship with his parents). Overall, I felt it was okay, but that it lacked the spark I wanted it to have. Have you read the author's previous book The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight? I actually felt the relationship wasn't insta-love, that it was developed over talking on a plane and was pretty good. But I'm definitely curious as to what you thought about it if you read it! :)

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

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    1. Haha! You and Gil make me laugh, thank you :) Yes! Gosh, I so wanted to mention "the secret" but come on...not a big deal especially when they revealed in the end that it actually wasn't a big deal. Of course, Graham's parents were so unnecessary, I could write an essay about it. I did! Even though they talked in a smaller time period than this couple, I felt as if it was more genuine and less laughable.

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  6. Well, this sounds okay… I'm glad there is some cuteness in there, but their relationship does seem really annoying. You can get to know A LOT about a person online, but it can be so easy to miscommunicate, which does make it very different from face to face. I would be okay with a faster-developed in person romance here thanks to the emails, but they should have taken a few days to ease into it.

    Instead, they're fighting after two days?

    I'll still read this, but thanks for preparing me for an irksome element in the romance.

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    1. Yes, I agree about knowing a lot over online, of course, but falling in love? Ehhh. Exactly. It wouldn't have been too bad if they had been together for more than two days. I look forward to hearing what you think!

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  7. Huh. Wow. This one really angered you! I was REALLY hoping Jennifer E. Smith would take a step away from the immediate in love forever thing, because that did bother me a bit in The Statistical Probability, even though the title did warn me.

    Also, what the HELL running away for three weeks? Seriously, talk to him about the issues if you are supposedly in love. Just...ugh. BUT I'm still going to try this someday and see how I feel, though I suspect I will also be annoyed.

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    1. That's what I thought! If you're "so in love" as you claim, why don't you talk about it and be more open?

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  8. Sunny I don't think you're the only one who found this book a little disappointing. I had really high hopes for this too, but the romance really fell flat in places for me, and I love a cute romance. I think this book would have been more solid for me, if the emails had continued throughout the rest of the story. I hope your next read is a lot more enjoyable. Great review Sunny! :)

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    1. Oh, I'm glad! Yes, that would have made everything much better, I think. Thank you!

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  9. The MOMENT I saw this synopsis I was SO EXCITED. I really enjoyed tSPoLaFS (I'm too lazy to spell that out), and was hoping for an even better second book. I also am a sucker for books about famous people falling in love with regular people. I thought the email idea was pretty cool and I adore Maine. Basically I was hoping for a winner. It seems like it could be SO GOOD, which is why I'm utterly disappointed by all these mediocre reviews. I actually have the book from the library, but I think I'll return it unread because I don't want to ruin how good I imagine this book could be by actually reading it. Anyway fantastic honest review. If I do pick it up, I'm sure I'd enjoy a good cathartic rant!

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    1. I was too! I get what you mean about not wanting to ruin the image in your head. However, if you change your mind and read it, I want to know what you thought because I agree, rants are great!

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  10. Great review! I am thinking it might be a pass for me!

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  11. Hahaha... aww, this sounds cute. That sucks it frustrated you though. I would still like to give this a whirl, but who knows when I'll get a chance to.

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  12. I also am a definite romantic! To hear that this is a disappointment in that department is really depressing. I was really looking forward to this because I LOVED the Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Sounds like this one is a major let down, I probably will skip reading it. Thanks for your honesty!

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  13. Uh oh--I've heard so many raves about this book and still intend to read it, but you're not the only one who has expressed some frustration wit it, too. Good to be forewarned, so thanks for your honest review, Sunny.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Thank you! Can't wait to see YOUR review on it :)

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  14. Ok. Honestly, I'm pretty relieved to read your review. I just reviewed this myself and gave it 3.5 stars. I was absolutely totally head-over-heels in love with The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. It was so sweet, and so fun, and so cute... I just adored it. It may be my favorite contemporary as of yet. So after reading that, I had such high hopes for this one. I was definitely let down. I felt really bad with my review because I was constantly comparing it to TSPoLaFS, and that probably wasn't very fair of me. It's hard not to though when you love an author's prior work so much. It just sets the bar so high.

    So I'm really relieved to see I'm not the only one that was a bit let down by much of this book. I also had a very difficult time expressing how I felt without giving away any spoilers. But the whole concept of a teenage movie star falling in love with a girl he emailed by mistake, and then basically fighting to have his movie filmed in her home town just so he can meet her, was extremely far-fetched to me. Then of course they meet, go on two dates, and are in love with each other? I guess it just got on my nerves a bit.

    After saying all of that, I do thinks others will find this story cute and fun like Smith's other book. And I'm sure most of my feelings toward it are in regards to my love of TSPoLaFS. So maybe someone that hasn't read that first will enjoy this one more than I did?

    Thanks for your honest review! I'm happy I'm not alone on this one. :)

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    1. Well, I'm happy that you commented! It's great to know that there is another blogger out there who feels the same way I do about reading or reviewing a particular book. Maybe! Love hearing your thoughts :) Thanks for commenting!

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  15. Yeah, this one disappointed me as well. It didn't even feel particularly romantic considering the title and cover.

    The drama just got too wacky for me near the end too. Ellie seemed overly dramatic . The whole thing was just ....blah

    It was fine but not as good as her first book.

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    1. I was expecting things from the cover and title too. YES, very much agree on the Ellie dramatical front.

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  16. I loved this book when I got done reading it you could look at my face and know this is what happy looks like :)
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  17. This book took my breath away! Best book she has ever written. One of my favorite books ever I've ever read.
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