This is What Happy Looks Like

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This is What Happy Looks LikeWhen 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? (Goodreads)


Cute. Adorable. A sundae with hot fudge and caramel. That’s how I’d describe this book.

The Story:

Graham is a movie star. A cute one who’s famous for being in an epic series along the lines of Harry Potter.

Ellie is a normal girl who lives in a small town with her mom and her pooch. She works in an ice cream store and is trying to scrape together enough cash to go to a poetry conference thing at Harvard (that may not be the correct term, but you get me, right?).

Then Graham accidentally sends Ellie an e-mail about his pet pig, and lo and behold, the Charlotte’s Web jokes come out and lots of quite witty banter. Then a sort of sweet e-mail friendship begins. Ellie has no clue who Graham is, but Graham, in his super-cute boy way, keeps the details about Ellie in is head. He knows the name of her hometown (she knows he lives in LA) and then, when the location for his current project falls through, Graham suggests the town Ellie lives in. And the whole drew goes there.  To film a movie with big stars and boats and things! Ellie knows Graham Larkin is coming to town. Everyone’s all aflutter over it, but she has no idea it’s her e-mail pen pal there to make a movie. She’d probably never look twice at Graham Larkin, but the boy in her e-mails is a different story.

My Thoughts:

This book is really cute. It’s one you can’t read without a smile plastered to your face. The e-mails and the conversations between Graham and Ellie are so adorable. They are endearing and funny characters, each with a unique set of problems. Once they finally meet up, the idea that Major Celebrity Graham Larkin may or may not be romancing a Small Town Girl, means there are photographers everywhere, something Ellie most assuredly doesn’t want. And it’s a bit of a struggle for them. What do you do when you’ve built someone up in your head, when you’ve developed this huge crush on them, this insane connection with them…and then you finally see them face to face for the first time? In Graham’s case, it’s simple. He’s always known Ellie was a girl with a simple life. But Ellie, on the other hand, has to deal with finding out her crush is the crush of every teenage girl out there. It’s surreal for her.

I liked both of these characters. I loved the premise and I loved that Smith used their alternating perspectives to tell the story. These are characters I’d gladly revisit, a town I’d love to live in and a set of “problems” many a girl has fantasized about. This book fell a tiny bit short for me only in that I had such high hopes because it was constantly compared to You’ve Got Mail (which, while I get the comparison, really isn’t fair). Still, I can’t deny that I was excited to pick it up again each day and the whole thing, every chapter, made me feel happy. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Crush Intensity: 4.25/5 Very cute

Where’d I Get It? The library.


4 thoughts on “This is What Happy Looks Like

  1. Awesome review. I loved this book too, and thought it was really cute. I am looking forward to reading The Geography of You and Me, but it doesn’t come out until April!

  2. I thought This is What Happy Looks Like was totally adorable, too. Although I do understand why it is compared to You’ve Got Mail, the only thing that I think is similar between the two is the emails. But the stories felt very different to me.

  3. Love this one! I mean, it didn’t blow me away, but at the same time just made me smile. And sometimes that’s just needed. I think what really made me like this book was the email exchange. It reminded me of my AOL days as a teen 🙂 Great review! Glad you enjoyed this one!

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