I just finished reading This Is What Happy Looks Like, by Jennifer E. Smith!
I just want to let you know before you start reading that this isn't the most positive review - it'll be short and fairly blunt.
"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?"
This book was cute. A summer-romance contemporary with a little twist of one of the love interests being a famous actor. It looked into the idea of a celebrity's personal life not being as they want it to be, and was the typical small-town romance that'll make anyone single feel that little twinge of 'aw I want to find a nice guy too', which is what a lovey contemporary should do. A good summer read by any regards.
It just really, really was not for me.
The characters were sweet and the chapters were short and it was a very quick read, but something felt off. (Maybe I'm growing up and I would have loved this 5 years ago? Maybe).
The thing is, I put a lot of effort into liking this book - I really tried! It just kept going down after I found an up.
Lets do this Good Bad and Ugly style, shall we?
- As I said, I liked the characters. They were both well thought-out and yet could still be anyone. I feel like the book also gave a solid insight on what it must be like to be a young celebrity - your life is not your own.
- I really liked the emails at the beginning of the book and scattered throughout it. They were what the relationship was based on and were the one point where you could really see their personalities shine through.
- Their relationship felt too easy. It was just 'oh you're my email buddy' and they were basically together after they realized.
- There was a really good plot possibility with Ellie's dad being a politician who basically left his family behind - it would have been such an interesting meeting! But in the end, that one plot point fell very, very flat.
- Graham and Ellie were secret about their relationship in the press (which was fine), but were completely open with it the second her name was out there, and were both totally nonchalant about it. I felt like she didn't care once she noticed people know who she was, yet that was a major source of internal conflict.
- The ending generally felt rushed.
- If you know my friends, you can ask them, I know exactly which buttons to push to make certain people cringe. I think its hilarious cus I'm horrible at insulting friends so this is a fun alternative. But this took cringing to a whole new level.
- He knew she was from a tiny town and managed to convince his whole crew to go there. Felt stalkery.
- Of course the phone fell in the water.
- The ending was a mix of every punchline that was already said. I really didn't like how everything was recycled.
- More cringe aaaaaa!
I love contemporaries that are more probable - Fangirl was wonderful, as was Eliza and her Monsters. I also love the John Green style where you have very improbable characters and scenarios, but that are both fun to read and heartbreaking. This just felt like a copy-paste of many other contemporaries I didn't like.
I'm sorry, dragonflies, I know that many people loved this!
I'm giving this a 2/5 feathers. It was cute but not my style at all.
Have you read This Is What Happy Looks Like? What did you think? Let me know!