Book Review: This is what Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

15790873-2Title: This is what Happy Looks Like

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Type: Stand Alone (with small follow up novella)

Pages: 404

Rating: 3.5 Stars


Graham Larkin and Ellie O’Neill meet – albeit virtually – when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an e-mail about his pet pig, Wilbur. The two seventeen year olds strike up an e-mail relationship, even though they don’t even know each other’s first name. In a witty and unforgettable correspondence, Graham and Ellie share details about their lives, hopes and fear. But they don’t tell each other everything: Graham doesn’t know the secret hidden in Ellie’s family tree and Ellie is unaware of Graham’s life in the spotlight.

When Graham seizes an opportunity to spend time in Ellie’s tiny hometown of Henley,  Maine, he takes their relationship from online to in person. But can two people from such different worlds be together despite the odds stacked against them?

Spoilers Ahead!

So this is the Archeron Sister’s Book Club, which features myself, Jess @ StarsWhoListen and Emily @ EmiesNook, book club book of the month! We picked this cute romance novel because we were all in need of a nice happy romance after finishing Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. And this really was a cute story. It’s a bit of a more contemporary take on the “boy meets girl” story because we have Ellie and Graham meeting over email. And of course now as a young adult, we know it’s so much easier to strike up conversation with people and tell them things online than in person. And so we see this adorable online romance bloom.

But of course what makes it the adorable romance it is (and slightly unrealistic, even though I’m sure we’d all love to be in Ellie’s shoes) is the fact that of course the boy Ellie is emailing across the country is this big, well to do movie star. But if of course even that’s not enough drama so Ellie has her own dramatic backstory of being the love child of a politician and a waitress who fled DC after the rumors started flying that this man had an affair and child.

So you have to go into this book wanting a fluffy, cute romance. This is not a contemporary novel filled with deep issues or that prompts a lot of self reflection. It is a really cute romance where you know it’s going to follow the “boy meets girl, boy and girl have some mid book issue, but boy gets girl in end” plot line. But that was just what I needed right now between big fantasy novels with heartbreaking, cliffhanger endings.

I liked this book. While it was not the most amazing contemporary book I’ve ever read it was good and it was what I needed right now. I thought the end was the best part. From Ellie and Graham’s trip to Kennebunkport and back was the best. I loved when Ellie and Quinn finally talked, and then Ellie and her mom had a nice conversation and even Graham and his parents got to have a nice conversation. Then the end was adorable with their date, the whoopee pies and of course him giving her the money for Harvard.

The ending was a little bit more open ended then I would have liked but it was cute. My favorite line was when Ellie is asking Graham if he’s ever been to Boston and he says “I’ve always wanted to steal a swam boat”. As a local that made me laugh.

Be sure to check out Jess and Emily’s reviews too:

17169-illustration-of-red-tulips-pv     Emily’s Review: This is What Happy Looks Like

8cxkzblei Jess’s Review: This is What Happy Looks Like

Be sure to read along with us next month! We’ll be reading Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake!

Thanks for Reading


4 thoughts on “Book Review: This is what Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

  1. charandtheweb says:

    I love reading but I don’t read during the summer, so by the time it’s Fall again, I’m so out of touch haha. I’m always looking for great recommendations so I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog. Really enjoyed reading this review.

    Great blog by the way. Would you be interested in sharing your work on Creators? Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you’d like me to expand on that. I’d love to hear from you. You can find my contact details on my blog.


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