This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. SmithThis Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This Is What Happy Looks Like

byJennifer E. Smith

Hardcover | April 2, 2013

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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?
Jennifer E. Smith is the author ofHello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between,The Geography of You and Me,This Is What Happy Looks Like,The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight,The Storm Makers,You Are Here, andThe Comeback Season. She earned a master's degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, ...
Title:This Is What Happy Looks LikeFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:416 pages, 8.62 × 5.88 × 1.62 inShipping dimensions:8.62 × 5.88 × 1.62 inPublished:April 2, 2013Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316212822

ISBN - 13:9780316212823

Appropriate for ages: 12


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not a favourite, but it definitely embodies happiness! *3.5 Stars* I like Jennifer E. Smith. She's a great author whose books are a ton of fun to read, but the thing about them is that they fall out of memory quickly- at least for me. That is exactly what This is What Happy Looks Like was- adorable, but forgettable at the same time. I enjoyed it while reading, but I feel that in a few week's time, I'll have trouble distinguishing it from other reads. This book is basically about Ellie, who one day receives an email from movie star Graham without even knowing who he was. It was an email accidentally sent to the wrong person, but the two still bond and decide to keep on emailing each other. When Graham gets the opportunity to shoot a movie in Ellie's hometown, he takes advantage of it right away, but even though he'd love to be in the spotlight, Ellie wants to find any way possible out of it. I have to say that Ellie and Graham were not Smith's strongest pair of characters. Ellie was bland and had next to no personality- she felt like a cutout to me, and I really dislike that in books. Something about Graham also bothered me and felt a bit off, but it is difficult for me to place my finger on it. Surprisingly, despite their two boring personalities, I did see sparks fly between them for sure. I guess that boring character + boring character = fun romance, who knew? As with all of Jennifer E. Smith's stories, the plot was intriguing and took contemporary romance to a whole new level, but I found it to be a tad unrealistic, cliché, and predictable. I'm not going to lie to you, but the truth was that I did not find myself aching to read the next chapter whenever I had to stop reading or wanting to race to the end to find out what happens to the characters. This book just lacked that magic charm, you know? Overall, even though this was not my favourite Smith book by any means, it definitely still made me happy, just as the title deems. I'd for sure recommend it to readers looking for a light, sweet romance story, but don't mind there being slightly unmemorable characters, because this book is what happy looks like!
Date published: 2019-01-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hope This book gives you hope of true love. Even if you're across the world. This was a heartwarming story and very genuine as well.
Date published: 2017-09-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Sweet Story This was a really sweet story. Ellie and Graham pull you in and make you hope for them and wish them a happy ending. I love the way they started out as two strangers emailing back and forth and eventually met up in real life after a slight mix-up. Quinn is literally so sweet and an awesome friend, Ellie is lucky to have her. I also like how this book has sub plots and wasn't just all about only romance.
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Cutesy There were parts of the book that were so cute that I was screaming while I read. Especially when Ellie and Graham talk. It's witty, funny and cutesy. But the plot as a whole lacked depth and therefore, my interest. The ending seemed unrealistic and incomplete, and I feel like the author could've written a better story while still keeping to the plot and cutesy parts.
Date published: 2017-05-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So cute! Characters: so cute Relationships: YES! Feels: of course! Relatable: yup Pace: great Boring parts: none Worth the Read: YES
Date published: 2017-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from FAVOURITE EASY READ BOOK!!!! If you love cheesy predictable romances you will love this book! I love the author's writing style. I fell in love with the characters and the second i started the book I couldn't put it down
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Cute :) It was a cute story and i liked the dad angle.
Date published: 2017-02-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Cute, but eh A totally sappy, totally cheesy romance with low stakes, sweet characters and a general low-key sense of satisfaction. Points off for heavy exposition and general inconsequentialness.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from cute and fun! I really enjoyed this! It was super cute and fun. The only thing I didn't like about it was that more than a few times, it did that stupid backtracking thing where it skips a scene to tell me the beginning of a new scene, but then backtracks and talks about the scene we skipped, and then goes back to the scene the chapter started on. Just tell the story in order! haha. But other than that I really like it, and I loved the email exchanges, especially the ones at the beginning. The story was easy to get into and it enjoyable to sit down and read it in just a few days. It was fun and cute and made me smile :)
Date published: 2017-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! A great contemporary read, so cute! If you're looking for something nice and quick to read this is a great book.
Date published: 2017-01-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An adorable cheesy summer love story I am a sucker for romcom novels and this is an adorable summer read. It will make you all fuzzy and warm inside
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Perfect summer read! I read this while on vacation and loved it. It's cute and heart-warming and funny, and has sweet characters. I'll be reading more by Jennifer E. Smith.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Happy The first thing that pops into my mind when I saw the title of this book is that: wow, I guess this book will make you happy. And sure enough, it did. Unfortunately, I guess because I have a supper high expectation before going into this book, when I actually get to it, I was kind of disappointed. Yes, it did make me happy at parts, but at other parts, I was actually kind of bored. It just feel like the same thing keeps on happening again and again. But overall, this book is not bad. Although I probably wouldn't reread it, and I'm still trying to decide whether to read the sequal or not.
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I liked it This is a super cheesy and unbelievable story. But like usual with stories like this, I wasn't swooned by the characters. I liked the idea of it, but still not my favorite. You can't really tell when the characters fell for each other or how which didn't settle well with me. It's still a fairly enjoyable plotline.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What you would read on a beach This book is pretty much what you expect from a contemporary book, it is a light read and overall a feel good book.
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Such a cute story! What starts off as a mistake, ends up as the cutest little love story that I read this year! I have to say that this is my favourite of Jennifer's books. There was more of a story and not just any story, but one of those cutesy romantic stories that we all know and love. It involves a very lonely celebrity boy and your normal girl caught up in a cute little tale that makes me wonder if this could be based on a movie. Ellie sees her self as normal, but when Graham appears and realizes she's more than just a friend, all her doubts about herself simply melt away. That's what I find astonishing in these books. That teenage girls need validation from boys to remind them of how truly special and amazing they are. We've all been there. And Ellie is no exception. I just loved Graham's part in this book. He's just so lonely and all you want to do is sit down and have a cup of coffee and hear him speak. Being a celebrity must be so lonely, and having someone to listen to you would probably do wonders. I love that Ellie isn't self-obsessed about celebrities. I never understood it. They're people doing their jobs and the right to privacy should be a given. It must be crazy to have to watch your every move when heading out the door. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking for a cute and light-hearted read. Naturally, their journey isn't perfect, and the bumps and bruises along the way make it even better. Jennifer E. Smith, you got me hooked. Love the title too for it grabbed my attention!
Date published: 2014-11-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After Sometimes you just need a happy book, one that will pick you up off the ground and set your feet on the ground again. I read This Is What Happy Looks Like while studying for my final law school exams. You know what? No regrets. I wanted a book that would cheer me up, and give me an added jolt of courage. Jennifer E. Smith's newest book delivered exactly that. Just like there is comfort food, there are comfort books. I began reading this book with that expectation, and I wasn't disappointed. Plus, I really love the movie You've Got Mail which this novel was compared to, so I had to give it a shot! Reasons to read: 1. Romance in its simplest form: The love story isn't an overly complicated one, flush with frustrations and problems. It can seem like a number of YA books include more forbidden romance, so this was a welcome change for me from what I typically read. There's something fresh about this simplicity, and I loved that Ellie and Graham were able to recognize this, too. 2. So much more than a love story: For me, a good romance is just one part of the overall story. I think this is especially true in contemporary books, because too often it seems to me that they focus on the romance and pay very little attention to anything else. The problem with that is that there is the potential to explore so many other ideas, and I love that Jennifer is an author who acknowledges this and incorporates it into her writing. The relationship between Ellie and Graham is incredibly important (and sweet!), but there's so much more to their lives than each other that it was integral to the story that their individual lives be explored as well. 3. Quirky, fun characters: I loved this SO much. Characters need to stand out to me- from each other, from the setting, and from OTHER characters in OTHER books. Graham and Ellie both have their own unique traits, totally uncommon but real enough for them to be believable characters. Their struggles are honest and completely plausible, but they're still unique people. That's a tricky balance to accomplish, but it's successful here. By the time I finished reading, however, I couldn't help feeling that it was a bit anti-climatic. The hardcover is over 400 pages, but it still felt short somehow. I think that can be attributed to the ease of reading it, while not having too much actually happen. I also think it helps to go into this book, knowing that you shouldn't expect anything extraordinary but instead more of a quick, sweet read. Because that's exactly what makes it so enjoyable! ARC received from HBG Canada for review; no other compensation was received. 
Date published: 2014-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cute, realistic contemporary romance. Great Summer read! Originally posted on If fate sent you an email, would you answer? Ellie is a small town girl living in Maine with her mother and working at the local ice cream shop. When she accidentally receives an email from a guy about walking his pet pig she decides to reply and let him know that he had emailed the wrong person. Soon they start talking about everything except their names which they decide to conceal. Ellie finds herself waiting impatiently to see emails from him pop up, but what she doesn’t realize is that the guy she has been talking to is actually Graham Larkin the teen movie star. When Graham finds out that Ellie lives in a location which would be perfect for the movie he is about to start shooting he talks the director into filming the movie there so that he can meet Ellie in person. Can someone as famous as Graham really date an ordinary girl like Ellie, and why is Ellie so set on avoiding the spotlight with the new movie crew setting up in her hometown? Last year I read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (Is that a mouth full or what??) and I enjoyed it so I was excited to see that she had a new contemporary stand alone book. It’s really nice to see a stand alone book for a change in a world full of trilogy, series and sagas one book that sums up the whole story is nice. This story starts out in email form and we see the back and forth banter between the main characters and I must say that I fell in love with Graham from the very beginning. I mean he has a pet pig!! When they discuss the things that make them happy I thought it was beautiful. When we get further into the story you really start to learn more about Graham and he lives up to your expectations. He is a good guy looking for someone to love him for who he is inside rather then only seeing the movie star. I must say that I loved the story and as I turned the last page I let out a nice contented sigh as should happen since I was completely satiated with the story. The one thing that I really loved about the book is that I felt it was realistic. It felt like it really could happen. People receive wrong emails all the time, but how many people would actually answer them back to let them know they had made a mistake. This small rant may spoil a part of the book, so if you haven’t read it yet you might want to stop here. The one thing that frustrated me about the story is Ellie being irrational and wasting time. The movie was only being filmed in the small town for a month, and out of that time about 3 weeks go by where Ellie won’t talk and see Graham!! I hate things like serendipity where one thing happens to one person which keeps another person from finding out how that person feels (It’s hard to describe what I mean) I just wish that for more of the book the two main characters would have been getting along and getting to know each other more before they have the fight that separates them for so long. All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book a lot. If you enjoyed this book and haven’t read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight then you should check that one out. You might also like How Zoe Made her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer and Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill.
Date published: 2013-06-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Absolutely Adorable Jennifer E Smith has done again. She written another super sweet, incredibly adorable contemporary romance that makes me believe there’s hope for me and the genre. There can be no denying it. This book is cute. Like puppies and kitties cute. The whole thing is definitely aww-worthy. From the first few e-mails to the closing scene. Graham and Ellie just have a great dynamic. Their back and forth made me smile and how nervous they were had that distinct ring of authenticity. They felt like real teenagers. Add to that Jennifer E Smith’s adorable turns of phrase and you have a winning combination. For example, after one of Graham and Ellie’s kisses: “It was exactly as he’d thought it would be, like the first time and the millionth time all at once, like being wide awake, like losing his balance. Only this time, it wasn’t just him; this time, they were losing their balance together.” Doesn’t get much for swoon worthy than that. Like her first book The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight this book is about more than just the main relationship. My favourite thing about SPoLaFS was the dynamic between father and daughter, and This is What Happy Looks Like explored that relationship as well. Both books feature absentee fathers – though in different ways. Ellie has never really known her father and that effect that has on her is complicated. I liked that Jennifer E Smith didn’t underplay it. And she did so with neglecting Ellie’s relationship with her mother. It’s not too often you see a real parental presence in Young Adult books so this was a nice change. As much as I enjoyed This is What Happy Looks Like a part of me does have to admit that I liked A Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight better. Because while it was far fetched you wanted to believe that could happen to you. I remember one time back in university I was on the train and there was a really cute guy reading Sherlock Holmes sitting beside me. I didn’t speak to him but I bet a lot of people have a similar experiences and want to believe they could meet their soul mate in such a way. This is What Happy Looked Like on the other hand pushed the limits of believability a little too far. Though it was an adorable story I never once thought it could really happen. It felt like a summer romantic comedy you would see at the movies. Silly and charming but not all something I could relate to. Recommendation: An absolutely adorable story of love and fate that will leave a smile on your face. But read Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight first! This and other reviews at More Than Just Magic (
Date published: 2013-04-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Cute and Fun! I've been reading a lot of contemporaries lately, I'm not really sure why, in that kind of a mood I guess. I picked this one up from my review pile to give it a try just before going to bed and the next thing I knew, I was 100 pages in and it was past midnight. Reluctantly, I had to put it down because I had to get up at 7am and watch kids. Well, I almost immediately picked it up again in the morning and read the rest. This Is What Happy Looks Like follows two characters, showing each of their thoughts. The first is Ellie, a girl with a secret. The second is Graham, the movie star who manages to get it so his new movie is being filmed in Ellie's tiny hometown in Maine. Neither of them have met but they spend a few months emailing back and forth, only knowing initials. They both love the annonimity of the internet. Graham gets to feel like a normal teenager again and Ellie looks forward to the emails everyday. I loved the romance, it was so sweet and cute. Ellie doesn't want to be in the media spotlight, but Graham doesn't know the real reason. Both of them have some parental issues, ones they aren't willing to talk about at first. I can see how hard a relationship with the media breathing down your neck would be hard and there were a few scenes that reminded me why I would never want to be a celebrity. I really dislike the way the paparazzi have no respect for people. I mean, there are points where they get violent and pushy just for a reaction from the person they want pictures of, it's disgusting. Overall this is a cute story, a little slower paced, but not too bad. I like the little emails at the beginning of each chapter, they were cute. I hadn't read anything else by Jennifer E. Smith before. I know, I want to read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. But I will say that I really enjoy her writing style and character development. I will be reading more by her. I really felt for the characters and there were a few times that I found myself getting a bit teary eyed. Always a good thing for me when the book gets me emotionally attached. I highly recommend this one for any of you who are fans of contemporary! *The publisher provided a copy for review* *This review was originally posted on*
Date published: 2013-04-03

Editorial Reviews

"Undeniable chemistry...Ellie and Graham's connection, 'like the pull of a magnet, powerful and inevitable,' lingers on beyond their wistful but optimistic goodbye."-The Horn Book