Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: This is What Happy Looks Like



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?- Goodreads

If what you’re after is a light read that will leave you in a radiant mood, then this book definitely fits the bill. I particularly love the beginning wherein an e-mail mishap becomes the precursor of an unexpected teenage relationship. Why unexpected? How probable is it for a girl to end up being pen pal with someone who’s not just a random guy but actually Tinseltown’s hottest star?

With an array of blockbuster films, Graham is indeed one of his generation’s famed icons. However, going around the world signing autographs and prancing in red carpet affairs just do not satisfy him. He feels like a stranger with no definite purpose not until he fortuitously met Ellie.  

While I’m already 21, I can’t help but let out a little scream upon finding out that Graham is Ellie’s mysterious e-mail buddy. Graham putting that much effort (find out how) just to search for Ellie is likewise heartwarming. I’m drawn to Ellie’s character as well. She’s not your typical fantard who will go around broadcasting her blossoming relationship with a movie star. She’s a simple unperturbed girl who basically wants to know Graham away from the glare of publicity.

The story is not free from bumps such as family secrets, friendship quibbles, and paparazzi issues. Nonetheless, expect that This is What Happy Looks Like is an absolutely adorable read. Oh well, with a title like that, it would be an oxymoron to fill it with melodramatic pages, right? :)

The only letdown is the part wherein Graham and Ellie avoided each other like plague for three weeks. Knowing that Graham is about to leave town soon, they could’ve made the most out of those weeks. In the end, it feels as if they are rushing to create treasure-worthy moments when they’ve actually wasted weeks pining for each other.

Sometimes, you read a book that charms you so much that you don’t mind how unrealistic and how overused the storyline is. The whole famous-boy-falling-for-a-small-town-girl might be a cliché but Jennifer Smith’s style of writing is so refreshing. This book just goes to show that at times, happiness is situated in the simplest of things.


"And she watches the sun but she's the only one I have my eyes on."


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