Author: Jennifer E. Smith | Pages: 404 | Series: Standalone/NA | Rating: 3.5 stars
I have an interesting relationship with contemporary books – I usually enjoy them, but rarely love In other words, I like to read contemporary but don’t read a lot of them, and there aren’t many of them on my favorite’s shelf.
This is another one of those books. And while it won’t ever sit on my favorite’s list, it was still worth the read.
This Is What Happy Looks Like follows Graham and Ellie, who meet online when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about Wilbur (who is his terrific, radiant, humble pet pig). Despite not knowing the other’s name and living on opposite sides of the country, they begin to keep in touch through a series of emails.
But both of them have secrets: Ellie’s father is unexpectedly important, and Graham lives a life in the spotlight.
Eventually Graham’s job lands him in Ellie’s small hometown of Henley, Maine and naturally, complicated things ensue.
This is my first Jennifer E. Smith book, so when I went into the story, it was without any previous expectations beyond the fact that I know a lot of people have really enjoyed both This Is What Happy Looks Like and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Overall, I can’t say I was disappointed. I enjoyed Smith’s writing style, and felt it fit this sort of story well. Graham and Ellie were both cute, enjoyable characters.
There were two main things that bothered me about this book: the romance and the ending.
The Romance: Even though it wasn’t technically insta-love (the two had been keeping in touch via email for a few months before they met), it still felt like it. Considering they didn’t talk for roughly three weeks of the four that Graham was in Henley, I guess I just didn’t understand how they felt it was that strong of a relationship.
The Ending: Big potential plot point, implied throughout the entire book to be a huge, life-ruining deal… brushed away by “oh, they don’t actually care about your father, just that you’re Graham’s girlfriend.” Wait, what? We never did actually get to meet Wilbur, either, which was strangely disappointing.
Other than that, it was an enjoyable enough read, but forgettable overall.