Wednesday, April 17, 2013

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Everything changed for Ellie when she got a random email from a stranger asking if she could watch his pet pig, Wilbur. Even though she knows she shouldn't chat with a stranger on the Internet, the other person seemed down to earth and someone she didn't know. Conversation was smooth between them, and Ellie could tell this other person things about herself that she hadn't told her best friend.

When Graham sent the email to the wrong person, it was a chance for him to make a friend who didn't know he was a movie star. They didn't exchange emails - only their locations. Ellie in Maine and Graham in California. Two ends of the world, colliding through email.

Fate was meant to be for them to meet when the location of Graham's new movie got invaded by bugs. He suggested the small town in Maine where Ellie lives. He wanted to meet Ellie in person and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Right away, though, things were going wrong. Graham knew Ellie worked in an ice cream/sweet shop. When he saw a girl with the name tag "Ellie", he knew it had to be the "eoneill" email address he has been talking to.

Only he found out that it was Ellie's best friend, Quinn, with one of Ellie's work shirts on.

And even though they finally met, things were better than email, but also worse than talking through email. There are just some things one can say through email that are more uncomfortably said in person.

Also, life is full of surprises. Now that Ellie knows Graham is a famous teenage movie star, the context in the emails seem almost childish.

But his celebrity also poses a problem for Ellie. Because her and her mother have a dark secret from their past that they need to be kept a secret. If Ellie keeps hanging out with the famous movie star, she is bound to get noticed and get found by the one person they are hiding from.

Now Ellie has to decide if her past being uncovered is worth spending time with Graham, or if she should avoid him at all costs and wait out his stay in Maine while he shoots his movie. One thing is for certain, things are about to get very interesting and truths are about to get uncovered during Graham's visit to Maine. Find out what happens to Ellie and Graham in This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith!

My Thoughts/Reflections
I've reading Smith's early novel, The Statistically Probability of Love at First Sight, and absolutely adored it, so when my library got this copy, I snatched it up and fell into another world that she created.

This was a very cute novel. The lives of Ellie and Graham were complete opposite of one another, yet they were able to find a way to become friends through the Internet, and then even closer when they met in person.

Granted, it took awhile for Ellie to open to up to Graham, but she had a very dark and long past that always hovered over her and her mother. Plus, she didn't want to make her mom worry any more than she already has been for the last 17 years.

The one thing that I absolutely loved about this novel was Graham's pet pig, Wlibur. One, who has a pet pig? Besides Brittany Murphy in Uptown Girls, but that doesn't count. I love how it was such a random topic to start a conversation between two strangers. Maybe that's why they chatted for so long online. Either way, adorable!

There were some things I could have done without in this novel. I especially didn't care for the reaction Ellie's friend, Quinn, had when she found out that Ellie had a big secret she wasn't telling her, along with the fact that she kept her pen paling a secret as well. I mean, not talking to her for that long? Ellie had a good reason for keeping a secret - especially because it wasn't entirely Ellie's secret to keep!

But that just reminds me how teenage girls are and makes me happy that I'm not in high school anymore.

So, yes, I enjoyed this novel. I think other fans of Smith's will enjoy this. Also, any teen interested in acting, going to college, or just wanting to read a story between two teens wanting to make a new friend would really enjoy this book.

Plus, it's written through both Graham and Ellie's point of view, so both girls and guys could enjoy this novel!

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