This is what YA romantic contemporary fiction reads like.
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Poppy | Hardcover, 416 pages.
There are literary books on every surface of my house. You can’t not walk into a room without seeing them littering my floor, on my counters, ledges and nooks. Heck, I have books in the bathroom as well. I could walk into a room and pick up a random book at any given time. And I do this a lot. Whether I end up sticking to the book or shelve them back depends on how the book’s first few pages will get me hooked. Wilbur did it for me – a house pig that needed to be walked. The image of a pig on a leash is both funny and endearing to me. The back and forth emails between two strangers reduced me to a grinning fool. Two more pages of that and I was done for. Goodbye, whatever it was I planned to read that day; because this book grabbed a hold of me and didn’t let go.
This is What Happy Looks Like was about that perfect happenstance that brought two people together. It seems simple enough if it was just this thing called distance separating them. They also had to contend with the fact that the boy is an über celebrity and the girl has a past that would sure come to light if she gets involved in a relationship with him. It started with an email accidentally sent to the wrong address and an e-friendship that blooms into romance. The story was sweet, funny, heartwarming and downright addicting. It took about a page and a half for this book to get its hook imbedded in me and another to reel me in.
This is easily one of the best contemps I’ve read this year in this genre. I love that it stayed true to its title and pretty much presented the book in a happy outlook coupled with just a teensy bit of drama. I looked forward to that moment when Graham and Ellie would meet. I also loved that the book didn’t worked too hard to create suspense (as in, prolonging the agony by postponing their meeting). To actually love a person before you even met them seems rather impossible but not improbable. It’s the most honest kind of love, in my opinion. You don’t have any hang-ups about a person’s appearance or driven by their money or their social status.
Graham and Ellie are such great characters who had no predilection to creating dramas. They were genuine, mature for their ages and has the corner in adorably awkward. Graham is perhaps the most down to earth celebrity in the history of celebrities. And Ellie is as real as it gets. The setting was lovely – a quaint coastal town in middle of nowhere Maine. My only complaint about this book was the unresolved issue Ellie has with her absent father. I wish they’d met.
I wasn’t a fan of the author’s first work. But this one revive that belief that Jennifer E. Smith is a fantastic story teller.
My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars