Book Review: ‘This Is What Happy Looks Like’ by Jennifer E. Smith

Book cover This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. SmithYou always know what you’re going to get with a Jennifer Smith novel. The tales are always about the most ordinary of moments – a plane ride, an email conversation, a road trip. But once the groundwork has been laid and the characters introduced, the extraordinary takes over. That’s when, slowly, the drama develops; we not only see the unique and special qualities that the characters possess, but we find out something deeper.

Such a wonderful unfolding at the pace of a lazy warm summer. You really feel in that moment.

This story starts with a missent email. Not unheard of, but a little out of the ordinary. Once the error is discovered, the two correspondents aren’t quite ready to end the conversation. No names are disclosed, but over the course of three months, they each look forward to their nightly messaging. They reveal many details about their lives, but some they are not ready to share.

For each has a secret; a secret that could change how they see each other. Ellie has been asked to keep a past hidden and Graham wants the present to not interfere. For both, their connection is a reprieve and a solace from both the everyday and the harder parts of their lives.

Then Graham decides to see Ellie when he travels across the US to her small town. Can they keep their secrets secret? Or should they? And will the truth drive a wedge between them?

I don’t want to go into too much detail about the story because the fun is in the discovery. The email trail in the prologue will suck you right in because it is funny and sweet. Sure would’ve worked on my 16-year-old self.

How Ms. Smith can use her x-ray vision to see into her character’s hearts and souls and describe it so perfectly is beyond me. But I do know that after finishing her books, my face is what happy looks like.

This Is What Happy Looks Like was published April 2, 2013 by Poppy. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library, so no one had a choice about whether it was reviewed.

Rating: 4

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary
Ages: 12 and up
You Might Want to Know: Nothing of note

Other Reviews: (Be aware that these reviews give away more of the plot than I did)
A Backwards Story (@abackwardsstory)
Tabitha’s Book Blog (@tabbs55)

Find the Author:
Author’s Website/Blog
Author on Twitter (@JenESmith)
Author on Facebook

Buy the Book:
Abe Books
Barnes & Noble

Poppy Website (Hachette Book Group/LB Kids)
Twitter (@lbkids)

See my previous reviews of books by Jennifer E. Smith:
The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight
You Are Here


2 thoughts on “Book Review: ‘This Is What Happy Looks Like’ by Jennifer E. Smith”

  1. I’ve heard such great things about this book but for some reason I have yet to read it. I will have to get a copy the next time I am at the library. I love when authors use different devices to advance the plot, such as emails. Great review!

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