“Subject: What happy looks like
Sunrises over the harbor. Ice cream on a hot day. The sound of the waves down the street. The way my dog curls up next to me on the couch. Evening strolls. Great movies. Thunderstorms. A good cheeseburger. Fridays. Saturdays. Wednesdays, even. Sticking your toes in the water. Pajama pants. Flip-flops. Swimming. Poetry. The absence of smiley faces in an e-mail.
What does it look like to you?”
Let me start with how much I adore Jennifer E. Smith’s style of writing. This is the second book of her’s I’ve read and I am now determined to read all of them! Her way of writing has a poetic, dreamlike flow to it. Every detail in every paragraph is strewn together so perfectly. It’s impossible for someone who loves writing as much as me, to not feel inspired after reading her work. Despite being narrated in third-person, I instantly felt connected to each character and completely empathized with them, which simply proves how great of a writer she is.
This is What Happy Looks Like begins with the main characters, Graham and Ellie conversating through e-mail. The messages are cute and witty, and establishes their personalities, and ultimately their relationship. In the simple correspondences you can obviously see the flirting, with an added dash of mystery, due to the fact that they truly don’t know each other. They don’t even reveal their first names. The two eventually meet when Graham, a total A-list movie star, purposely moves to Ellie’s teeny-tiny hometown for the summer, to film one of his movies.
Although the plot was pretty unrealistic, (seriously, who moves across the country to meet someone they only know through email?) I still fell hard for these characters. Ellie’s driven, down-to-earth personality, mixed with Graham’s spontaneity and effortless charm, made the book interesting and worth reading. It was different and refreshing opposed to the typical cliche, celebrity-falls-in-love-with-normal-girl YA book. There was unexpected drama, depth, and strong character development. My heart screamed as they experienced firsts, as they fell in love, as they made mistake after mistake, and as they grew individually and together.
“Together, they waited for the sky to flip over like the turning of a page, the bone-colored moon giving way to a brilliant sun, the promise of a new day, and Ellie was surprised to find herself thinking of the little town in France, the one with all the miracles. She could only hope that in a place filled with so many wonders, it would have still been possible to appreciate something as remarkable and ordinary as all this.”
I finished the book in one day, because I couldn’t put it down! If you’re looking for a lighthearted and totally quotable summer read, go check out This is What Happy Looks Like. Also, tell me if you fall in love with Graham because I swear, he is one of the most crush-worthy fictional YA boyfriends I’ve ever come across!
P.S. There’s a sequel!