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It's funny—when I started writing, I was trying to think of how that first scene would be, how this connection would start. And it was just going to be that he had a dog and needed a dog walker, and literally, as I was writing that line, all of a sudden without almost even thinking about it, it became a pig. I was kind of thinking, what would a year-old kid, who's living on his own—and he's a big movie star with this money and this big house—I feel like he would have a slightly more unusual pet.

And who doesn't love a pig? And I'm a big fan of "Charlotte's Web," as you can tell from the book, so it was kind of fun to get to weave in little bits of that too. The biggest complaint I've gotten so far is that there's not enough Wilbur. I didn't know he was going to be such a hit. I feel like I have to write a Wilbur spin-off at some point. It's just so funny to me. I enjoyed the idea of him, but he was never going to be a big part of it. Every blogger so far has been, "I loved this book, but I wanted more of the pig. Much of "Happy" is set in the world of movies something we know a little bit about.

Did you have to do research before you began writing?

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith - BOOK REVIEW

I did. I think living in New York City, you see a lot of sets sort of everywhere. They filmed part of the finale of "30 Rock" in the park across the street from my apartment, and I watched it from the window. You're constantly sort of stumbling across these sets. But I had a friend who was working on that show "Person of Interest," and there was a day they were filming out in Greenpoint [Brooklyn] in a park, and I went and spent the day out there. It was interesting to kind of get a feel for the pacing of it, which was surprisingly slow. I also loved how the main characters could get to know and understand each other first then fall in love, rather than being instantly attracted to one another, which seems to be the trend in the romance department now.

Plus, the fact that they could actually talk to each other properly without getting lovey-dovey Oh-I-can't-get-my-hands-off-of-you is also really special. Overall, I thought this book was adorable, and I really want to know what would happen to both of them in the future. Shelves: eh , turtle-pacing , boring-as-shit , cheesy-romance , cute-as-a-kitten , le-sigh. This Is What BORING Looks like After Ellie gets an email from a random stranger online when he types the wrong address by accident, the two of them start chatting and form a three-month long pen-pal relationship.

They never reveal their names but Ellie finds herself telling him things about her life that not even her best friend knows. The whole mystery of the situation makes Ellie look forward to each exchange with excitement and thrill. What she doesn't know is that the funny, charming stranger is actually Graham L This Is What BORING Looks like After Ellie gets an email from a random stranger online when he types the wrong address by accident, the two of them start chatting and form a three-month long pen-pal relationship.

What she doesn't know is that the funny, charming stranger is actually Graham Larkin, national movie star and teen heartthrob. He somehow manages to get his next movie project filmed in Henley, Maine, the small sleepy town where Ellie's lived her whole life. Simply for the change to maybe catch a glimpse of her or meet her.

But Ellie isn't as welcoming to the attention as he thought.

She's hiding secrets of her own, ones that, if people found out, would ruin her and her mother's quiet, comfortable life in Maine forever. So I picked up this one eagerly, hoping for a similar but still brilliant book. Smith has a way of writing an adorable love story while still keeping familial aspects and issues in check, while other YA romance can tend to just ignore those factors.

I love that about her. Unfortunately, this novel was lackluster in both the relationship and the mind-boggingly slow and tedious storyline. The beginning was great, I loved the unique, summery setting, the loveable characters, and the utter cuteness. The middle was boring, uneventful, and yawn-inducing. The ending was pretty uneventful but generally okay, albeit the excessive cheese. A lot of things bothered me in this book. Ellie and her mom's financial pride.

This Is What Happy Looks Like Series by Jennifer E. Smith

Both Ellie and her mother had the same irritating problem: they couldn't accept financial help when it was given to them. Ellie needs a thousand dollars to pay for a poetry college course at Harvard which she and 14 other teenagers won and she can't 'let' Graham help her out. Yeah yeah, I get it.

There's that annoying little thing called 'pride' that people have. I've never understood this. If you are obviously struggling financially and someone who loves or cares about you cares enough to support you, why would you turn them down, simply because your pride won't have it? In this case, Graham is a flipping movie star.

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He pays more than a thousand bucks every month on his pet pig Wilbur nice name, btw, very original. Yet Ellie would still feel horrifically guilty and needy if she let him pay for it, which would only make him happy to make her happy. You know how many people would kill for that kind of loving aid, Ellie? Sometimes you just have you screw your pride and accept help when it's openly given to you. Ellie and Quinn's friendship. I ship Quinn and Devon tall, lanky geek with glasses who reads The Great Gatsby and has been in love with her for years more than the main characters.

I'm not sure if that's a good thing. I really wanted to know more about Quinn and Ellie's relationship and see them interacting and, you know, being friends.

Unfortunately, Quinn was, in my opinion, shoved out of the storyline over a petty 'fight' between her and Ellie. It seemed as if the author just wanted her out of the way so more time could be spent building Ellie and Graham's cutesy love scenes. This, however, was drawn out and stretched and pulled until anything enjoyable was yawned away by a actionless plot. I can't tell you how many times I literally yawned and almost fell asleep while reading this book.

I'm happy that Smith never let the characters actually ever say the word 'love'. Still, I'm not sure anyone should waste their time with this. It's a much faster plot and kept short and cute. Not that this book wasn't cute, it just was far too long for what it was; a cheesy, unrealistic love story. View all 4 comments. Before you know it Ellie and Graham are sending e-mails back and forth to each other for the next few weeks.

I initially adored the e-mails that went back and forth between Graham and Ellie, they were adorable funny but most of all honest.

This Is What Happy Looks Like: Booktrack Edition

But then when Graham arrived at Maine, the e-mails started withering down to nothing. Both characters had awkward pasts which brought them together in the first place. They were both at a place in life where they still wanted something else. Ellie and her mum were just able to scrape by, they had a shop which was doing okay, but when something broke down they had to just manage. So just having this correspondence with each other through e-mail brightened up their day.

I did like this cute relationship which was developing between Graham and Ellie, with the way their lives were, they deserved that bit of happiness.

But I had a hard time connecting to either character. I did feel for them at times, the heartache they had to experience, but there was never anything which they did which left a great impression with me. Also characters which dither about frustrate me hugely.

This is What Happy Looks Like was a book which I had really high hopes for, but it just really fell flat in places, I found myself forcing to read for the sake of reading and not because I was actually enjoying it. View all 14 comments. Feb 27, Nafiza rated it liked it Shelves: read , source-review-books. I do think the premise, while it has been done countless times in countless variations, will remain attractive to anyone looking for a fairytale romance.

Stuff like that is addressed quite fairly. However, the novel is, predominantly, fluff. The feel good fluff that you will consume preferably by a pool or at the beach. It is happy-making though there are rough spots scattered here and there to spice up the narrative. I wanted there to be a grand confrontation and yes, I realize there is something understated about it and in hindsight, I will probably appreciate the delicacy with which it was handled but the drama queen in me really wanted there to be some screaming.

Also, what the heck is happening with the friendship between Ellie and her best friend? Another issue I had here was with the romance.

What's Inside

Graham, on the other hand, is almost spilling over with his love for Ellie but then the ending occurs and the incongruity between him wanting to be with Ellie, being heartbroken by her etc, when juxtaposed with the ending which is not sad but leaves room for thought just confused me.