This is the first review by new Once Upon a Series blogger, Maddie. So please give her a nice warm welcome.
Publisher - Headline
Publication Date - 4th April 2013
Hardback - 404 pages
Genre - YA Contemporary Romance
Source - Received from publisher for review
Rating - 4 out of 5: I really liked it
Reviewed by - Maddie
When the location for the shoot of Graham's new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie's mom want her to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?
My Thoughts - With the state of teenage romance (vampires, werewolves, ghosts, aliens and fairy tales are all nearly ruined for me by the genre called 'dark romance') I tend to stay away from love stories but I am so glad I read This Is What Happy Looks Like, even if it wasn't quite perfect.
This book begins with an adorable email exchange between Ellie and the mysterious GDL824@yahoo.com. I say mysterious.... but you can guess in three seconds who he's meant to be. Well I could, but my friends instantly assumed he must be a creepy internet stalker. Ah the modern age.
These emails were quick and sparky and kept the novel moving at a fast pace. I was a little sad sometimes when the writing went back to a normal format because the emails were so entertaining. I'm not a very soppy person but the emails where they talk about 'What happy looks like' (I love this title!) were so... cute? I'm really not one those people to call a book 'cute' but it's the right way to describe this book.
The subtler sides of Ellie's character were revealed in these emails. Compared to the normal chapters where she was just a nice, normal girl the emails let me finally start caring for her by showing me how funny and clever she could be.
It was even harder for me to care or understand Ellie's best friend Quinn. She deserts Ellie for most of the novel because Ellie kept a secret from her. A secret. One secret! Well, it was actually two kind of massive secrets, but still! It was really selfish and strange, especially as Quinn was supposed to be such a friendly person and her leaving Ellie to deal with her own problems made no sense.
And then there is Graham. I don't care if he was a little too perfect to be a normal teenage boy, I thought he was great. He was a high school pupil who did good and loved his family. Even when he kept on telling us how hard it was to be a famous teen heartthrob, I could forgive him.
If this was all the book consisted of I would have enjoyed it but I would have not been impressed. Sorry, I'm fussy. If it wasn't for Ellie's relationship with her mother, her back story and how Jennifer E. Smith dealt with the Graham's new found fame.
Summary - This book talks about celebrity love, hidden pasts, what happy looks like and other ridiculously cheesy things yet, unlike normal romance stories, I love it. I was reading with fast pace page turning and a wide a grin on my face. Even though it is slightly ruined by such a cheesy ending I still would like to give this book four stars. Definitely a great summer read.