Recent Reads: This is What Happy Looks Like (#19 of 2013)


I don’t know why I haven’t been taking photos of each book I’ve read. I thought it would be easier to just search for the cover art and link it to Amazon, but this is actually cuter and easier, because I don’t have to search for it.

Anyway, book #19 of 52 was This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. It is a YA novel, I guess it could be considered romance?
I will admit right off the bat that I was cheating when I borrowed this from the library. I was feeling behind and I knew a YA read, even if it’s around 400 pages, would be a fairly easy book to clear so I could stay on track (I’m one book behind). Granted, it was on my To-Read list and it got a recommendation from Gayle Forman (who wrote this book that I absolutely adore), so it’s not like I was  just aiming for any easy book. It was released almost 2 months ago and it’s hard to get your hands on a new book at the library, so I jumped at the chance.

The story is about a girl named Ellie and a boy named Graham, who are anonymous e-mail pen pals after Graham mistypes the email of a friend who is looking after his pet pig. Ellie responds, thinking Graham is talking about a dog, and wanting to let him know that he has the wrong person, and doesn’t want to leave anyone hanging if a pet is involved.
From that point, they start a budding communication that lasts over 3 months.

Graham Larkin is an actor, recently starring in a popular trilogy of movies that have made him a star/heartthrob. Ellie O’Neill is a small town girl who works two jobs and lives in a shabby cottage in a little area of Maine. Graham knows where Ellie resides since she disclosed this information, so he pulls some strings to get the latest movie he’s filming to go on location in the same town.
One thing leads to another, and they meet and since they already like each other from the correspondence they…like each other more.
Craziness ensues: You’re a movie star? What if people find out who I am? What will my mom think?
Yada yada.

I have got to say, I didn’t care much for this book. Since the reader doesn’t see much of the correspondence that keeps them so interested in each other (even without knowing each other’s names or what they look like), it’s hard to believe these characters have such a deep connection. The side stories, basically dealing with the characters’ families, don’t completely really flow. And despite the fact that the book alternates chapters to explore the different viewpoints of Graham and Ellie, the entire thing is told in 3rd person. So we never truly know for sure what’s going on in the hearts and minds of these main characters.

And maybe it’s just me, but do people really communicate through e-mail that often? Wouldn’t they have maybe exchanged phone numbers or did some kind of instant messenger or chat? That seems more plausible, but then again, the whole book doesn’t seem completely believable.

It’s not that it’s a bad book, and I kept reading and shocking myself with how far I had gotten in so little time, but in this case, I felt it was a little too young for me. A YA novel doesn’t just have to appeal to young adults. Clearly, it will be about them and appeal to them primarily, but in the case of John Green or Gayle Forman, a good YA book (like any book in general) will appeal to the masses.
This just didn’t do that for me.

No comments:

Post a Comment