Rated Reads

This is What Happy Looks Like

by Jennifer E. Smith

Rated: Mild

Was it fate or just dumb luck?

A harmless email to a “dog-walker” about a pig is all it takes for GDL824, a 17-year-old boy from Los Angeles, and EONEILL22, a 16-year-old girl from Henley, Maine, to begin a friendship.

Through daily emails about nothing and everything, their connection and attachment to each other grow. But what Ellie doesn’t know is that this random, average boy from California happens to be none other than Graham Larkin, one of the most popular teen heartthrobs in Hollywood. Then after the location to shoot his latest movie falls through, and after Ellie innocently reveals the name of her hometown, Graham manages to have the location changed to Henley.

With both holding on to secrets of their own, will Graham’s surprise arrival backfire? And will both of their real identities be too much for the other to handle?

I really, really liked this book. It was fun, romantic, sad, everything a great teen book should be. It had the characters recognize flaws and grow from them. It showed them resolving conflicts and taking responsibility for their actions. It spotlighted how important family is and was never condescending toward the parents or children. It showed people, especially teenagers, treating each other with respect. One thing that did bother me, though, was Ellie’s best friend Quinn. Her character did not feel completely real because her reactions to things always seemed off. Not enough for me to stop reading, but it did bother me somewhat. Overall, I would highly recommend this book, especially for female reluctant readers who like realistic fiction.

Rated: Mild. Just a few uses of mild language.

— Reviewed by Nicole Borman

Nicole Borman is a high school librarian who didn’t catch the reading bug until college. Although she likes most genres, her genres of choice are nonfiction, YA chick lit, and anything Pride and Prejudice-esque.

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  • This is What Happy Looks Like
  • by Jennifer E. Smith
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: