THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE is a YA novel written by the very wonderful and very talented Jennifer E. Smith. This is the second book I've read written by this author and it managed to confirmed how excellent this author is in story-telling.
I wasn't the only one being impressed with this book. Many reviewers and book bloggers agreed with me:
"Perfect for those who appreciate perfect sunsets and staring adoringly into someone's eyes." HEAT
"A sweet, charming and refreshing romance guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face." Sugarscape.com
"A gorgeous, heartwarming reminder of the power of fate." NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
And I couldn't agree with my fellow colleagues more. This book made me fall in love with it from the moment I read the blur on the back and it continued to surprise me until the very last page.
If fate sent you an email, would you answer?
It's June - seventeen-year-old Ellie O'Niell's least favourite time of year. Her tiny hometown is annually invaded by tourists, and now there's the added inconvenience of a film crew. Even the arrival of Hollywood heart-trob Graham Larkin doesn't help. But there is something making Ellie happy. Ever since an email was accidentally sent to her, she's been corresponding with a mysterious stranger, the two of them sharing their hopes and fears. Their relationship is not without secrets through - three's the truth about Ellie's past... and her pen pal's real identity. When they finally meet in person, things get much more complicated. Can two people, worlds apart but brought together by chance, make it against the odds?
Ok, let's start with the easy part. The look of the book. I own the paperback edition published by Headline in 2012. 407 pages divided into 25 beautiful chapters. Each chapter is accompanied with an email between two main characters. A nice touch. A touch I would actually expected from the author. I came to realise that Ms Smith always makes her stories special in some way and these emails are a unique details for this romantic story. The cover is beautiful. Mine is the colourful one. Orange and yellow colours fading to brown and black. Bold lettering - the same as on every single book published by this author. It became kind of a signature writing for Ms Smith and her books. On the front cover is a romantic picture of Ellie & Graham on a boat looking into each other's eye while sunrise. So romantic. And sweet.
The writing is so so easy to read. But it's sweet. Romantic. Heart-warming. Refreshing. Heart-shattering at times. Packed with twist and turns you don't see coming. It's a story about fate and true love which keeps you entertain from the start. You find yourself glued to the pages from the first moment you start reading the book thanks to the very engaging and hilarious email exchange between the two main protagonists of the story. But what I love about this story and the writing and it keeps continue on giving. You just can't stop yourself. You want to know what happens next. I stayed up all night as I failed to stop myself from reading. I loved it that much.
The story itself is just pure romance which doesn't fail to charm even the biggest cynic. You find yourself invested in this romantic story even without realising. It will bring up so many emotions and feelings you were hiding from the world. And it will show what true love supposed to feel like. And I am talking about the one true love so consuming that you cannot stop but let it wash over and take over your whole being. The love story of Ellie & Graham is one of those love story which will stay with you long after you finish reading the book. Maybe the reason behind is because it full-fills every one of your secret romantic dreams you carry with you, or maybe it's thanks to the ending with is inconclusive. You don't get to know for sure if they stay to together or if it's only summer romance. It will leave you with your own ending to the story ( SPOILER ALERT - SORRY!! No, I am not sorry) . For me personally, I hope that these two will find they happily-ever-after together. They are meant for each other and that it's clear from the start to finish and it would be a great loss if they would let their love slip away.
The characters in this book. You can not help, but to love them. Every single one of them. Apart from the paparazzi maybe. Ellie is the redhead girl who never dreamed of prince charming or being swept away by hollywood starlet. All she ever wanted is to be happy and read poetry. But she deserves so much more. She is intelligent, beautiful, sensible and has a wonderful sweet personality you cannot help but love. She is a protagonist many girls can relate to. Graham is the prince charming - literally. He is handsome, successful and charming. But he is also unhappy in the Hollywood. He is missing his old easy life where he wasn't chased by reporters on every corner. And Ellie reminds him how amazing life can be when you meet someone special. These two deserve the best. And the best is to be with each other. I have been routing for them from the start and never stopped. I want them to find their happy ending. I want them to live their happily-ever-after. They are good for each other. They compliment each other. And they make each other happy like never before. Fingers crossed, that the author actually meant for them to stay together.
So all in all, I have truly love this book. Every single page filled me up with so many wonderful feelings and I was sad when it ended as I never wanted it to end. I wanted this story to go on so I don't have to say goodbye. I even didn't say hello yet... (Get it?) Jennifer E. Smith always manages to do this to me with her writing. I go through so many feelings and emotions that I end up sobbing in my room to the pillow and eating enormous amounts of chocolate to keep my stress levels low. But I never regret reading it. I always want to re-read the story immediately. And that's what a good storytelling and writing should do to you. It should leave a permanent mark forever. And somehow this writer and her stories manage to do this every single time.
So thank you Ms Smith. I have had a beautiful, heartwarming & emotionally draining time reading this book but it was worth it. I adore it from the start till the end and I cannot wait to re-read it again soon.