Book Discussion: This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith.

This contemporary was supposed to be cutesy and funny. Like the last one. I didn’t really know what I was signing up for when I started reading this book. But I got more than I bargained for. This is not a generic contemporary. This book is special and beautiful. It is deep and it made me ask a lot of questions. And best of all, it made me think about something other than the Shadowhunter world. I think I am ready to read other kinds of books now without comparing them to any of Cassandra Clare’s book. And that, for me, is a great achievement.

Goodreads Synopsis:

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O’Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie’s Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?

Throughout this book, there is a tone of sadness and secrecy and it weighed over me. Despite taking place over the summer, it is not a summery romance. It is darker than that. If I had to compare, I would compare this with Where She Went by Gayle Forman. The oppression of the situation is very apparent here. No one is at fault and yet everyone suffers for the situation that have raised and that other people created. Ellie and Graham are the characters that may have been done before in contemporaries but their little nuances throughout the book make them different. This book makes you feel for each and every character and I felt for it. I laughed and cried with them. And it is rare for a contemporary romance to make me cry.

The thing that sets it apart from all other books is that it doesn’t follow the patters that we expect it to follow. The romance is not the same. The family interactions are not the same. Neither are the friendships, even though friendship is a small part of the story. Even the ending is different. I didn’t feel extremely happy when I finished the book, but I did feel satisfied. It felt realistic. And the emotions that went through the characters felt realistic. And that’s what make this story unique and beautiful.

All there is left to say now is that don’t go in expecting a light, summery romance. It is so much more that that. It is dark. And it is going to make you feel. It is similar and yet different from other books of the same genre. And I would recommend it to everyone. I won’t say that this is the best book out there, but it deserves a read from you. Have you read this book? What did you feel about it? Please tell me in the comments! Thank you so much for reading! Until next time then.

Fin!

My rating- 4.25/5.

My Goodreads rating- 4/5.

-Sanchita.

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