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Book Discussion: This Is What Happiness Looks Like

This Is What Happiness Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Happiness coverSummary

Ellie lives in a small, tourist town in Maine. One day she receives an accidental email and begins an e-flirtationship with the person on the other end. At the same time, a big time movie star of the most recent wizardly-YA adaptation comes to town to film his next movie. While mistaken identities, paparazzi, and family secrets create obstacles, Ellie finds that her own heart is the biggest barrier to love.

happiness table 2


Romance Score: Good Effort

Ellie and Graham have a cute flirtation going on. They also have a real relationship before the summer sparks fly, so the romance felt more real. Still, I wish there were a little more depth to it.

RosieFeminist Score: You’re Trying

I’m conflicted about this.  Ellie’s mom takes charge of her life and encourages Ellie to do so, too. But, I disliked the “don’t trust anyone” (especially men) theme that she also repeated.

diversity people circle iconDiversity Score: Not a Bit

The cast is fairly small and it’s in a small town in Maine. I have family in main, so I know exactly how un-diverse it can be, but I still think there could’ve been more – especially with an LA film crew in town. How cool would it have been if the movie star hottie was a POC?

wow iconAwesome Factor: Good Effort

This book is fun, flirty, and light – just like a good summer romance should be. I’m also enticed to try another Smith book; a definite sign of a good summer love!

Favorite Character

No one really stands out for me. But, I think it might be the pet-sitter taking care of Wilbur, the pig. His (lack of) response to Graham’s increasingly annoying emails actually made me smile.

Favorite Line

“Sunrises over the harbor. Ice cream on a hot day. The sound of the waves down the street. The way my dog curls up next to me on the couch. Evening strolls. Great movies. Thunderstorms. A good cheeseburger. Fridays. Saturdays. Wednesdays, even. Sticking your toes in the water. Pajama pants. Flip flops. Swimming. Poetry. the absence of smiley faces in an email.

What does it look like to you?”

After reading this, I felt like Ellie and I should be best buds. We like a lot of the same things. I wish the story had the same amount of personality that this list did.

Also, I love when I catch the line in a book that corresponds to the title. (Not included here, but on the same page in the book.)

Fun Author Fact

She came up with the premise for the book because her own very common name resulted in some misdirected emails (something I can definitely sympathize with). And, she loves Harry Potter!

Is this worth a book hangover?

It was a quick, fun read. The story wasn’t especially original and it lacked depth, but I still found myself hoping that the two would find a way to make it work. Also, so glad Ellie is following her writing dreams!

Read this next:

Fangirl  by Rainbow Rowell or This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen both have romantic story lines with personality and depth.

Post Author


Jess loves SFF – old and new school –  and is learning to appreciate the more lovey-dovey YA under the careful tutelage of Anisha’s recommendations.

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Filed under Contemporary, High School, Romance

Book Chat: Twilight Series

[audio https://e0a42c8fc359fde6f4f58c76dafc67b1e77f7957.googledrive.com/host/0B1btH5LeZjzibk8xRi1SV2xHV2M/Twilight_Both%20FINAL.mp3]

Click HERE for the podcast!Twilight pic

Twilight quartet


Bella is a perfectly ordinary girl… until she meets Edward. Edward is no ordinary high school student; he is a vampire. Follow the series as Bella and Edward develop their relationship and face immortal enemies together!


Favorite Character

Alice – With small stature and feminine tastes, it’s easy to underestimate Alice. I love her intelligence and devotion to her family. I think she’s the closet thing to a feminist in this series.

Favorite Line

“You nicked-named my daughter after the Lock Ness Monster!” 

I’ll be honest – there were NOT many lines I liked in this book. I can’t like the romantic lines, because taken out of context, they make the Edward-Bella relationship seem healthy, and it is so not. This line is kind of random, but also kind of hilarious. Because we all know that despite how much effort parents put into their children’s names, they always get nicknamed.

Is this worth a book hangover?

I was pulled in by the story, and connected well enough  by Book 3 to want to finish the series. However, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. I give this a meh at best.

Fun Author Fact

Some of Stephanie’s characters are, presumably, named after her family members . Three of her sibling are named Seth, Emily and Jacob.

Read these next:

If you appreciate the Twilight world, but want something with a slightly better message, I suggest reading Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia. 


Filed under High School, podcast, Romance