Thursday, 22 May 2014

Review: This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith | Sister Reads


Book: This Is What Happy Looks Like

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Pages: 416

I Read it on: My iPad

I Read it in: 6 hours, across 2 days

Plot Summary: 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?

What I Liked: I really liked the premise of this book- two people (from diametrically different worlds) falling in love over email. Sounds familiar? That's You've Got Mail for you, but, but, but, since You've Got Mail happens to be one of my favourite rom-com movies, I did not mind reading a book with the same core premise. 

What I Didn't Like: Well, unfortunately, I didn't like anything else in the book. Now, let's all understand one thing clearly about today's book writing and publishing game- these people seem to think that book series work. Perhaps they do, but between you and me (and the www), I am so done with book series and trilogies (you are not JRR Tolkien, so stop already!) and the like. So, I don't know whether This Is What Happy Looks Like was so half-baked and incomplete and lackluster and minus any sort of resolution of the core conflicts in the plot because the author is planning a sequel or something?! Or was it just a badly written, utterly pointless book about events over a three-and-a-half month period?! 
Allow me to explain. There a bunch of potential conflict situations in this book:

1. Hot teen movie star falls for a poor little poor girl from a tiny town in Maine: You can only imagine the possible/potential dramatic possibilities of this plot device. However, not one of them were exploited or even resolved. *SPOILER* They fall in love and the book ends with them not deciding on anything. *END SPOILER* 

2. Ellie's father: Now, I don't want to give away a sort-of major spoiler here, but there is some major skeletons-in-the-closet type of deal with who Ellie's dad is and the reason why she and her mum are so "media shy". Again, a highly dramatic situation that was in no way resolved or even dealt with in this book at all. 

3. Graham's bizarre relationship with his parents: Graham's parents don't know how to deal with his sudden stardom. They ignore him (don't mooch off of him or anything) and read about his life and activities in magazines! So, um, this again was a totally ridiculous plot device and was magically resolved in two minutes in the book. Really badly done and really pointless! 

This is supposed to be a love story. A love story where a boy and a girl email each other multiple times a day for 3 months. I wish the author had at least put in those emails in the darned book! There was barely enough of their we-are-falling-in-love-madly communication that was shared in the book! So, as a reader, you don't understand why there is this mad love between them! And if you don't feel that, then you don't connect with the characters or their stupid love story. 

Also, there are hardly enough 'moments' between the couple. There are not enough conversations or anything. You feel cheated more than anything else because you picked up this idiotic book thinking it is a fluffy romance. 

Spoiler alert- it is not. It can not be called a love story or a romance novel. This is just a badly written series of events. 

Would You Like It?: I don't think so. (Refer rant above)

Rating: 1/5 

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