This Is What Happy Looks Like

This is What Happy Looks Like - Jennifer E. Smith (As reviewed on my blog, Paper Riot.)I'm convinced that Jennifer E. Smith has been visiting my teen self in my dreams. Because honestly, how could she know about all those dreamy scenarios I had going on in there? Sitting next to a cute guy on a plane, emailing with a real movie star... who didn't dream about things like that? For small town girl Ellie this is a dream come true, except that she is a lot more down to earth than I would have been in this situation. I liked Ellie. She was smart and capable of handling her issues. I admired her for trying to make her own dreams come true and not depend on others to do so. And I really liked the bond with her mother. Good mother-daughter relationships in books are always a plus.Graham reminded me of Adam Wilde, but more innocent. More boyish. I like that he was passionate about acting and that he had a pet pig, but I mostly liked him for the emails he sent Ellie. In my eyes, the emails were the best part of this story, and I wish there had been more of them. They showed a side of Ellie and Graham that the rest of the story didn't, and it was such a charming way of introducing us to these characters, and letting us get to know them better. I'm not always a fan of emails and letters in stories, but this was done just right. All in all, Ellie and Graham were just adorable together. This story isn't about a heartbreakingly beautiful love story, but it is a good protrayal of teenage love.But when I compare it to The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I liked this book less. I think what made The Statistical Probability stand out more was the charm of the 24 hour time span, as well as my connection to the characters. While Ellie and Graham go through similar things, I was more connected to Hadley and Oliver in an emotional way. Hadley's relationship with her parents was rocky, but I was very invested in it. I missed that connection in This Is What Happy Looks Like. While I liked the characters and understood their struggles, I wish it had focused less on the (family) drama and more on the romance. The issues with Ellie's father didn't really interest me, and they felt unnecessary for the story.So yes, what I'm really saying is that I would have liked more kissing. A lot could have been done with Graham's movie star status that wasn't really an issue in this book, and that was a bit disappointing to me. Regardless, I did like this story. It was light and cute, and the setting (a small beach town in Maine) was a great aspect. I also really liked the ending, even though I don't think it will please everyone. But to me, it made me appreciate this book more. All in all, This Is What Happy Looks Like is a sweet story - a love story light, if you will - and while it's perhaps not the most memorable read, I really enjoyed it.