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This Is What Happy Looks Like Hardcover – April 2, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-This well-crafted, character-driven love story opens with an endearing prologue told in emails. When 16-year-old Ellie O'Neill accidentally starts an exchange with a stranger, she doesn't expect their virtual conversations to turn into a romance. But over the course of a few months, that's exactly what happens. Ellie doesn't know the boy's name until he shows up on her doorstep. He's Graham Larkin, a famous movie star whose next film just happens to be shooting in her quiet Maine town. While most of the girls are dying to be in her shoes, she has reservations. Ellie is the illegitimate daughter of a prominent politician, and her mom moved them to escape the unrelenting media. Now they struggle financially in order to maintain their privacy. Graham's life is anything but private. However, though he is handsome and wealthy, the teen is also lonely and uninspired. His parents, uncomfortable with his fame, choose to distance themselves from him, while his controlling manager wants Graham to date his beautiful costar for the good publicity. Despite those obstacles, Ellie and Graham sustain a sweet and genuine romance. Their chemistry is undeniable, and readers will wonder about their love story long after the last page. An excellent recommendation for fans of Maureen Johnson.-Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, Rockaway Township Public Library, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
When “GDL” gets an e-mail address wrong, the surprise recipient, “EONeill,” decides to reply. The two develop a deep and intimate rapport despite guarding their true identities. But down-to-earth movie star Graham Larkin is certain that Ellie is someone special, and he lobbies to shoot his new movie in “the middle of nowhere, Maine,” Ellie’s hometown. Ellie is shocked to learn who Graham is, and she is anything but thrilled by the prospect of dating a teen heartthrob. Meanwhile, the paparazzi trailing Graham threaten to upturn the quiet, carefully constructed life Ellie and her mother have nurtured to smooth over a high-profile secret. The shared third-person narration lends a quiet insight into these two likable characters whose histories and flaws are relatable and fully fleshed out. The blend of celebrity glitz and small-town coziness gives this summer love story a pleasant frame, and it will leave readers wishing for more time with this endearing couple as the sun rises on their last morning together. Grades 8-11. --Heather Booth
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I enjoyed the story and feel that the author is a good story teller. This was my first by this author and it was a good first impression. I will read more by her.
I felt like the two main characters were very mature for their 16 and 17 years on this planet. The story was kind of slow to start but after it picked up speed I didn't want to put it down.
There were times, mostly in the beginning that I felt like there were too many unnecessary details either about the setting or the characters in general.
I also felt like the ending was a bit abrupt and left me as a reader hanging. There were a lot of lose ends concerning Ellie's dad and some other things. This might be the author's style but I hope not because it feels like a let down when a lot of things aren't resolved. I'm hoping there is a sequel or something in the works.
There was romance but it was subtle and I think that is appropriate for the age level this novel is marketed for. It is a clean book.
$1.99 is definitely a sign I'd say, so I bought it and started it right when I put the other down. This was the perfect follow up. If you are looking for a deep book that is going to make you feel things, This Is What Happy Looks Like might not satisfy you.
It takes place in Maine in a little shore town during summer. This is such a great summer book. Would have loved to read this one on the beach, but since it was in the negative temps last week, I settled for under my blanket on the couch.
At first Ellie comes across as your average teen, working the summer in an ice cream shop. She gets a random email from some strange 17 year old boy wanting her to feed his pig. She responds back letting him know that he must have the wrong email, and from their they have cute witty conversations.
It turns out though, that this mysterious boy turns out to be a teenage movie star. When his latest film shoot is moved her her town, thanks to his recommendation, They get to meet each other.
There are more layers to Ellie than meet the eye, and a relationship with a boy in the spotlight is the last thing she needs at the moment, but you can't fight a connection, right?
Both Graham and Ellie have their issues, but they are put out there in a way that's light and not overbearing. Exactly what I needed. It had some depth but I wasn't left drowning, and sure enough, I smiled. A lot.
Very cute book, and I would definitely recommend it. Especially as a relaxing summer beach read, and I don't know about you, but I'm already planning my reading list for this years vacation! :0) Check this one out!
Graham's celebrity wasn't quite the daunting obstacle it was made out to be (though I did want to punch his agent a couple of times -- yes he helped keep Ellie's name under wraps but he was kind of slimy about everything else), and Ellie's grand scheme to confront her father felt very shoehorned in. It feels monumental but ends up being just a passing summer. Ellie's fight with her friend whose name escapes me at the moment was very high school in its pettiness, but it came across as just something else to dump on Ellie at the worst possible moment. "Oh, romance problems and daddy issues? Let's have her best friend not speak to her, either."
Props for the open-ended ending.