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A Review Of This Is What Happy Looks Like

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‘This Is What Happy Looks Like” is a fictional novel written by Jennifer E. Smith, an American writer authoring novels for young adults. She has written 8 novels up to date namely: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Windfall, The Geography of You and Me, This Is What Happy Looks Like, The Comeback Season, Field Notes on Love, You Are Here and Happy Again. The book contains 404 pages and organized by chapters. The title “This Is What Happy Looks Like” encapsulates the message that the book wants to relay.

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This is a story of two seventeen-year old individuals that happened in Henley, Maine. In the story, it is a place where most of the people go during summer time or when they are on a vacation. Graham Larkin, a young actor from California mistakenly sent an email to a girl from the other side of the world – Ellie. Graham was a tall, blue-eyed guy who seeks to make his way to the real world through his anonymity and to build friendships with people who loves him not because of his fame but because of who he is. Ellie O’ Neill, the girl who received the email and who lived in Henley, Maine decided to let Graham in her life even without knowing his full identity. She allowed herself to open-up to Graham even though they never met in person and only knew each other online. Their story started from a mistakenly sent email that bloomed into something deeper, from being online friends to taking it to the next level, offline togetherness. And because they are from two different worlds and different kinds of identity, they faced a lot of challenges and obstacles which somehow moved their relationship. But despite all the challenges that hindered them, they were still able to connect their worlds. The overall message of the story is that two different worlds can still be connected, because the determination and willingness of a person will help overcome anything for the right person. Just like in real life, despite all the things that can hinder us from being with the person we love, we can still overcome it through the power of love.

The author applies the writing style through the literal way, there are no hidden meanings and it is direct. She also used creative words to make use of the reader’s imagination in picturing out the characters and the scenarios. In addition, the characters were able to portray their roles and made the readers feel what they want them to feel. The characters gave off emotions and feelings that the readers can relate to. Moreover, I think that the weakest quality of the book is that it is literal and no statements have the intention of being metaphorical. It is one of the things that the novel lacks, and this can cause the readers to lose interest of reading the book. On the other hand, the strongest quality of the book is its closeness to reality — which can let the readers relate to the story. 

If I were to ask if I recommend this book, I definitely will because it is relatable and it gives off lessons that can be applied in our own lives. I would mostly recommend this to the young adults because this book is written and meant for them, and also this can serve as a guide in their lives when making a decision close to the situation of Ellie and Graham in the story. All in all, this book made me realize a lot of things and gave me another perception of how ‘happy’ looks like. 

10 Jun 2021

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