As I'm writing this review, Crazy, Stupid, Love. is playing in the background. It is now officially V-Day. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are doing that amazing "It's like you're Photoshopped" scene. And I'm feeling the love you guys, so here's a book sure to bring the swoon :-).
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith is a sweet, romantic contemporary YA, featuring a hook I just fell in love with.
From the jacket summary: Graham Larkin and Ellie O'Neill meet--albeit virtually--when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an e-mail about his pet pig, Wilbur. The two seventeen-year-olds strike up an e-mail relationship, even though they don't even know each other's first name.
Sigh…Smith had me at hello lol. That bit about the pet pig made me smile. Usually, I stay away from books where e-mails are involved. Don't know why. To me, online communication always seems so impersonal. I'm a big Jane Austen fan, so I'm also a big fan of the handwritten letter. I like books I can hold (though ebooks are growing on me). Anyway, the point is I kind of doubted this relationship.
But I was wrong--and so, SO happy about it!
Ellie and Graham's e-mails were absolutely my favorite part of the book. They were used in such an amazing way. Through their exchanges, they get to know each other--and we get to know them. Beyond the surface details (names, hair color, eye color etc.), they discover each other, what really makes the other tick.
I thought this sent a beautiful message.
Truth: While writing, I have a hard time physically describing my characters, figuring out what they look like. But I know who they are. I know what they like best, what makes them cry, their sense of humor, who they'll fall in love with and why. In my head, I guess those are what make up the character, not their looks.
So I loved how Ellie and Graham's relationship started. I also really liked the fact that this errant e-mail could begin such a sweet romance. Great way to integrate today's technology, and like I said, Smith brought the swoon.
I am now a believer in the power of e-mail LOL.
Graham was a true romantic, a 17-year-old movie star who falls for a girl he's never met. I liked him immediately. Ellie was an endearing character. I loved how she was just "normal," as much as any of us are normal. She was a well-rounded character with likes and dislikes, dreams and fears. Both of them were good people you just wanted to see get together.
And Smith makes that happen in this beautiful, sweet way <3. Would've liked a more concrete ending, but no other complaints. I'm seriously not all that big into Valentine's. But I think the world could use a little more happy. A perfect read for Valentine's Day!