Sunday, August 18, 2013

This is What Happy Looks Like

This Is What Happy Looks LikeSmith, Jennifer E. This is What Happy Looks Like
2 April 2013, Poppy

Ellie answers a mistaken e mail that a boy sends her about walking his pet pig, and the two connect, telling each other about their likes and dislikes, pasts, etc., even though they don't know each other's names. It turns out that the boy is Graham Larkin, a film star, and he arranges for his next movie to be filmed in Ellie's town of Henley, Maine. Ellie can't believe that Graham is the boy from the emails, and admits that had she known he was a celebrity, she would have been too freaked out to divulge so much of her personal details. The two get along in person, too, but are thwarted by Ellie's mother's and Graham's agent's disapproval as well as by the paparazzi, who are determined to get pictures of the two together. This is a problem, since Ellie's father is a well-known senator who wants to run for president, and if Ellie's picture gets out there, it might cause problems for everyone. There are other problems as well-- Ellie wants to go to a poetry camp at Harvard but lacks the funds, and Graham feels abandoned by his parents, who are homebodies and not used to the way he lives.
Strengths: This was a nice romantic book about two teens who see past a lot of each others' veneers and like each other for the person inside. The angst level is moderate, but not enough to detract from the romance. Very fun, and even better than this author's The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.
Weaknesses: I found that I didn't really care about Ellie's father very much, but she definitely did. I would have been okay with more romance and less parental involvement.

On Pins and Needles (Sew Zoey, #2) Taylor, Chloe. On Pins and Needles (Sew Zoey #2)
4 June 2013, Simon Spotlight.

After meeting designer Cecily Chen at the fabric store, Zoey enters a sewing contest. She has to do the design in just a few days, and she has other issues with which she has to deal. Her friend Kate is still shy and doesn't care about what she wears, but after getting her braces off, she is attracting a lot of the boys' attention. Libby offers to model for the contest, but is concerned since her aunt is one of the judges-- is Zoey interested in her, or in her aunt? The characters from the first book, like Zoey's supportive aunt, her friend Priti, the clerk from the fabric store, and the fashion forward principal  all appear.
Strengths: Fun and fluffy, nice characters, substory of dealings with mother's death.
Weaknesses: I still find it hard to believe that Zoey has so many followers on her blog or that she is allowed to buy silk to work on, but it's a fun idea.


  1. How old is Zoey in the books? The covers make her look so young -- I'm not sure my middle schoolers would pick the book up.

    I also really liked This is What Happy Looks Like. It's a good, clean romance for middle school.

  2. I also liked This Is What Happy Looks Like--sweet, romantic, fun, and playful. I didn't think it was quite as good as Statistical Probability, though.