Today’s Bookanista recommendation is
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

From GoodreadsWhen teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O’Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. Then Graham finds out that Ellie’s Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?

Six Reasons Why You Must Read This is What Happy Looks Like

  1. Characters – Graham and Ellie are so easy to relate to, and so easy to love. They’re genuine and authentic and layered. They’re kind to one another, and considerate of their friends and family. Graham and Ellie both have issues, but they’re not hung up on their troubles in a way that becomes tiresome. 
  2. Setting – Maine! Summer! Small town! Ocean! Ice cream parlor! Movie set! (Enough said?)
  3. Romance – This one’s adorable, guys. Graham and Ellie are fantastic individually, but they make even more sense together. They have obvious chemistry, and their relationship is free of the contrived drama sometimes found in YA romance. The many challenges Graham and Ellie face on their journey to coupledom are formidable, but they feel real. Also, I like that this story doesn’t stretch out the “getting together” phase. There are plenty of sweet and steamy moments scattered throughout the narrative.
  4. Voice – Simply put, Jennifer E. Smith rocks the teen voice. Her books are a fantastic example of how contemporary YA should read.
  5. Email – Graham and Ellie meet online through a fluke email mix-up. Their on-going messages are sprinkled throughout the story, a device that could have taken a hard left into Cheeseville. Instead, the messages impart a quirky sense of fun, and a different way of getting to know the story’s main characters. Loved the emails!
  6. Fate – This is What Happy Looks Like lends  the same warm-and-fuzzy tingles movies like You’ve Got Mail and Serendipity induce. There’s something so romantic and enviable about meant-to-be love. I think fate and real life meld perfectly in this book.

So… What are you waiting for? Pick up This is What Happy Looks Like before this summer ends — you’ll be happy you did!

Don’t forget to check out what my fellow Bookanistas are up to:

Nikki Katz is delighted by CHARM AND STRANGE by Stephanie Kuehn

Stasia Ward Kehoe meanders into adult fiction
to ponder LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel

Jessica Love has cheers for CHALKLINE by Jane Mitchell

Gretchen McNeil  sings out for SECOND VERSE by Jennifer Walkup

Shari Arnold adores ALSO KNOWN AS (AKA) by Robin Benway

Tracy Banghart delves into TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini

Christine Fonseca is held captive by ABANDON by Elana Johnson



One Word Wednesday

{Beach + Exercise + Sunrise = Katy’s Happy Place. This particular morning was stunning, plus I got to run with my husband. Perfection.}

{This cutie got a new guitar pick necklace, which she (we) think is pretty cool. She’s shown it off to her teacher at school, as well as her guitar instructor, and the general consensus is that it rocks. Also, the back says “Girls Rock!” which is pretty much icing on the awesome cake.}

{Blue Germ Pancakes, my very favorite breakfast, at First Awakenings, my very favorite breakfast spot. My parents were in town last week, so of course we had to hit up all the best local eateries. We went to First Awakenings twice. Yum. :)}

{This Is What Happy Looks Like… Oh, this book. It’s making me so HAPPY, which is perfect considering its title. Contemporary romance at its best, I think. Jennifer E. Smith is quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors.}

{As I mentioned, my parents (Nana and Poppy) recently visited. My girlie is so fortunate to have two sets of adoring grandparents (my husband’s parents, Mimi and Baba, visited last month). My daughter loves her grandparents so much (clearly), and she’s always thrilled to see them. Come back soon!}

So… What’s new with you this week?

January’s Reading Wrap-Up and Book of the Month

Oh my goodness, has January been good to me on the literary front! I can honestly say I enjoyed every. Single. Book. I read, which rarely happens. They were all winners, but of course I had a stand out favorite. Here’s the wrap-up:

Before I Die by Jenny Downham – Melancholy but lovely. Read my Bookanista recommendation HERE.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi – A post-apocolyptic/dystopian mash-up that left me feeling hot and dirty and bleak. That’s not to say Ship Breaker wasn’t good–it was excellent. I felt a deep connection with protagonist Nailer, which is unusual for me when it comes to books written in third person. And the world building… thorough, gloomy, enviable.

A Million Suns by Beth Revis – I very much enjoyed Across the Universe, the first book in this trilogy, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that AMS improved upon it. Loved it! Read my Bookanista recommendation HERE.

The Fault in our Stars by John Green – This one was equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking. Hazel was absolutely darling. Her observations about life and love and death were so very YA and incredibly profound. Though TFIOS doesn’t take the place of Looking for Alaska as my favorite John Green novel, it’s still a definite recommend.

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally – A contemporary full of realistic high school relationships and snappy dialogue. It was fun to be immersed in Jordan’s world of football and cute boys. Plus, this book was set in one of my very favorite cities, Franklin, Tennessee!

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder – I love Lisa Schroeder’s writing, and I loved this book. It’s a study in nuance and rhythm, and it’s full of beautiful language, imagery, and symbolism. If you’re unaccustomed to novels written in verse, Chasing Brooklyn is a great place to start. I bet you’ll adore it as much as I do!

And my very favorite book of January:
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

From Goodreads – Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything? Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. She’s stuck at JFK, late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s in seat 18C. Hadley’s in 18A. Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

Title? Perfectly unique. Such a mouthful it can’t help but be intriguing.

Cover? Perfectly adorable. Love the color scheme. Love the font. Love the poses of the models. Love the slightly askew heart encircling them.

Characters? Perfectly delightful. I want to know Hadley and Oliver. I want to hang out with them and laugh with them and hear their stories about childhood. They’re true-to-life teens–flawed and funny and confused and endearing.

Romance? Perfectly real. Sure, it develops in a super short span of time (twenty-four hours!), but you will believe in it and you will root for it because it jumps off the page in its sincerity. And the kisses… so sweet.

Want to know the BIGGEST reason I love The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight? Why it won the title of January’s Book of the Month by a landslide? Easy. This book is contemporary and fairly simple in concept, but Jennifer E. Smith’s writing brings a magical quality to each and every page. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is about people and relationships and learning about one’s self. There are no explosions or evil villains or paranormal beasts, yet I was still at the edge of my seat, flipping page after page to find out what would happen next.

The Statistical  Probability of Love at First Sight is honest and heartfelt and warm, authentic in its execution. It’s exactly the kind of book I aspire to write, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Tell me: What’s the BEST book you read in January?