This Is What Happy Looks Like

First Lines: Hey, we’re running pretty behind here.  Any chance you could walk Wilbur for me tonight?

First review of the new year!  I’ve seen this on the library shelf since this summer, but this was the first time I grabbed it.  There always seemed to be more exciting books on the shelves than just a contemporary romance.  But I finally grabbed it, since I apparently wanted the thickest books I could find.

A typo may have just changed Graham Larkin’s life.  The movie star accidentally sent an email to small town Ellie O’Neill about his pet pig, Wilbur.  Then Ellie responded, starting off an email correspondence that is fun and yet still deep.  They talk about nearly everything, from childhood memories to favorite colors.  The one thing they never talk about is who they really are.  So when Graham finds out that Ellie’s hometown is the perfect location for his next movie, he will move mountains to try to get filming to happen there.  And it does.  Graham’s ready to move their relationship from simply online to in-person, but is Ellie?  And can a movie star really start a relationship with a normal girl like Ellie?  Why does Ellie want nothing to do with the media spotlight?

When I started this, it had a way of flying under my fingertips.  I read about 250 pages in one day (and that was just over half the book, if I remember correctly).  Part of that is because the whole prologue is made up of emails that read quickly once you know who is writing.

Like I said, the first half was flying.  Then somewhere around that 250 page mark, there was a plot twist that just killed the momentum.  Killed it.  I went from reading all those pages to not even wanting to touch it the next day.  That’s how bad that was.  My best reason for wanting to read this book wasn’t there anymore.

I have a hard time leaving books unfinished, so I knew that sooner or later, I’d have to pick it up again.  And once it got past that twist, it did get better.  It didn’t have the same appeal that the first half did, but it wasn’t bad.  I just didn’t feel the connection to Graham and Ellie that I had in the beginning.

I know that these kinds of books are supposed to be mostly just fluff.  But Smith’s last book, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, had a lot more depth than this one did.  I felt this was like 90% fluff, whereas I would say good contemporary romances are around 60% fluff.  (You do realize I’m pulling these numbers out of thin air, right?)  What I mean by this was that the romance was completely front and center nearly the entire novel, even when I don’t think it necessarily was supposed to be.  The outside problems that Graham and Ellie had on their own felt trivial and not really worth the reader’s time.

Overall, the love story is kind of cute, but don’t look for anything more than that to come out of this.

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