Especially contemporary love stories. (Too much snogging, not enough adventuring.)
Especially contemporary love stories with straight characters. (Because the book blurbs usually say something like “the most original romance you’ll ever read” and I’m like, “….noooo, this is the same boy-meets-girl plot that I’ve seen ten thousand times before!”)
Well, guess what? The Geography of You and Me is a contemporary love story with straight characters. And so is This is What Happy Looks Like.
And I adored them both.
What are they about, you ask? An excellent question.
Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.
Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and – finally – a reunion in the city where they first met. (The Geography of You and Me)
When 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? (This is What Happy Looks Like)
Just look at that potential for adorableness. And Jennifer E. Smith doesn’t fail to deliver on that count, either. I feel so silly about saying this, but I sighed happily and giggled to myself and in the end, was so glad that I’d decided to try these books. I picked them only because A) they had pretty, doodle-ish covers and B) I had enjoyed Smith’s first book, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. I didn’t have high hopes for them.
And if I’m honest, these two books aren’t trying to be extraordinary. If you read them hoping to find Profound Moments and Deep Thoughts, well, you’re not going to find them. They’re pure fluff, all about improbable meetings that quickly turn into love. (Which, as evidenced by its title, was also the plot of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Apparently Smith likes to tell this kind of story.) Is this stuff even realistic?
No. And yet, I don’t care. The writing was nice and the characters were adorkable. I loved the descriptions of traveling in The Geography of You and Me. I loved the email correspondence in This is What Happy Looks Like.
Best of all, both books were light reads. I could do with more light reads. They make a nice change from my usual genres – mysteries (in which deaths are solved), dystopian fiction (in which people died in the apocalypse), and high fantasy (in which dozens of characters are killed in their attempts to win the Iron Throne).
So no, these books aren’t highbrow. But they’re enjoyable. If you’re looking for something short and sweet, quick reads that will make you smile, I highly recommend The Geography of You and Me and This is What Happy Looks Like.
Rating for The Geography of You and Me: 3.5/5
Rating for This is What Happy Looks Like: 3/5