Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

This Is What Happy Looks Like

This Is What Happy
Looks Like
by Jennifer E. Smith
From the publisher:
"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?"

Some people have said this book is like You've Got Mail meets Notting Hill , or You've Got Mail meets Win a Date With Tad Hamilton , either way.... what's not to like? I loved this charming, bubbly story. And it actually goes much deeper than charming and bubbly. I really felt the characters, their joy and heartache - it actually made me tear up a few times. Once again, literary references had me hooked from page one (a boy who names his pet pig Wilbur and says he is radiant and humble? Loved it!). I loved that Ellie's mom played such a big role and was a good and loving parent. I loved that Graham missed having a better relationship with his parents and worked to resolve that. The setting of Maine was lovely (a little joke from the book... but it was lovely), the secondary characters were important to the story and were true and loyal friends, and the story was gripping. All of this without one vampire or teenage warrior. Kudos to the author. I highly recommend this one!

Areas of concern:  2 cuss words.  Several sweet kisses.  An adult had an affair and an illegitimate child many years ago.  

Suggested ages:
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 15+
School Library Journal - Grades 8+
*Mrs. Duke says, "Sometimes I really wonder about these reviews.  I have ordered books for our library based on them saying they were for ages 12+, only to find horrible language, disgusting situations or atrocious violence.  Then a book like this comes along that was a very sweet, clean romance and they recommend it for ages 15+.  I would definitely rather have my middle school daughter read something like this than even things like Twilight or The Hunger Games, both of which are at the cleaner end of the spectrum for books aimed at teens."

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