A winning combination of humour, heartbreak and romance make this a must read for fans of John Green - and lovers of Zac Efron films. When 17-year-old Graham Larkin sends an email to a friend about his pet pig, Wilbur, the last thing he expects is a response from the other side of the country, from one Ellie O'Neill. As their online friendship blossoms, they begin to reveal more about themselves but crucially leave out the truth about Ellie's past and Graham's career as a Hollywood heartthrob. And when a new location needs to be found for Graham's next film, he jumps at the chance to visit Ellie's hometown, Henley, Maine. But, now that they're together, it's impossible to keep their secrets for long and there's a lot to overcome if love is to blossom...
Like Smith's The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (2012), this sweet novel has a premise worthy of the movies. When a lonely teenage Hollywood heartthrob accidentally e-mails a 16-year-old girl in smalltown Maine, there is an immediate spark. Graham arranges to shoot his new movie in Ellie's seaside town, surprising her with his true identity and leaving levelheaded Ellie feeling "wildly unbalanced." This is partly due to Graham's fame, but also because she fears the spotlight would expose a family secret. The cute, brief e-mails between Ellie and Graham showcase the rapid but authentic connection between them (putting aside that they would be far more likely to text each other in this situation). Because the book is told from both characters' perspectives, readers will understand their vulnerabilities as they try to take their relationship into the real world. Ellie's family secret may not seem severe enough for the consternation it creates, and readers may be exasperated by the dramas that keep the couple apart. However, the charming leads, smalltown backdrop, and absurdly romantic conceit will win hearts. Ages 15 up.