Things You Should Know About Some Kind of Happiness:
- It is not a fantasy story.
- The protagonist is a very realistically written young girl dealing with many issues in her life.
- There are many secrets hidden in and around Hart House.
- Not all of these secrets are nice.
- The tale starts off slowly but will soon have readers flipping through pages, to discover if they have deduced some of the secrets … and afraid that they will be right.
Note: I received an advanced copy of SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand
Published by Simon & Schuster on May 17, 2016
Genres: Genre-bender, Literary, MG, Mystery
Page Length: 374 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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THINGS FINLEY HART DOESN’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT
• Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
• Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
• Never having met said grandparents.
• Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)
Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real--and holds more mysteries than she'd ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.
With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.
Reality and fantasy collide in this powerful, heartfelt novel about family, depression, and the power of imagination.
- This book completely caught me by surprise! Legrand sets up multiple mysteries for the protagonist to solve and reveals them slowly and carefully. Honestly, I was about to abandon the story about 1/3 of the way into it, but then some details caught my attention and I began to read in order to find out if my surmises were correct. After that point, I was completely hooked!!
- The protagonist is a young woman who is dealing with both external, family issues and internal struggles. The internal battles are written with such care and compassion …. and honesty …. that I was completely amazed. The external issues of impending divorce, family secrets, and the struggle to maintain a brave front are handled with equal skill and far more depth of feeling and authenticity than I expected. This is yet another excellent book to use in introducing young people to thinking and talking about dysfunctional families, whether or not to keep a secret, and mental health issues. Pretty weighty, but the way Fin and her family members have to struggle before they finally break through to talking about …. rather than hiding and ignoring … problems is just beautifully written.
- I loved how Fin handled her internal struggles by writing fantasy stories …. and then how she adapted those stories to impromptu role playing games with her cousins and some local kids.
- There is romance, but it is well-paced, realistic, and sweet. And it is not the central relationship of the story.
- This really is not a fantasy. The stories within the story …. Fin’s writing ….. are in a high fantasy setting, but the main narrative is very firmly rooted in the modern world with all of its challenges.
- It does start off a bit slow. I was nearly ready to set it aside when I decided to give it a few more pages …. and then I was engrossed.
Taken as teen fiction that deals with many of the challenges that face young people today, this is wonderful book. It deals with many challenging issues that young readers may have had to face … or that affect their friends. As such, it is similar to some of Jodi Picoult’s novels and may be a good starting point for conversations on tough questions such as family relationships and personal integrity. Just don’t go into it expecting a high fantasy drama.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS by CLAIRE LEGRAND
© 2016, Barbara. All rights reserved.