ARC Review: Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand

Title: Some Kind of Happiness

Author: Claire Legrand

Published by: 17 May 2016 | Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Date Read: 22 May 2016

Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

REVIEW

*ARC kindly provided by Claire Legrand – Author for review*

Some Kind of Happiness is my first experience on a Middle Grade (MG) book and I am happily surprised by how much this book made an impact on me. I love how the story was told – simple yet deep. The main topic was a direct shot to the heart. I love how refreshing it is to read a story told in the POV of a 10-year old girl.

The topic of depression and anxiety has been used by several books already. I have read my fair share of books dealing with the said topic. But what’s new about it here in Some Kind of Happiness is that it was dealt by the 10-year old girl. It actually opened my eyes that not only teenagers and adults suffer depression and anxiety. These can also make a huge impact on the life of the child affected by it.

“Everything looks like a painting: blue sky, white house, bright flowers. How can the world look so perfect when I feel so broken?”

10-year old Finley struggles about a lot of things – her parent’s divorce, her anxiety, depression and panic attacks and the upcoming summer vacation that she’s going to spend of her grandparent’s house whom she has not met yet. There, she finds herself surrounded by strangers that are her grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.

“Most people were afraid to enter the Everwood, but some brave souls made the journey anyway adventurers, witches, explorers. They never returned.”

Finley’s outlet whenever she has her “blue days” is writing on her notebook. She writes a story about a fantasy world called Everwood. Together with her cousins, they explore the woods and built their own Everwood. I really liked how the story of Everwood intertwined with the present time – with Finley and her cousins whom I must say are adorable and lovely bunch of kids.

The setting of the story also made a huge impact. I love how I get the gloomy feels as I read the book. I can really imagine the suburbs feels and the woods and the air.

“They like to pretend I don’t notice things. I think it makes them feel better, to lie to themselves and to me.”

For such a young age, Finley seems to know a lot about of things. She’s open minded and intelligent. I really liked how her character was made – well rounded and very well done. She’s complex, full of depth, intriguing yet she never lost the child in her.

Another thing this story focused on is familial relationship. The Harts are their town’s heroes but behind closed doors they have their own secrets and lies. At first, I was hesitant about Finley’s grandparents. I feel the coldness that they seem to give wherever Finley is concerned but I love how this thawed out at the end of the story. I love the interaction of the whole aunts, uncles and cousins. They have played a huge part in making the story’s world more built. Despite the secrets and all that, one thing that is evident on the Hart family is that their love and support for one another is there.

Finley’s parents are the one I won’t hide my unlikeness to. They didn’t seem to redeem themselves to me at the end of the story and even on the story itself; I cannot really feel the love of a parent being given to Finley by them. They were eaten by their own personal miseries that they forgot they have a child between them. I do understand that as adults they need to find their own self or something like that, but when there’s a child in the middle of it they should make him/her a priority.

“Only fools try to run away from fear. What you must do is learn to walk alongside it.”

This has been a great introduction in reading MG books to me. Finley’s story is simply heart tugging. I’m hoping this book would open the eyes of the adults especially the parents that kids can also suffer anxiety and depression.

An incredible story about family, friends and acceptance.

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