Friday, December 26, 2014

Get happy by Mary Amato

Minerva was more than a little hopeful that she might get a ukulele for her sixteenth birthday, and she wasn't going to just rely on hopes and prayers either - she also stuck an ad up for the one she wanted on the family fridge.  When she opened her present from her mom there is no ukelele however, just another sense of disappointment about how little her mother actually gets about her.  A knock at the door signals the arrival of a parcel that will change Minerva's life forever - a parcel from the father that walked out on her when she was a toddler.

Opening the parcel is a life altering moment for Minerva as she suddenly realises that the father she always thought had abandoned her has reached out to her - reached out to her to form a connection.  This single discovery shakes her world and tips it upside down at a time when she is striving for independence and a sense of self that is seperate from her mother and what her mother wants her to become.  Taking a part time job will help Minerva earn some money so she can buy the ukulele of her dreams, but it will also add some interesting complications to her life.

Get happy is an intriguing mix of light and fluffy teen novel blended with a deep and emotional look at the implosion of a family that has been based on half-truths, subtle manipulations, and confronting moments.  I didn't know what to expect when I picked the novel up, but I definitely didn't get what I expected - and I am both happy and a little disappointed with the results.  Minerva is an interesting and engaging character, one that many teen girls will no doubt relate to as she comes to term with becoming sixteen and stepping closer to adulthood.  She is also a construct that represents thousands of teenagers worldwide who come from a "broken home" where one of the parents has left, leaving emotional wreckage in their path.  Minerva is also a somewhat shining star in a shallow sea of events that happen quickly and neatly in an orderly world that spins predictably out of control.  

This is a great example of a book that delivers more than the cover and the blurb promises, a pleasant surprise devoured in an afternoon on Boxing Day.  Get happy is a little treasure that deserves to be discovered and enjoyed - it blends light and fluffy with serious and heartbreaking to make the perfect blend of reading pleasure.

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Reviewed by Brilla

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