Monday, October 13, 2014

Review: Get Happy by Mary Armato

Title: Get Happy
Author: Mary Amato
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release date: October 28th 2014
Pages: 256
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: NetGalley - I received a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
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In this poignant, realistic, contemporary YA by a state master list star, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Gayle Forman, a young songwriter builds a substitute family with her friends in place of the broken family she grew up with.
A hip high school girl who loves music, writes songs, and is desperate for a ukelele, learns to her shock that her father did not abandon her years ago and has been trying to keep in touch. She begins to investigate him, only to discover that he has a new life with a new family, including the perfect stepdaughter, a girl who Minerva despises.
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Get Happy is a super-short read. It's only 256 pages, and the spacing makes it even shorter than that sounds. To add to that, we have Minerva's song lyrics at the end of most chapters, and the last of those 256 pages has those lyrics again, this time with the musical chords. So the good news is, it only took me like two and a half hours to read Get Happy. But the bad news, sadly, is that this short length means that nothing really happens, and nothing is as complex as I would like, making this a very underwhelming read for me.

The main storyline is the one about Minerva's family; her search for her father and the discoveries about her mother and all of their past. That storyline isn't bad... it's just nothing new; it's a very basic story that I've read a million times before. I found Minerva's reactions to all of this to be kind of melodramatic, to be honest; it might be just because I've read so many similar stories, or because Minerva reads so young (younger than the 16 she's supposed to be), but I didn't find what happened to be big enough to warrant such extreme reactions. I just don't think this is enough to carry the story. And with the strong focus on all of this, I found the developments towards the ending to be lacking: we never get to see what happens between her father and stepsister.

Minerva and her best friend Fin work at Get Happy, where they dress up as mermaids, pirates, etc. to entertain kids at birthday parties. That whole idea is cute, and some of those scenes are pretty entertaining. It's a bit contrived how the two of them, as well as the two other characters, Cassie and Hayes, always ride together and have to entertain parties at the exact same times, but it serves the purpose of showing how they all interact. This cast of characters has potential, but they're not complex enough to seem real, and nothing really happens between them either.

I'm not really sure what to say about Get Happy. It's not bad, and I didn't have many issues with it. But the thing is... nothing really happens. These storylines aren't enough to make for an engaging plot; they would have made a good background to set up a real story to focus on, but there is no such story. I know not every novel has to have a strong plot, but even as a character-driven novel, Get Happy didn't work for me; I didn't think the main character was complex enough or develops enough over the course of the story to make Get Happy work. Get Happy is targeted more towards the younger part of YA, so maybe it's just not for me, but I just found it very underwhelming.


  1. Thanks for the honest review! I have to admit that this doesn't sound all that compelling, and I will probably just skip it now that I've read your review.

  2. I thought this sounded kind of interesting but I guess I'll save it for an "in-between read". I think I still want to check it out but I'm not in a rush.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth


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