Summary from BN.com:
REASONS TO BE HAPPY
21. Cat purr vibrating through your skin
22. Jumping on a trampoline in the rain
23. Raw cookie dough
24. Getting yourself all freaked out after a scary movie
25. Dancing like an idiot when no one is watching
What happened to the girl who wrote those things? I miss that girl. She used to be bold and fun. Now she's a big chicken loser.
How could so much change so fast?
Let's see, you could be the plain Jane daughter of two gorgeous famous people, move to a new school, have no real friends, and your mom could get sick, and, oh yeah, you could have the most embarrassing secret in the world.
Yep, that about does it.
So, the real question is, how do I get that girl back?
Ok, the colorful cover fooled me into thinking this was going to be a light read. I was expecting a cute story about what it means for a young teen girl to be happy. I thought that this would be a quick read where I would go about my day after reading it. I got a 1/4 of the way in the book and then WHAM! I knew then that this was not going to be an easy story to read.
Hannah is the daughter of two Hollywood actors and the niece of a famous documentary filmmaker. One would think that she would have the perfect life but she's horribly dissatisfied with it. First off, her mother has caner. Then she goes to a new school and is immediately schooled by the popular crowd of what is in and what isn't. According to them, most of what Hannah does/wants to do is not in. Desperate to fit in, Hannah stops doing many things that she likes and starts doing things that begin to harm her.
This is one of the very few books I've that portray bulimia so realistically. Other books I've read kind of skim over the difficult parts. Kittle really takes us into the mind of a bulimic. We witness the entire process of Hannah's addiction with it. We see her first time trying it and the power she feels from doing it to how it becomes her entire life to where she almost gorges herself to death. It's a completely eye opening experience that is very painful to read. One scene that really stood out to me is when Hannah tells her aunt she would rather be anorexic because it's not as disgusting as bulimia. Her aunt then shows her how disgusting anorexia can be as well. Something else I really applauded was that Kittle shows that this is a struggle that Hannah will have to face the rest of her life. Relapses can happen and it's not just something that she can switch off. A lot of other books tend to make it end in a snap but that is clearly not the case.
In addition to Hannah's struggles at school and her bulimia, there is also a section where she goes to Africa with her aunt. This trip transforms her and makes her see more about her life and how to find happiness. It's done very well and it helps the reader and Hannah both see more about life outside of our bubble.
Overall, I really loved this book. As I said, I went into it expecting one thing and came out completely different. Even though the main character is a young teen, I feel readers of all ages (well teen and above) will benefit from reading this novel. This is Kittle's first YA book but I hope it is not her last. There needs to be more contemporary YA books like this. They will make lasting impact on their readers. HIGHLY recommended.
Reasons to Be Happy by Katrina Kittle is published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (2011)
This ARC was provided by the publisher
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