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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
*I received a free ARC of Get Happy from Egmont USA via Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review*
Get Happy is a sweet, upbeat story, even though it deals with some tough issues for Min and the fact that she can’t remember her dad at all, and her mom won’t even talk about him.
Get Happy is a really good story about how teens can worry about things that seem inconsequential for the adults in their lives. Min is such a teenager, she has some thoughts that are anchored in her brain, and nothing will really change her feelings. For years, she’s wanted a ukulele for her birthday, but this year once more, she gets an ugly sweater instead. Just before leaving for school the morning of her birthday, a package arrives for her, and it’s a present from her dad. Dealing with this when she has always thought he didn’t care about her at all, and also having to deal with ‘normal’ high-school problems doesn’t make her day any better.
Min is passionate about music, and that really shines through in Get Happy. She is often writing lyrics, and she watches youtube videos to learn how to play the ukulele, even before she actually owns one. And when she gets a job as a mermaid for kids’ birthday parties, she gets two new friends as well. Or she gets one new male friend, who may like her more than just a friend, and a frenemy of sorts who is beautiful, funny, graceful and involved with scuba-diving and saving sea creatures.
Even if Min is also quite jealous, I find it easy to like her and understand her. She really tries to be good, to do her work, and to manage everything. But she is so curious about this mysterious father, and decides to try to find him with her best friend Fin’s help. When she figures out that he actually works at the Chicago aquarium not far from her suburban home, she decides that she needs to talk to him.
Written in first person past tense, Get Happy is a quick read, and it’s filled with quirky, happy, sweet and sad moments. I enjoyed Min’s character development, even when she acted like a mean girl – and in the end, she did figure out how to see her dad, even if it didn’t end up the way she had imagined.
“Try it on. You can wear it today.” She gave the outfit I was wearing one of her famous looks. The Pat Watson look. A mix of pity and disapproval with a dash of Let me save you thrown in.
“Yum. Thanks Mommy. Hey, your coif looks great, Nice color.” Her face perked up. “Thank you, honey. That was nice of you to notice.” A horribly cheap trick – throw a compliment at your mom to make her go away.
Every house has a different vibe. The only word I can think of to describe the Martinelli house: male.