Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Get Happyby Mary Amato• contains 256 pages• published by Egmont USAon 28. October 2014• classified as Contemporary, Music, Young Adult• obtained through Edelweiss• read as eARC• shelve on Goodreads
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.
Get Happy is such a sweet book with the right amount of conflict and tension. I liked Minerva right from the start. She was kinda bratty at first but a very self-aware brat fluent in sarcasm, so reading this book amused me tremendously.
The ukulele on the cover first drew me to Get Happy because I love books that revolve around music, so I had to read it. On the music front, I must say Get Happy more than delivered. Every chapter was infused with music lyrics of songs that Minerva made up. Her passion for music was evident. She taught herself how to play the ukulele and wrote lyrics even during her classes in school.
Minerva’s friends and family also played a crucial role in her life, which I appreciated. Get Happy wasn’t so focused on romance that it swallowed up the rest of the plot, as many YA books seem to do nowadays. On the contrary, romance was left on the back burner as Minerva pursued her musical interests, took on an after-school job and dealt with her personal and family issues.
I loved the friendship that Minerva and Fin shared. It was a wonderful example of strong platonic friendships, which I appreciated very much. They did silly things together, yet were open to including others into their circle.
Families aren’t always as rosy they seem to be. Yet for children who grow up with only one parent, it’s inevitable that they wonder why. Minerva was no exception as she grappled with the absence of her father. She didn’t know who he was and her mother refused to speak about him. She claimed it was better that way.
Then Minerva found out who her father was and her life spiralled out of control. Minerva’s character portrayed the life of a girl from a broken home. Mary Amato crafted such a relatable character, I felt for Minerva and so badly wanted to reach out to her.
I know some people aren’t fans of open endings, so I’m putting it out there that this book has one. These kinds of endings are more true to life though, so I don’t really mind. By the time I got to the last line, I couldn’t contain my smiles.
Get Happy Playlist
Music lovers should definitely check out the covers that Jamey Geston did for some of the songs in the book. It’s a neat addition to the book. If you want to check out the playlist of Get Happy, check them out on Mary Amato’s Youtube channel. Here is one of the songs, Finally: