Reasons to Be Happy by Katrina Kittle

8:00 AM

Title: Reasons to Be Happy
Author: Katrina Kittle
Release Date: September 6, 2011 (paperback)
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pages: 288
Source: Copy provided by publisher 

Overall: 3 Stars

Summary: 
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? 

My Thoughts:
Katrina Kittle's Reasons to Be Happy is directed to the perfect audience of young teenage girls who are just beginning to discover their changing bodies as they grow up. In our world today, there are so many ideals of what constitutes beauty and the perfect body type... but are we ever truly comfortable with our body images? I don't think so, and it's novels like this one which can educate its audiences for the better.

Reasons to Be Happy focuses on Hannah, the only daughter of two famous Hollywood celebrities, and her struggles with bulimia to deal with a life that quickly seems to be spiraling out of control. Compared to her beautiful parents, she feels fat, awkward and not pretty... and bulimia becomes a poor solution to her problems, especially when she falls under the negative influence of a group of girls at her school who practically encourage her to do so. Perhaps because the novel moved at such a fast pace, it wasn't always easy for me to relate with Hannah. The book would swiftly move onto the next event before I could emotionally invest myself more in the story... 

There are a lot of sudden changes in Hannah's life and she certainly has a lot on her plate, but at the same time, my own personality is so completely different from hers that it was difficult for me to understand her actions. If a group of girls were treating me that badly, I wouldn't have wasted my time with them, preferring solitude if need be. I guess, I wanted her to stick up for herself more! The novel later takes a surprising turn by transporting readers to Africa where Hannah's aunt is working on a documentary... and I was glad Hannah was finally able to gain more perspective and grasp how truly privileged she was. But most of all, I was glad that Hannah was able to finally accept that she was beautiful just the way she was.

Katrina Kittle's middle grade debut novel Reasons to Be Happy should be commended for showing readers the importance of accepting ourselves for the people we are and how we're all beautiful in our own ways. It's not as hard-hitting for a novel that deals with a social issue, but then again, I wouldn't expect it be considering the age group it is geared more towards. (Not that older audiences wouldn't also enjoy reading the novel too!) And as you continue to read along, you'll be supporting Hanna in rediscovering her reasons to be happy!

Thanks so much to Sourcebooks for providing this review copy!

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3 comments

  1. I want to read this book, it does sound like something I could enjoy. Thanks for the warning about the pacing, I tend to prefer a faster pace than a slow one, so it might not be that much of a problem for me.

    Thanks for the thorough review, though!

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  2. Sounds pretty interesting. Sounds like it might skew a little young for my taste, so I appreciate the honest review!

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  3. I'm reading this right now so I'm looking forward to see how the trip to Africa will impact Hannah.

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