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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Review: Reasons to be Happy by Katrina Kittle

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: October 2011
Pages: 224
Series: no
Acquisition: received for review

Hannah's parents are glamorous Hollywood royalty, and sometimes she feels like the ugly duckling in a family of swans. After her mother's tragic death, Hannah's grief is compounded by her desperate need to live up to her mother's image. She tries to control her weight through Bulimia, and her devastated father is too distracted to notice. The secret of her eating disorder weighs heavily on Hannah, but the new eighth grade Beverly Hills clique she's befriended only reinforces her desire to be beautiful. The only one who seems to notice, or care, that something is wrong is Jasper, the quirky mistfit. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
A contemporary story about a girl grieving for her mother's death and her father's indifference. She turns to food as a way to coping. She finds friends in unlikely places and after a lot of struggles, she also finds herself. A good read, but not as heartwarming as I had hoped.

Hannah's mother and father are movie stars. Their faces are all over billboards and on the sides of buses. But her mom has cancer and dies a few chapters into the book. Her father looses it and becomes a Hollywood statistic - he drinks and he looses movies deals and he winds up in jail and then rehab. At the same time, Hannah develops an eating disorder. She steals food from her elite, perfect private school - complete with kids way to rich for their own good, security to fend off the paparazzi and of course, the poor charity, scholarship kid. She eventually goes to Africa to help her aunt film another award winning documentary about starving orphans. And in the end everything falls into place.

My main issue with Reasons to be Happy was its extremely unrealistic setting. Eating disorders are very serious and Hannah's experiences are no exception. What was exceptional was her life in general. Her parents are famous, she's rich, she's never had to really worry about anything in life, she goes to Africa which helps heal her, making life long friends along the way and reconnecting with her father who also gets his life back on track and gets nominated for an Emmy. Not a whole lot there to relate to.

I did really enjoy Hannah's reasons to be happy list. She finds joy in the simplest of things. So although, I really couldn't relate to her outward life, I did fell a connection to her secret inner most thoughts, wishes, hopes and dreams.

An ok read for me. Readers who are more in tune with and bigger fans of contemporary YA would probably enjoy this one better then I did. I wouldn't hesitate to read another book by Katrina as I did really enjoy the writing and style of Reasons to be Happy. It's actually inspired me to stat my own reasons to be happy list.

Overall Rating:
3 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Author's Website


  1. I like the idea of a reasons to be happy list too! I don't know that I will be reading this one, since there are a lot of books dealing with eating disorders that I think could do a better job, especially since all the reviews I've seen actually mirror your own quite closely. Everyone seems to feel the same about this one. Who knows though. Maybe one day :P

  2. I haven't read many other reviews of this one but it's nice to know others feel the same way I do.


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