Monday, January 16, 2017

Review: Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand

From Goodreads: Things Finley Hart Doesn't Want To Talk About: 1) Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.) 2) Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer. 3) Never having met said grandparents. 4) Her blue days - when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.) Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real - and holds more mysteries than she'd ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones. With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself. 

My Rating: 3 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Having enjoyed Claire Legrand’s previous novels for the most part, I decided to give Some Kind of Happiness a try without reading its synopsis. Therefore, I wasn’t expecting this MG novel to be so heavy, with a main character battling anxiety and depression but unable to put her feelings into words. To cope with her feelings, which worsen as her parents’ marriage falls apart and she meets her perfect, estranged extended family, Finley creates and writes about an imaginary world that the reader reads about as well.

To be honest, I’m not sure who I’d recommend Some Kind of Happiness to. The book felt quite long – the plot dragged in the middle – and there are much better novels that revolve around family or mental health. Moreover, the metaphor of the Everwood to describe Finley’s problems in real life may be lost on younger readers.

Some Kind of Happiness was released in May 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Comments About the Cover: The dark colours match the book's mood well, and the solitary person gives off a sense of loneliness, which is how Finley often feels. 


  1. There were quite a few middle grade reads that were surprisingly really heavy. I was under the impression that she used her creativity to create a world that would help her mental illness. You have curious about this one so I might check it out.

  2. Hmm yes, I struggle with the few MG novels I've read that take on such serious issues. It's a tricky line to balance. The only one that springs to mind that I really loved was The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen.

  3. Sorry you didn't really love this one. I think serious topics are important in MG books, but it also has to keep interest, etc.

  4. I've heard a lot about Legend but never actually read her books! I guess I'll skip this one and pick one of her other ones to begin. Wonderful review--thanks for your honesty! :)

  5. Hey Z, how are you? :) I've never read anything by Legrand before but wow, it must have taken you by surprise when the book started to become depressing. I personally like the cover of this but even with its colors, I still wouldn't have pegged this as a heavy MG.


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