SOMETHING CLOSE TO MAGIC Written by Emma Mills (Atheneum BYR; $19.99, Ages 12+ )…
GET HAPPY BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY
Author Mary Amato is also a songwriter, just like the protagonist of her new YA novel, Get Happy (Egmont USA, October 28, 2014, $16.99, Ages 12+ ). This fact provides a fresh hook: readers who get curious about the songs soon-to-be seventeen year-old Minerva writes when she’s working through her feelings can go to thrumsociety.com and listen to performances of the actual songs.
A funny moment in the book rings true and reflects Amato’s musical background: Minerva wants a ukulele for her birthday. She thinks she’s made this clear to her mother, but the two are rarely on the same page. So when Mom doesn’t come through, what does the uke-less Minerva do? She spends so much time practicing on the instruments at the music store that the store manager bans her!
The friendships in Get Happy also feel very real. Finnegan is a real BFF whom Minerva can count on when she’s down. He also pushes her to do things that are good for her. Notably, he gets Minerva to audition for a job with a company called Get Happy. The job entails, well, a tail! Minerva has to dress up as a mermaid, following a script to entertain at birthday parties. The job generates some funny and poignant moments and also turns out to be a place to meet new friends. Fin and Min meet Hayes on the way to the audition, and convince him to try out, too. Hayes is tall and friendly, and a cowboy — at least when he’s dressed for work. Cassie is the perfect princess, so perfect that her clients love her. Minerva notices every moment Cassie shares with Hayes, and finds herself feeling jealous. She even stalks Cassie on-line, leaving nasty comments on her blog.
The main conflict in the book feels less completely realized, but definitely adds suspense, and a sense of commonality for readers dealing with separated or divorced parents. Minerva’s father left when she was just a baby, but now he’s trying to get back in touch. If he’s as bad as Mom says, he’s not worth knowing, but Minerva can’t help wondering about him. Who is he, really? Should she try to contact him? Will Mom find out about the package he sent Minerva on her birthday?
Reading Get Happy is a good way to discover different paths for self-discovery — art, work, friendship — and will be especially enjoyed by younger YA readers.
Learn more about Amato’s books for younger children and educational resources for her books at www.maryamato.com.
– Reviewed by Mary Malhotra
THE BLOG TOUR CONTINUES …
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Bring On the Books: Guest post and giveaway
Crossroad Book Reviews: Review and giveaway
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Reading Teen: Guest post and giveaway
Pinky’s Favorite Reads: Q&A and giveaway
Monday, October 27, 2014
Jean Book Nerd: Guest post and giveaway
Adventures in YA Publishing: Question and giveaway
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Book Briefs: Q&A and giveaway
CherylRainfield.com: Guest post and giveaway
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Unorthodox Mama: Review and giveaway
Bloggin’ ’bout Books: Review and giveaway
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Reading Nook Reviews: Q&A and giveaway
Fandom Monthly: Review and giveaway
Rockin Book Reviews: Review and giveaway
Saturday, November 01, 2014
Adventures in YA Publishing: Question
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Children’s Book Review: Guest Column and giveaway