Kelly's Reviews > Happy Families

Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis
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's review
Mar 24, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: ya-fiction, read-in-2012
Read from March 23 to 24, 2012

Ysabel and Justin are twins, and they've had really happy and comfortable lives. That is until their father broke the news that he's really a transsexual, and now things have spun out of control.

Davis's story was really promising, and the premise was interesting, but I found the execution wasn't as engaging or as strong as it could have been. I think using dual narrators hurt the story; I never got to actually know either Ysabel nor Justin, and I never got to know their father or mother. There was a lot of potential here to really explore the implications of their father's secret, but it got lost in a whitewater rafting trip with other families dealing with this sort of issue.

I think the real problem is the book was too short and tried to tackle too many things in a tight time frame (there's a "before," where we get to know Ysabel and Justin prior to their father's truth being exposed, and it's only a handful of pages long; the "after" runs for just over a week, while the twins are at their father's house for spring break). Because it felt rushed, the emotional impact was not here. Likewise, the ending felt far too tidy and resolved.

There were some interesting threads in the story -- I was particularly drawn to the religious aspect -- but they weren't explored quite as I hoped they could or would be.

The idea is here, and I think the book fits a much-needed hole in YA fiction, but it wasn't the strongest.
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03/24/2012 page 78
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Angela I felt the same way! This book was not what I wanted it to be, at all.

Hutch Librarian Agreed! Good review.

Hutch Librarian Agreed! Good review.

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