Sara's Reviews > The Pursuit of Happiness

The Pursuit of Happiness by Tara Altebrando
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's review
Mar 09, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, 2009
Read in March, 2009

4.5 stars. I really like the author's writing style (very smooth, very beautiful, very good at drawing the reader in) and I love how deep her books are. There are so many layers, so many thought-provoking moments, and it results in a really interesting and well-written novel. I have to admit, though, I like her second book, What Happens Here better than this one, but perhaps that's good, since it shows she grew as an author and that her work only got better.

In The Pursuit of Happiness, Betsy, a 16 year old girl, is working at a colonial village for the summer as a re-enactor, dressing in burlap and having old-fashioned conversations with other employees to give tourists a good show. She hates it at first, but then her mother dies after battling breast cancer, and Betsy starts to look forward to this job because it allows her to be someone else and get away from her real problems and concerns in life. She makes friends with some of her coworkers and discovers that not everyone is who she thought they were and that everyone has their own secret battles that they're dealing with.

The strong points of this novel were definitely the characters and the writing. The pace was good, and I kept wanting to read more and more, not putting the book down. There were a few things in the book that seemed too simplified, but that may have just stood out to me because most of it was so deep and pitch-perfect. I could totally buy these characters as real teens, and the way Betsy handled things was very realistic and interesting. I imagine that this book will resonate well with kids who've lost a parent. Can't wait to see what the author will put out next.

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