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Promise Me Happy

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  138 ratings  ·  36 reviews
I don’t know if it’s possible for people to change, not really. The way you’re made up, the important stuff, I reckon you’re born with that . . . when it matters, when it really matters, we are who we are.

Nate’s had it tough. An abusive father. His mother dead. He’s done things he regrets.

But he’s never met anyone like Gem. She’s a tiny piece of wonderful and she’ll change
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Penguin Books Australia
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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  138 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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C.G. Drews
i'm beginning to have a deep mistrust of books with "happy" in the title...because they never end up being. 😫💛This was a really sweet and lovely surprise of a book. I hadn't heard of it before I picked it up and it turned out to be this slowly unwinding Aussie contemporary about a boy fresh out of juvie and bearing bruises on his soul for his past (some his fault, some not) and left with an uncle who doesn't know him. Or want him. They're in this dusty little fishing village and Nate's character ...more
✨Emily | Procrastinating • Bibliophile
Promise Me Happy is a coming-to-age contemporary set in the small fishing town of Oyster Bay, Australia. It is a story filled with grief, family, friendship and love that really showcase an Aussie way of life. For a large part of the book, it was a pretty average contemporary and I was about to give is a 2.5/5 stars. But the ending really got me emotionally so overall this book is a really strong 3/5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Promise Me Happy - a moving, authentically Aussie coming of age story at its best. Perfect for fans of YA contemporary fiction about relationships, family and finding a place to belong, Promise Me Happy is a soothing, gently-paced and touching novel.

Nate knows this is his last chance. Leaving juvie to live with an uncle he doesn’t know, Nate has low expectations about this next phase in his life, yet it can’t be worse than returning to live with his drunk and abusive father and memories of his d
Thoughtful and full of feels.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not much has gone Nate’s way in life so far, his Dad is an abusive alcoholic and his Mum died not so long ago. Nate fell in with the wrong crowd and did some pretty stupid things. Things he’s not proud of which landed him in juvie. Nate has served his time and upon his release is surprised to find his Uncle Mick has come to pick him up. They don’t know each other, Nate’s mum has asked her brother to take him in. Mick doesn’t seem too pleased with the idea and Nate hates to think he is a burden.
Jasmine Burton
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Promise me happy is a touching read. It tells the story of Nate, a boy who has just been released from prison, who is ready to turn over a new leaf. We follow him as he meets new friends and learns who he truly is. Promise me happy has a lovely message of remaining positive amidst hardship and what it really means to live.
Sharlene Evans
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know what to write. So many unexpected emotions. I kinda want to be a High School TL so that I can share this amazing story with the English department and add it to a must read list on display as students walk into the library. It’s so important for kids, especially teens, to feel hope and trust in themselves. I loved listening to the heart of Nate as he grew into the him that was hidden behind grief for too long. So many important messages of hope, strength and courage to be who we wan ...more
Liz Derouet
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Newton never disappoints, loved this book. Review written and scheduled on my blog.
Fatima (drinkbooks)
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-i-own
This isn’t a bad book, and the plot isn’t problematic or anything like that. It just wasn’t really for me. It didn’t grip me and make me want to read into the night. It was an easy read, and very quick, and the story was breezy. It had the right atmosphere for a book set in a beachside town, away from the city, where life is slow and calm. I liked that. And the characters were likeable, and garnered my sympathy. I liked Henry the most. It just didn’t change my life, you know? A bit average.

Authenticity, integrity and humour are the hallmarks of Newton’s novels and these qualities are on full display in Promise Me Happy. On being released from juvenile detention, teenager Nate goes to live with a distant relative (Uncle Mick) in the small coastal town of Oyster Bay. They have a very rough start and Nate is still grieving for his mother who died (was a victim of domestic violence by his father - but we never actually find out how she dies and his father is not in prison).

Shaking off
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jodie- Readthewriteact
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was sent to me by the publisher for my honest review.

Well this gave me a swift emotional kick that was completely unexpected. Honestly I am cruising along reading this wonderful uplifting story about second chances then bam, there's your heart on the floor Jodie. How did that happen? How did that happen?

This book is equal parts feel-good and sad. I waited a while after reading this book to see if my feeling resolved and they didn't. I think it is just one of those books that was enjoya
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a silly choice to finish right before work! 4.5 stars
I loved how easy the flow of this book was whilst still being intricate with the development of each story line. it was so beautiful put together i devoured it in one morning. Usually i am not a fan of instant love situations but given the development of the characters and the twists it seemed to fit with this story. I loved however that the romance was not the key driver within the plot.
so many positives. this broke me =)
Linda Weeks
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loved this book. It's what YA should be. Filled with characters you can relate to, dealing with subjects that may be hard to experience in real life, but realistic in the approach. Funny but sad, too, so grab some tissues near the end.

"Nate wonders what really makes people who they are. Is it determined at birth, or is it a result of how you are raised? Either way, things are not looking good for him...." See the rest of review here:

Robert Newton has a wonderful writing style and one of the things I most appreciate is that he doesn't get carried away. Promise Me Happy has a lot of elements to it, but none of them ever begin to feel overwhelming or drawn-out. The characters are rich, vibrant and absolutely engaging. This book is absolutely beautiful and I will be recommending it often!
Kate Atkinson
Mar 29, 2020 rated it liked it
CBCA Noteable Older Readers 2020
Robert Newton is one of my favourite home grown authors for children/YA. This coming of age starring a moody teenage boy just out of jail, and a mysteriously edgy teenage girl with a big secret, was a solid read but didn't quite capture the magic of human interaction for me.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was so good. Loved the characters so much. Henry was just adorable. And really great how the love story didn't do the 'boy saves girl' thing. Gem was headstrong and sure about what she wanted. Feels galore.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another fabulous read by Robert Newton. He writes with sensitivity & a laconic humour that has you laughing out loud and then crying on the next page. A touching story for young adults (& old adults!). Highly recommended. ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book I want to read it again in the near future, the author had a lot of thoughts for this and enjoyed every moment, I really thought I was apart of the book, or that the book was with me in the real world. great books.
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is another gem from Rob Newton. An emotional read and like Robert’s other books, wonderfully difficult to put down.
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful bitter-sweet young adult novel. A story of second chances, love and illness. Highly recommended.
Dutchy Holland
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
once again have not disappointed another good read kids loved it
Danielle Maree
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cbca-2020
Loved this love story. Wasn't sure what to expect but I fell in love with Nate and Gem almost immediately. What a beautiful ending to a beautiful story
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lovely story! I enjoyed it right throughout, but the ending really got me. I love the tie-in references to The Old Man and the Sea.
Michele Turner
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
loved this book, needed tissues!
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen
A beautiful teen love story! Made me cry!
Darren Seymour
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really good read, couldn’t put it down. Recommend it to anyone.
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
i always enjoy Robert Newton and this is no exception. Love the back to basics, be happy with what you have type of approach. Very down to earth novel, happy and sad.
Meredith Yeo
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book. Well worth the read
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I want to be happy, can you make me happy? If not leave me alone.
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Robert Newton works as a full-time firefighter with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. His first novel, My Name is Will Thompson, was published in 2001. Since then he has written four other novels for young people, including Runner, which was published by Penguin in 2005. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and three daughters.

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