Beth's Reviews > Some Kind of Happiness

Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand
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it was amazing
bookshelves: reviewed

Wow. I finally have a book to get behind for this year's Newbery, and (considering Navigating Early) maybe even for this year's Printz. This is fantastic.

I've got two overarching reactions to this. The first is that this is throwback children's lit: it's a what-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation book. (That we have Enright and Lai and DeCamillo and now Legrand is testament to how much there is to be mined in these stories; this certainly isn't a denigration.) This is a family story, and it's warm and welcoming and loyal - and secretive and complicated. There are new friendships to be made and a wood to explore and make believe games to play. There are people more sincere than others, and people more open than others, and kids who are unique and simultaneously recognizable. (Side note: there are also a lot of artists.)

The vocabulary means that Finley reads as older than eleven, which made me think of the Printz first; I was pretty surprised to realize that this is shelved as J FIC - not because of any content, this book is great for juvenile readers - but because of the language, and frankly, because of the length. This might be three times the length of Raymie Nightingale.

The second reaction, almost inseparable from the story, is - to my mind, anyway - the inevitable comparison to We Were Liars. Massive spoilers: (view spoiler)

Part of me does wonder, cynically, if that makes this novel derivative. But it's so much better done that I don't care. This isn't just good stuff. It's the stuff librarians' dreams are made on. I'm almost upset this wasn't around when I was a kid.

And I'd like a YA novel about Avery now.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 16, 2016 – Shelved
May 16, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
November 5, 2016 – Shelved as: reviewed

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)

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Beth NEWBERY 2016


(maybe the best rec you've ever given me, and that's saying something)

Katie <333

Beth Wait, you have to tell me what you think re: this and We Were Liars!

Katie It didn't occur to me, but I can see it! We were Liars just got too bogged down in all the general awfulness for me.

Beth Saaaaame. But the parallels just hit me over the head at one point, and then (view spoiler)


Brandy Painter The comparison to We Were Liars did not even occur to me because that was so awful and this was done so well.

Avery was my favorite secondary character and a YA book with her would be great but I was unimpressed with Legrand's one attempt at YA thus far.

This is my dream for the Newbery but no one is talking about it much. :(


I was so surprised when I checked the copyright info and realized it was published this year, because I didn't see any buzz for it, and expected to! Alright, we need to start talking this up. In the next more general Heavy Medal post, I need to bring it up. (I'm convinced some committee members read Heavy Medal.)

I'm also hoping that the committee reads more widely than the internet, and I can't imagine how this book wouldn't stand out, even if you consider this year to be a crowded field. (Do you? I don't.)

Katie Write it in for the GoodReads choice awards, if you haven't!

Brandy Painter I did, Katie!!!

The committee reads widely. They read hundreds of books. The 2018 committee has already started reading. That being said, starred reviews are often an indicator of what will be honored. I don't think it's a strong year. Of the books they've discussed on HM, I've only liked the Jason Reynolds books and the new Grace Lin. (I think Some Kind of Happiness is stronger than all of them.) I still haven't read Raymie Nightingale but I'm not as ensnared of DiCamillo as everyone else.

message 12: by Beth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth Some Kind of Happiness IS stronger than Ghost, which is still great - and it's definitely better than Raymie Nightingale, imo.

Brandy Painter And that was supposed to say enamored not ensnared. I need to not respond to comments on my phone.

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