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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Review: Reasons to Be Happy by Katrina Kittle

This book just encouraged me to make a list of my own. Not because I need to, but because I want to know and appreciate all the things I have that makes me happy and grateful to just be here, alive and well.

Title: Reasons to Be Happy by Katrina Kittle
Pages: 224
Release Date: October 1st 2011
Published by: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Source: Publisher (Thank you, Olivia and Kat!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Summary (from Goodreads):

Hannah's parents are glamorous Hollywood royalty, and sometimes she feels like the ugly duckling in a family of swans. After her mother's tragic death, Hannah's grief is compounded by her desperate need to live up to her mother's image. She tries to control her weight through Bulimia, and her devastated father is too distracted to notice. The secret of her eating disorder weighs heavily on Hannah, but the new eighth grade Beverly Hills clique she's befriended only reinforces her desire to be beautiful. The only one who seems to notice, or care, that something is wrong is Jasper, the quirky mistfit.

Why do people strive to be perfect? It's part of human nature to want what they can't get, and Hannah is like that. All she wanted was to be a part of something, and she ended up facing a terrible nightmare instead. Being the only child of beautiful celebrities pressures Hannah more than anything. But she's neither perfect nor beautiful, still everyone expects her to be someone, and that want, combined with grief, makes Hannah's life spinning out of control. She became bulimic, desperate to lose weight, to feel good, to feel beautiful. She needs help, her father needs help, but is Hannah strong enough to get back on her feet again?

It pains me to read about Hannah. She was supposed to be a cheerful 8th grader, bright and full of dreams. She even had this little notebook where she lists all the reasons she has to be happy, and yet that wasn't enough to get her through the moment her mother died. I wanted to say that there is no one to be blamed but Hannah herself, but her father became alcoholic instead of supporting her through a rough time, and if only Hannah feels the least bit confident about herself then she wouldn't have entered such a toxic friendship with her so called friends in school. Being bulimic is the only way for her to cope with all the emotional stress she was going through.

With her mother gone, her Aunt Izzy became the shining light in her life. Izzy was anorexic and she almost killed herself with it. More than anyone, Izzy knows what it feels like for Hannah. Hannah stayed with Izzy in Ghana and the experience changed her, and with all the things she lacked, she slowly realized how much she should be thankful and appreciate what she has, even herself, instead of destroying it. It was a wonder how different you see yourself through other people's eyes. Jasper liked Hannah for who she is, even at her worst moments, and  Modesta, Philomel and the rest of Tafi Atome loved her for being the creative, passionate American teenager that she is. Nothing fake, nothing forced, just plain appreciation and love coming from them, and that's what made Hannah heal. I guess the saying "all you need is love" is true. Love and understanding are two powerful things that can create miracles and change lives. And in Hannah's case, loving herself was the key. She was bent on trying to create a "perfect" Hannah that she almost lost the real her.

Hannah's struggles felt like my own, and I didn't need to experience it in order to feel the emotions laced in every word Katrina writes. It's a story about a struggle to overcome a lot of things. Fear, bulimia, a future without her mother and a whole lot of things that aren't entirely happy, but I had to read slowly to savor the story word for word. Reasons to Be Happy stirred up a lot of emotions inside of me. I was a bit teary eyed in the end.

Reading Reasons To Be Happy is a reason to be happy in itself. Katrina Kittle's book shows a teenage girl's struggle against self-image, bulimia, but more importantly, it celebrates life and all the little things that makes us happy. A valuable lesson this book teaches: Learn to love yourself. Powerful, emotional, with characters that will touch us and endear them to us in a lot of ways, Reasons To Be Happy is worth a read.

Content (plot, story flow, character):

Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!

Book Cover:
Simple, but colorful. And beautiful.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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