“Get Happy” Mary Amato

Rated 3 stars *** ARC. ebook. To be published October 28, 2014. Egmont. (Includes song lyrics and chords).

GetHappySixteen-year-old Minerva lives with her mom since her deadbeat father abandoned them when she was just 2 years old. Over the years, she’s written songs and imagined actually playing a ukulele to hash out her feelings. When she receives a seahorse necklace from her absent father, confusion, hope and anger mingle within her. After deciding to check him out online, she discovers he is now living in the area but has a new wife and stepdaughter.

To mask feelings for the father she never knew, Min writes song after song while deciding to get a job with her best friend Finnegan to buy her own ukulele so she could adequately perform these songs. Together with Cassie and Hayes, two other teens, they audition for the Get Happy agency, and are all hired to entertain at children’s parties. Min is cast as a mermaid, Fin as a pirate, Hayes as a cowboy and Cassie as a princess. Of course, only beautiful Cassie manages to be the perfect princess while readers are entertained with humorous anecdotes of Min, Finn’s and Hayes’ costumed lives.

Despite her growing friendship with Hayes, and dislike for Cassie the always-perfect princess, Min can’t stay away from thoughts of her father. Unfortunately she soon finds out her mother has been hiding a big secret from her all her life, which could have meant the difference between being a normal teen, and being one who always wondered why daddy didn’t love her.

“Get Happy” is the story of a young girl trying her best to get happy through music, and with her best friend by her side. Readers, especially those in single parent households, will relate to her attempt to find happiness.

Recommended for ages 12-16.

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