"Reasons to be Happy" Review

"Reasons to be Happy"
 by Katrina Kittle

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: Oct 1, 2011 
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  

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.

My Review:

I usually consider it a spoiler to reveal too much more than what the back cover of a book delivers, but this book is about bulimia. I thought I knew what bulimia was before I read this book, but I realize now I barely knew anything. The author paints a gruesome look at all of the dirty, embarrassing details of the eating disorder, without sugar coating anything. She creates an honest, and still very compassionate, view of a young girl with bulimia.

I think this book could be really helpful if you know someone with this eating disorder. It really helps to understand what the disease is and what the person is going through. 

Hannah's relationship with her dad is so honest, especially since he is going through a disease that has many similar qualities. In the end when you can tell he finally understands, it is really bittersweet. 

When Hannah goes to Ghana with her aunt, it really puts her decisions into perspective for both Hannah and the reader. I thought this was a really interesting perspective on the disease.

Jasper was too adorable as a love interest. He was much more mature and accepting than most 8th grade boys in my opinion (and probably more mature than most adults for that matter). Sometimes, I felt like Hannah was a little older than 8th grade as well. The book felt more mature than a middle grade book, so I think I would classify it as YA instead of MG.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 3/5
Writing: 4/5

Bottom Line: There's so much to mention about this book and not enough space. But overall, it is an honest, compassionate look at the effects of bulimia.


  1. I like that it paints a real picture, even MG books need that, even if it felt more like YA

  2. Great review! Based on the cover, I never would have guessed it's about an eating disorder. Thanks for that tidbit.

  3. Sounds like the author did a fantastic job with a tough subject. Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. I enjoyed your review. Bulimia is a tough topic to write about, I bet. I like books that can increase awareness and understanding like this.

  5. I love the font of the cover. Though I've never heard of this one before... I'm glad you enjoyed it, bulimia is a hard topic to write about!

  6. This is such an amazing review. I have had issues with eating - I've never gone 'that' far, but I wasn't always very healthy about my choices. So I can understand how a character might sound older once it has gone through stuff like this.

    That being said, I'm glad you say it's a compassionate book. I think sometimes authors forget about that trying to just paint a picture.

    I'm definitely going to add this one to my tbr pile.

  7. Great Review!!! Its always good to read books that enlighten us on issues that are really happening all around us!!!

  8. I love your review. It sounds like a book that should be in every library.

  9. I hadn't heard about this book before but it does sound really interesting. I love that it tackles such a serious issue; maybe it will spread some awareness and, like you said, help other people who are going through the same thing! Thanks for stopping by my blog, and I'm already a follower!

  10. I haven't read anything by Katrina Kittle yet though she is an Ohio author. I have heard good things about The Kindness of Strangers. I didn't realize she had a YA book too. I am glad you liked this one. The topic is important and it sounds like it has much more to offer than the "after school special" books on eating disorders that used to be so popular when I was a teen. Great review!

  11. I just bought this book! I love the whole list aspect of it. It makes me want to create a list myself... I enjoy books about serious issues. I think it helps everyone gain perspective whether it's something you're personally dealing with or if someone you love deals with it. Great review!

  12. Oh yay, it sounds so good. I need to put it on my wishlist! I'm more a fan of YA than MG, so it's good to hear that it feels more mature.


Thanks so much for your lovely comments!