Review: Some Kind of Happiness

Claire Legrand - Some Kind of Happiness
Expected publication: May 17, 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: Middle Grade, Magical Realism, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 374
Find on: Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads
Rating: 4/5


• Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
• Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
• Never having met said grandparents.
• Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)

Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real--and holds more mysteries than she'd ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.

With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.

Reality and fantasy collide in this powerful, heartfelt novel about family, depression, and the power of imagination.

I cried immensely over this.

One of my greatest fears is being in the next room, unknowingly, while my child is massively depressed. This is basically that book.

Finley Hart, a blonde eleven-year old with an active imagination, has never met her father's side of the family. The Harts. So when her parents hint at their upcoming divorce, and thus drop her off at her grandparents' house alone without much to grasp onto. Finley is surrounded by complete strangers. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. While her "blue days" tend to hit unexpectedly and the hardest. She also carries around a notebook, which she fills with lists and fairytales.

In the company of her cousins, they explore the woods beyond the house. The Everwood. As children do, they play pirates and Finley deigns herself the queen. Eventually, they cross the Bailey boys, who live across the forest, and whom their family have fiercely warned them against. The Baileys boys, however, are enormously kind. But as Finley spends more time with them, she upends darker secrets about the Harts.

Okay, so here's my problem. I always hate in these stories like this, if one family member does something horrific, the whole family is off-limits. The Baileys' father drinks occasionally, but that's mostly it.

Also, Finley is looked at as a freak because she carries around a notebook and invents fairytales. Honestly, it's something they should be praising. If your daughter/granddaughter/niece is a talented storyteller, that's fantastic. She might turn out to be a fantastic writer one day, and they were treating it like an illness.

I thought Finley's father was interesting. But in general, I wasn't crazy about Finley's parents. Her mother barely called her. She was so whiny, but I so loved Avery. She was a Beatles fan! A painter! I found it interesting, especially as a teenager, she had no problem staying at her grandparents' house willingly, and was so open toward her littler cousins. 

I was half-bummed by the ending. Finley should've stayed with her father, instead. I think they were closer, anyway. I can't say too much without supreme spoilers, but I was letdown, somehow. But without a doubt, this is a phenomenal, realistic, gut-wrenching depiction of mental illness in a child and it's not worth missing.


  1. OH I was so convinced that this was more like a fantasy novel for some reason! But I guess it really is fiction. I'm glad to see that you ended up liking this though, I'm not sure if I will be able to get a chance to read it, but if I do see it, I'll definitely check it out!

    Awesome review Peach! I still could've sworn this was fantasy or at least magical realism. Maybe I just thought wrong!

    1. It's happened to me before, too! No worries! It's SORTA/kinda magical realism. I feel like I should've included that as a genre as well. The MC is pretty imaginative, but it really is definitely worth the read. It's surprisingly heart-wrenching! I hope you're able to check it out!


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