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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand

AR Level: This book was recently published and does not yet have an AR designation
AR Points:
Lexile Level: 580
Grade Level: 3rd-7th
Pages: 374

With the passing of Hurricane Mathew, I was able to read a number of books to stifle my boredom during power outages. A while back I had picked up a few books from the new release section for intermediate/middle grade readers, which brought me to this beautiful book, Something Like Happiness by Claire Legrand.

In this deeply emotional novel, we follow along with Finely, a young girl that has been sent to live at her grandparents sprawling family home on the edge of a dark and mysterious forest. Struggling with inner issues too large for her to understand, Finely retreats to a fictional inner world that begins to expand under the growing instability of her parent's crumbling relationship.
What really hooked me as a reader and kept me turning pages, was the mystery that slowly begins to surface within the novel. It becomes clear that her estranged extended family has a number of secrets that they keep locked away, which throws our heroine into a dizzying spiral of confusion and self doubt. The less she understands, the more she tears herself down and blames herself for her family's actions.

I would recommend this book to sensitive and emotionally intelligent middle grade readers that may, themselves be encountering issues similar to Finely's. While her adventure is a page turner, this book also carries a message of acceptance, not just of one's family, but of one's self as well. This book contains a powerful message for young readers, who too often these days face issues that may be beyond their comprehension, such as divorce, mental health, and transitioning from childlike escapism to a more mature understanding and acceptance of the world. This is an excellent text to instill empathy in students and to help break down the stigma against mental health issues.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely. The characters were well developed and the mystery was shocking enough to make you gasp, but not too outrageous as to break down the believability of it. Reading about the kids and their adventures in the forest reminded me so much of my own youth doing the same, that this book had me feeling personally invested from fairly early on.
For more information on this book, please visit the author's (Claire Legrand) website at the link below.

Some Kind of Happiness

For content related questions, I recommend visiting Common Sense Media at:

Common Sense Media: Some Kind of Happiness