i just finished reading Reasons to be Happy by Katrina Kittle for a Sourcebooks blog tour.
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.
Okay, a little random side note. I read this whole book thinking about how this was a new-to-me author. And when I was done, I was thinking what an amazing book this was. Then I was reading the author part of the book and realized that Katrina Kittle also wrote The Kindness of Strangers. I was thinking that I remembered enjoying the book and so I tried to find my review on the blog, but I read it before I started this blog, so I went to goodreads and realized that I gave that book 5 stars! That is a high, high compliment from me. I almost never give 5 stars! So just realize how amazing Katrina Kittle is!
Okay, on to the review. First off, this book should mandatory for every single junior high student (or girl at least) to read in some health class. Bulimia is such an important topic and this book covers it in a way that is so very detailed yet not preachy at all. I feel like on one hand, it shows the pros (no, not pros, there are no pros, but I can't think of another word) of an eating disorder...it doesn't just gloss over it like teens will never have a problem and bulimia is so gross..yadda yadda. I think that if a teen already has an eating disorder, he/she would be able to identify with Hannah and this book would help a teen overcome the disorder. Yet at the same time, I think that it shows how horrific bulimia is and that hopefully teens who don't already have an eating disorder would realize that beauty is deeper than the outside of a person and that there are other ways to overcome stressful/upsetting times.
That being said, I loved Hannah. She was just such a real teenager. You could feel her pain and her want to be happy. And the journey she took was such an important one. Both in the literal sense, of going to Ghana, and of the metaphorical sense, of trying to overcome her eating disorder. And Aunt Izzy. Everyone needs an adult in their life like her. Someone who's not critical, is there for you and wants to help.
And I loved reading the lists on things to be happy about. I found myself saying "yup" or "that makes me happy too" too most of them! So here's a brief look at my happy list:
1) Cuddling up on the couch with my hubby and puppy
2) Looking at my wedding photos
3)Going out with the girls
4)Cheering on the Gators at the Swamp
5) Getting a compliment from a stranger
I just can't express how much I enjoyed this book. It was such a tough topic but the author did such a great job with it!
I gave this book a rating of 4.5/5.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 97
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 77
2011 Debut Author Challenge: 26
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 77
2011 YA Contemporary Challenge: 17
*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free from Sourcebooks for an honest review.