REASONS TO BE HAPPY
New York : Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2011
is an adventurous spirit who delights in making lists of reasons to be
happy from "sand under your bare feet" to "getting yourself all freaked
out after a scary movie". When her parents who are both actors become
movie stars the family moves to LA. The day before school starts Hannah
makes a little list of all the great adventures she is going to seek out
that first day, but as soon as she enters the building she is met by one
of the stylish clicky B-Squad. They want to own the friendship of the new
girl whose father is a hot star. Hannah's slightly plump, easygoing presence
doesn't make the grade. Increasingly her days are about hiding who she
is, and fitting the B-Squad expectations.
Meanwhile at home her beautiful mother has been diagnosed with cancer, and Hannah feels she must not worry her mother with her own problems. She becomes overwhelmed by it all, and one day she gets so tense she throws up; but afterwords she feels really good. Ahhh, she's discovered a secret remedy! At first everyone thinks her weight loss looks good, but her seacret remedy is also compulsive. Soon there are side effects which she must also hide. Her mother is too sick, and her father too distracted with grief and work to see what is happening to their daughter.
Then her aunt comes to visit. She was once bulimic, and she sees it all. She is a documentary filmmaker and is heading out to film the plight of orphans in Africa. She convinces Hannah's father to let her bring Hannah with her. There, Hannah reawakens as she befriends a girl her age who is struggling with her own over-whelming problems, and yet brings Hannah a fresh offering of friendship and self worth. It is not a fix, but it is a strong start, and a reaffirmation of who she really is. And that gives Hannah the will to fight back. (NH Isinglass Teen Award nominee, 2013)
Bulimia -- Fiction.
Grief -- Fiction.
Schools -- Fiction.
Popularity -- Fiction.
Self-acceptance -- Fiction.
Beauty, Personal -- Fiction.
Ghana -- Fiction.