Friday, August 12, 2011

Happyface by Stephen Emond

Title: Happyface

Author: Stephen Emond
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Acquired: Received free for an honest review
Age Group: Young Adult

Grade: 80% or B-
Buy It: Amazon

Cute girls dig him. He has his own fan club

But he wasn't always this awesome. He used to be Mr. Comic Book, a resident of Lonelyland. So when he swtiched schools, he slapped on a grin and went from big nerd to big shot.

Meet Happyface. This is his journal.

This unique combination of text and fully integrated art follows the journey of a dorky, quiet, artsy kid as he reinvents himself after moving to a new town, where he's nicknamed Happyface. Peek in his journal and see the world through his hilariously self-deprecating eyes as he learns to shed his comic-book-loving, computer-game playing ways. Join him as he makes new friends, tries to hide from his messy past, forgives the people who have hurt him most, and ultimately learns to face the world with a genuine smile.

My Thoughts::
When I first started reading this book, I had it in my head that it was middle grade. So I was almost 50 pages in before in struck me that the main character is in high school, and high schoolers can doodle and draw too. After I realized this the rest of the book seemed to fly by.

Happyface was a light novel on the surface, but the more you thought about it, the more meaning was conveyed. Even though he took the idea drastically far, we all put on a happyface when that isn't we are truly feeling. And it is true, people prefer to be around happy people, so that's what we try to be.

I was a bit taken by surprise by Happyface's character. I expected him to be extremely nerdy. This is where you can see the author isn't the same generation that I am. It isn't nerdy to draw, to play video games until early in the morning, or to spend time alone. Having only a few close friends is also okay. You don't need a big group. I expected him to be hardcore introverted and nerdy, not just a little weird, so the changes he made in himself didn't seem reasonable or necessary until we learn something later on.

I love when books are written like this one. When authors withold information from the readers, and by doing this, surprises them later when it is revealed. When you finally learn something, your whole perspective of the story changes. The reasons behind each of Happyface's actions are more clear, and you understand him better.

The drawings in the book were very funny and actually helped the story be told. Some things are just better explained through pictures than words. They didn't interrupt the books flow, which I've encountered before.

Overall I thought Happyface was a cute read that didn't exactly meet my expectation, but still pleased me. I would recommend this book to those who read better with some extra media thrown in, or just like the typical nerdy boy trying to make friends story.

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