22 June 2015

Book Review: Never Trust a Happy Song, Natalie Bina

Never Trust a Happy Song

Title: Never Trust a Happy Song
Author: Natalie Bina
Published: 14/03/15, Smashwords Edition
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviews
Format: Ebook

Rating: 4/5
"When Cassidy Diamond is admitted to a prestigious summer program at Stanford University, she looks forward to being surrounded by people just like her: smart, studious, and antisocial. But when Cassidy is assigned to stay with the Harper family and meets their vivacious daughter Grace, the two girls clash at first sight. Cassidy is determined to not let Grace distract her from her studies, whilst Grace wants to show Cassidy that maybe her grades aren't all she has going for her, and that life might be about more than building the perfect resume."

Never Trust a Happy Song is a nice YA contemporary story about two girls, with completely different problems in life, that are trying to find their place. Honestly, I preferred the second half of the story to the first half and it brought my review up from a 2 to a 4.

Although Cassidy's life is pretty unique and mind-boggling, Never Trust a Happy Song deals with a lot of common issues related to teenagers and growing up, including bullying and both physical and mental health. This allows not only teenagers but anyone to relate to the story. I also found the title "Never Trust a Happy Song" to be tragically perfect for the story, particularly in relation to mental health.

Never Trust a Happy Song is told via the point-of-view of Cassidy. This gives an insight into how Cassidy deals with situations, particularly social situations, and tries to use logic to explain everything. The basic storyline is very predictable - two girls meet, one doesn't like the other but they have to spend the summer living together and by the end they're pretty close. I also had an inkling that there was something up with Grace particularly when she was faced with the "Mean Girls" but I wasn't sure what until it was revealed. The plot wraps up quite nicely however I wish there was some sort of face-to-face confrontation between Cassidy and her mum.

My favourite character was Grace. She is such a quirky and fun character. Grace is all about living life to the full and doesn't understand why Cassidy refuses to let herself have fun. In a way, Grace reminds me of Luna Lovegood in that they are both considered different and they tend to say some quite philosophical things. I don't understand how anyone could possibly be mean to someone as lovely and sweet as Grace and I hate that she puts herself down and calls herself "dumb". She just knows different things.

To begin with, I didn't like Cassidy at all. In fact, I hated her so much I thought about DNFing. The Harpers opened up their home to her and let her into their lives and she was just so rude and ungrateful towards them. The Harpers did nothing but try to make her feel welcome and she just dismissed them as they weren't as intelligent as her. The least she could have down was participate with them a bit. However, as the book went on I did find myself liking Cassidy more and more. She slowly opened up more, especially to Grace, and started participating in activities that she wouldn't normally. In a way, she stepped out of her comfort zone and I really liked that. Cassidy also began to stand up more for what she wanted, especially when it came to facing her mum.

Cassidy's mum is absolutely awful. I hated her! To put it in perspective, on a scale from one to Umbridge, I'd say she was pretty damn close to Umbridge. She had so little regard for her own daughter's health and didn't seem to care that fainting was a regular occurrence. She practically tells Cassidy to work harder when she finds out her daughter is stressed. She just came across so selfish and I couldn't help but think that she had ulterior motives when it came to Cassidy having the "perfect resume".

Never Trust a Happy Song is a book that I would definitely recommend, particularly to fans of YA contemporary fiction. The story deals with such important issues that I feel that it is definitely something that teenagers should read. I look forward to finding more books by Natalie Bina.

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