Happyface by Stephen Emond

He’s just a regular dude. Sure, his parents fight sometimes, and his older brother is a pain in the ass. And yes, occasionally he’s lonely and his best friend and secret crush Chloe seems to have no idea how he really feels about her. But for the most part, his life is just fine. After all, he’s “got my art and my journal to write in, and I’ve got Ol’ Trusty, the Internet to keep me company. If the apocalypse strikes tomorrow, that’s still a pretty good survival kit.” Then life comes to a screeching halt (for reasons our narrator slowly reveals that I won’t be spoiler-y and tell here) and our dude finds himself starting over at a new school, with a new crush and a new crowd to navigate. What happened to Chloe? What’s up with his parents? And where has his big bro gone? Our hero isn’t telling—yet. All we know is that he’s in so much pain he’s turned himself into Happyface—an alter-ego that always smiles and has sworn to never be hurt again. But how long can Happyface hold that grin before his past comes crashing down on him?

Some of you will find Happyface a little TOO typical. He’s not fighting vampires or turning into a werewolf, he’s not wasting away from a terminal disease or being secretly abused by his parents. He’s just living and recording the story of his (somewhat) normal life in words, drawings and comic strips the year after something terrible happens. Something terrible enough to make him want to start his life over as someone else. Someone who’s happy. Someone who’s popular. Someone who knows all the answers. For some of you, this story will be too close to your own experiences, and you’d rather go to a different head space when you read. But for those of you who read to know you’re not alone, or who always hang around the art room after school and put all your most secret thoughts in your sketchpads, this personal and incredibly honest story is YOURS.

10 thoughts on “Happyface by Stephen Emond

  1. Hi,
    I’ve enjoyed your site and sharing it with my students here in Bulgaria. They’ve started up their own book review blog and have now reviewed dozens of their favorite works. We’d love to be included as a link on your page if you’d be interested in featuring the words of forty teenage readers. Our site is acsreads.blogspot.com.
    Betsy Potash

  2. You had me at “typical.” It’s nice to see something that’s not overloaded with all the supernatural elements. Granted, some of those are great reads, but now and then I like a change of pace, so I will very much be picking this one up.
    And I’m definitely one of those artsy types, so you reeled me right in.

  3. Hi Jill,

    yes, it seems every other title these days is a supernatural romance. I really liked this return to realism:)

  4. Yes. I just saw this book at BAM and I wanted to take it home. Its cover stood out first of all (bright yellow with two black dots and a black crescent smile stands out among the dark brooding covers about vampires and gossiping girls). Reading a little bit into the book and reading the back synopsis, I was interested in finding out what happens with the kid. He seems like a decent, if not incredibly nervous kid (at least around Chloe). It may seem juvenile for a junior in college, but it would be a nice quick break from cramming for finals and finishing up papers. It may seem curious that I’m posting this on a somewhat random site, but don’t you worry, this is for two class projects that happen to intersect at the moment.
    Thanks for the synopsis and keep up the good work!

  5. hi! i just wanted to say that i read this book before i read this site and i think it was amazing. It is good for highschoolers going through change. it gives them something to relate to. Im really glad i read it. thank you for this site

    thanks again

  6. Does anyone know where the book takes place exactly? Or is it just a highschool somewhere in the world?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *