Author: Stephen Emond
Average Rating: 3.74/5.0
Personal Rating: 3.5/5.0
Amount of Pages: 320
Finished Reading: May
According to Goodreads:
Enter Happyface's journal and get a peek into the life of a shy, artistic boy who decides to reinvent himself as a happy-go-lucky guy after he moves to a new town. 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 past, and ultimately learns to face the world with a genuine smile. With a fresh and funny combination of text and fully integrated art, Happyface is an original storytelling experience.
There are two things that I loved about "Happyface." One is how fast paced the story was. It seemed like I just kept turning the pages without stopping to blink. Second, the information about what happened with Happyface's family and Chloe, the girl he left behind when he moved. Emond delivers this information at a very slow pace, and at times you're wondering what really happened. You're probably thinking I am contradicting myself, because I just said the story was fast paced. The story moved quickly, but the information that I think all the readers of this novel were looking was delivered very slowly to keep us all guessing. I know when clues were starting to be dropped I began to make my own assumptions, but the truth of what really did happen with his parents, his brother, and Chloe caught me off guard. It was like a swift blow to the stomach that took my breath away.
The main character, Happyface, has a sarcastic humor and is very insecure with his status. His older brother is the all American boy who is athletic, gets decent grades, and has many friends. He can do no wrong in the eyes of his parents. Of course, Happyface grows up in his brother's shadow. I noticed early on how Happyface would write a lot about not having any friends, and how he believed he needed to become more popular for Chloe to like him more. He moves to this new school, and he decides that he is going to reinvent himself as person. Happyface develops this theory that if he smiles all the time then more people will want to be around him, because everybody likes being around someone who is always happy. He becomes obsessed with the attention, and thirsts for the popularity that he has gained. He struggles with the fact that if he confronts the truth and just be himself he would be truly happy.
I despised the characters of Misty and Karma. They are sisters, and are friends with Gretchen who is Happyface's new love interest at the new school. When I first met Misty and Karma in the novel, I just felt something off with them. I knew if I met them in reality I wouldn't be able to trust them. Sure enough they stuck their noses into Happyface's past. They would ask him nonchalant questions about certain people or events right in front of everyone. They added a lot to the premise of the story, and were probably the main reason that Happyface had to eventually confront the truth. However, they just irritated me a boatload, and made me cringe whenever they opened their mouths.
Even though I gave this novel a rather low rating, I still encourage all of you out there to read it. This novel is a great example of how many people hide behind "masks" or smiles to run away from the truth. We all have these "masks." I know I have had several. The truth will always be there, and when we confront it we will then be truly happy. We don't have to conform to what society says we need to be in order to make friends. As long as we act like our unique selves, then we can find those true, sincere, and supportive friends that will be there for everything.