SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS for Marvelous Middle Grade EXTRA

First up… The winner of THE BLOOD GUARD TRILOGY is Amanda K. Thompson. Amanda is a writer and book reviewer. You can find more on her blog, TO READ OR NOT TO READ? Congratulations, Amanda.


I am officially declaring 2016 in MG books as The Year of the Tween Girl in Crisis. Part of that declaration comes about because I just read four of these in a row before I righted myself. I keep expecting every 11 or 12 year old girl I pass to break into tears. But I digress…

Finley Hart has an imagination leading her to secretly write about a mythical kingdom she 13260524creates while her own world seems to be crumbling. Her parents, on the verge of separation or divorce, dump Finley off at Grandma’s house for the summer so they can figure out what they want to do. Sounds logical enough except the dad has not talked to his mother in years and Finley has never met her.  There are also cousins and aunts she must get to know while there.

Her fantasy story in her head is woven into the real one she is experiencing. There’s a mystery of a long ago fire with many clues leading me fairly early to a correct guess as to why it happened. There’s also Grandma who keeps a lot of secrets while putting forth an aura that everything is just fine.

The book is a tad long for MG fiction and adults may enjoy this more than children. Thank goodness for the secondary kid characters. They help make the story one you want to finish. Excuse me while I find a few silly, humorous books to help me return to the fun side of MG.


FULL PLOT (From Claire Legrand’s Web Site)


• Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
• Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
• Never having met said grandparents.
• Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)

Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real–and holds more mysteries than she’d ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.

With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.


  1. Appearances and whispers about the past can lead you to wrong conclusions about others. A great lesson as the three Bailey boys don’t look like anyone you’d want to get to know.
  2. Keeping on that tangent–Jack Bailey is a pure delight. He gives Finley confidence and heart. It’s a boy you’d want in your own neighborhood.
  3. Despite her unusual way of dealing with everything, Grandma reminded me of my own grandmother–hiding personal struggles to keep the family happy. You can understand the reasoning of Grandma Hart after reading this story.
  4. If you are dealing with anxiety, depression, and anxiety attacks then this is the book to show how others deal with the same issues.
  5. The real forest was an interesting and fun escape for all the kids. It was their Everwood from Finley’s stories.


I feel small and huge and the same time, like I could either shrink into a tiny, happy ball or balloon up until I burst into pieces. I sit straight and still in my seat, but my insides are a wild party

ABOUT Claire Legrand (from Claire’s Web Site)

Claire Legrand used to be a musician until she realized she couldn’t stop thinking about the stories in her head. Now she is a writer and former librarian living in central New Jersey (although her heart will always live in her home state of Texas).


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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5 Responses to SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS for Marvelous Middle Grade EXTRA

  1. Andrea Mack says:

    I think some kids will easily relate to this book, but it’s probably not for everyone. I liked it!

  2. Well, you started my day with a big laugh. “I keep expecting every 11 or 12 year old girl I pass to break into tears.” Thanks for that. I really would like to read this book. I hope I can find time. I’m putting it on my TBR list, my staggering TBR list. Thanks for the post and the laugh.

  3. Violet Tiger says:

    I love this book. Thanks for spreading the word!

  4. I wrote about this book as part of my MMGM post today. I agree it doesn’t have broad kid appeal, but I absolutely loved it.

  5. msyingling says:

    Grabenstein’s Wonderland Motel series. Grab them now. They are making me very happy. This one was incredibly bleak! We’ve got to stop having so many people die in MG fiction. ARgh.

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