Cover Image: Happy and You Know It

Happy and You Know It

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This ARC was provided for review, but in no way affects the following impartial and unbiased review:
•
3*
Pros: This is the equivalent of a Real Housewives season, a full-on reality show-type of story starring rich and young mummies in New York City. Fun, intriguing and captivating narrative. Natural and flowy dialogue. Feminist and showcases modern issues. Focuses on life as a young mum, the new problems, expectations and life-adjustments, as well as problematic marriages and financial woes. A chic-lit story with lots of twists and drama.
.
Cons: Although fun, there's no real depth to it.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed reading this book because of the fact that it felt like a reality television show, but it wasn't an over the moon title for me.  The ending felt super strange, and it seemed disconnected from the rest of the book.  I love the idea of reading books about "perfect" people and the lives they lead.  For me this book read like a Desperate Housewives episode, but the ending was slightly disappointing for me.  I expected more out of it.
Was this review helpful?
A wonderful read. Sharp, funny and so well-observed. Impossible to put down. I would highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
The opening of Happy and You Know It promises a romp in NYC, with a rich looking woman in a fur running wildly down the street, vomit crusted on her person. However, I was just not drawn into this evil mommy group tale.

Reminiscent of Big Little Lies, we have a group of rich women meeting for play dates and an outsider (their playgroup musician who was kicked out of a band that is now super popular and successful). I know there are women who would be psyched to read about the elite and their dirty little secrets, but I just didn't get sucked in by any characters nor the writing itself.
Was this review helpful?
I was laughing and gasping the entirety of this book. It was so much fun, and I know many readers who will love it.
Was this review helpful?
This was delicious! It was like settling in with a glass of wine and my real housewives on Bravo, except this was a book. I devoured this in one day and I wanted more. Drama was rampant with all of the women, even the playgroup’s musician who thinks she is good enough to be one of them, oh, if only… 

Y’all, this was exactly what I needed, it was SO MUCH FUN! Nothing like a group of fictional women losing their minds to help me keep my sanity in these pandemic times. I enjoyed each of the women and their stories, and what they had all gone through, and a few were still going through. 

I cannot say enough good about this one, I highly recommend it. Read it for female friendships, ups and downs, good times and bad, and for an escape that you didn’t know you needed. And obviously, pair this one with wine. (Or whatever drink of choice you prefer!)

Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley for the egalley to review!
Was this review helpful?
Happy & You Know It was dramatic women’s fiction, story of newbie mothers, their playgroup and a playgroup musician who changed everything in their life. It was about motherhood, new moms’ feelings, emotions and mental health, friendship, betrayal, and scam.

Now that I finished this book I really feel great that I wasn’t part of any playgroup or anything that brings loads of competition and make me fret over all milestones. I don’t understand why moms feel they need to push their kids at such young age so that they can do better than other kids or moms! Back to review-

Writing was easy to follow, captivating and emotive. It was multiple third person narrative from Clair, Amara, Whitney and Gwen’s POV. Setting of NYC and houses of rich privileged mothers worked perfectly with the storyline.

It started with epilogue that made me think which mom was running and why and what happened. First few chapters introduced characters and their present life along with the back stories of each characters and how they joined playgroup and met each other. As soon as I started reading book, I knew there was going to be lot of drama. I was curious to find out what will happen in this playgroup and how Clair joining as playgroup musician changed their life and what she did that they might regret hiring her later, and that we don’t know until 60% of the book.

Let’s meet mommies or members of the playgroup- (Amara and Clair were my most favourite characters.)

Amara was not as rich as other mothers, and was struggling with her wailing difficult son, Charlie, who was underweight and was slow to achieve milestones. She felt tired, frustrated, and angry all the time as she was so close to promotion and had to take break from job, because of judging pitiful eyes of other mothers, especially because of Gwen’s endless advices and her perfect daughter. I like her feminist nature, trying to prove the world being black woman in world of men. I felt for her and rooted for her from the beginning. Her worries about not being better mother, missing relaxed and carefree time she had before child, and not having financial independence was realistic.  Her emotional outbreaks and losing control over herself on knowing about the truth was genuine.

Whitney had everything, beautiful baby, handsome husband, money to spend, and was momstgram famous almost like celebrity, but her life was not as perfect as she showed in Instagram. She felt alone and lonely as her husband, Grant, was never there to support, away on business trips more and whenever he was back, they had arguments. He was pompous and arrogant husband who thought he was doing his part, earning money and parenting is Whitney’s job. She had her issues with Grant and I’m not fan of him but that’s no excuse for what she did. I think that was TrueMommy effect but who knows! I might have been okay with it but affair with husband of one of playgroup moms was big No No. I could see how wrong this will go.

Gwen was uptight, rich mom who inherited Brownstone from her parents after they died in accident. Her dad was alcoholic. It had huge impact on her life and biggest reason she chose Christopher as husband as he never drinks. But he had his flaws that Gwen discovered later. She kept showing other mothers how experienced she was and how perfect her daughters are. She was not most likable in group.

Vicki was quiet and dreamy one, lost in her own cocoon with her child who didn’t stay much or involved in conversation. I could relate to her, happy in her own world, not giving f***, just nodding yes or no without arguments and not showing any doubts.

Ellie and Meredith were fun to read. Their inside jokes was funny and I liked their companionship, they fought but also made up. Between two, I like Meredith more than Ellie.

Clair was musician. The band she sang in, Vagabond, kicked her out. We don’t know the reason initially so I was curious to find out what happened. She was wallowing in hurt and humiliation but then her cousin found her job as playgroup musician. Not much but the other option was move back to her parents’ basement in religious town that judged her for supporting her cousin and criticized her cousin for being lesbian. As she started working with glamorous moms, she enjoyed singing for their babies, basked in their praises and also started to know them more. I liked her, she had her flaws, she longed to live better, rich and famous life and she envied mothers for their privileged lives but she was nice.  I didn’t like what she did at Amara’s house but what she discovered was shocking.

I loved the way author explored mom culture and captured emotions of each characters. These moms were constantly trying to be better mother and felt pity for the ones who couldn’t handle their kids, and worst bitched those mothers with others. What I didn’t expect when I started reading the book was so many layers along with the main theme– mental health, rich mothers’ life and their show offs, betrayal, affair, social media influence and its impact in life, race, and wellness program and scam.

Mystery was intriguing. I couldn’t guess who was behind the scam and how moms would find out about the real culprit. I enjoyed the drama at climax when moms found out Whitney’s affair and betrayal. I still couldn’t figure out why Amara was so mad at Clair who only meant well for them and felt for Clair in getting tangled in their mess. When I read about culprit’s motive for scam, I was shocked. How could a woman can do that! All events from climax to end, mothers’ development and epiphany was best part the book. End was just perfect.

Overall, Happy & You Know It was entertaining, dramatic, a little dark and deep, and lovable women’s fiction. I highly recommend this to fan of this genre, drama, and to new mommies.
Was this review helpful?
Claire, who was recently kicked out of her band, is invited to be the musician for Whitney’s upscale play group of six moms.  Playgroup, for these new moms, is an outlet for them, and also a way for Whitney to become a “momstagrammer”, documenting her life and the “perfect” playgroup. Little did Claire know she would come to enjoy her time with the upscale moms, and even become friends.  However, she gets thrown into the middle of some very big drama in the group. A bit of mystery is involved in this story, which adds to the fun.  Even if you aren’t a mom, this book is a page-turner beginning to end.
Was this review helpful?
Okay, this was hilarious. An entertaining combination of rich people problems and kickass female friendships. It does touch on some serious issues like how social media affects our lives with the quest to be Instagram perfect even when that is an impossible task as well as just the impossible standards put on women and especially on mothers to be perfect. But it balances these things with strong friendships and great humor that makes the book a surprisingly fast and enjoyable read. It reminded me in a lot of ways of Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this witty, albeit dark, take on motherhood, the pressures of buying into the unattainable myth of having it all, and the addiction of keeping up with the Joneses. I think fans of Liane Moriarty will absolutely love this one. It is compulsively readable from the prologue to the very end. I mean, seriously: I was hooked from the first page. And throughout the book, as the plot developed, I found myself going back to the prologue, intrigued if my theories about how the story would unfold held up.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend to fans of the genre. I think this was a well-executed story for readers looking for their next Big Little Lies (but this does NOT read like a knock off — totally unique plot and concept!) and hoping to be shocked and appalled by the characters’ decisions and revelations throughout. I loved the multiple perspectives, and the little lines of hindsight peppered throughout the narration. Overall, a great book for those looking for their next binge worthy read with less-than-admirable characters and over the top drama.

CW: infidelity, mention of abortion, mention of suicide, mom-shaming, disordered eating, alcoholism, drug dealing, addiction
Was this review helpful?
After her former band shot to stardom without her, Claire reluctantly agrees to a gig as a playgroup musician for overprivileged infants on New York’s Park Avenue. Claire is surprised to discover that she is smitten with her new employers, a welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy. There is perfect hostess Whitney who is on the brink of social-media stardom and just needs to find a way to keep her perfect life from falling apart. Caustically funny, recent stay-at-home mom Amara who is struggling to embrace her new identity. And old money, veteran mom Gwen who never misses an opportunity to dole out parenting advice. But as Claire grows closer to the cool women who pay her bills, she uncovers secrets and betrayals that no amount of activated charcoal can fix. review: This was one of my Book of the Month selections for June and it wasn’t my favorite. It was a little lackluster and I didn’t find myself enjoying it or relating to any of the characters. This book did peel back the curtain of motherhood and showed the pressures moms feel to do everything perfectly, which I appreciated. The story ended up being much slower than I anticipated and I kept reading hoping it would pick up. It did finally pick up towards the end with a decent twist, but it still didn’t meet my expectations! I was hoping it would be along the lines of When Life Gives You Lululemons! I definitely encourage you to read it and see if you like it though. rating: 3 out of 5 ⭐️
Was this review helpful?
Being perfect is absolutely impossible no matter how much effort one puts in it. Painting picture-perfect, behind which the things are not so perfect, is much easier. There are so many demands imposed on women. On one hand, the pressure and demands are coming from media and society, on the other – women have this a bit self-destructive streak for reaching perfection. All this and more are the issues tackle in HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT.
The plot of HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT is a fairly simple one. It is a story of 6 women who accidentally became the playgroup. All these women are of different background, but they live in the same Manhattan’s neighbourhood and have babies of similar age. It is also a story of Clair. Clair is 28 years old musician whose band became famous - after deciding to kick her out. As the story opens, we learn that Clair is a struggling artist who drowns herself in alcohol and is trying to live through the day. Her cousin finds her a job – a playgroup musician for 6 moms and their overprivileged children. Beside Clair, the author focuses on Gwen, Whitney and Amara; three women from the mom group.  Other three, Ellie, Meredith and Vicki, are magnificent secondary characters. Gwen comes from the old money and she is struggling to keep the appearance, for her financial situation is not good. Whitney’s background is modest, but she wanted to live a big life in a rich perfect world, and she has made it. Besides that, she became Instagram mom.  And then there is Amara, a gorgeous and brave woman who had a good career before getting pregnant and deciding to become stay at home mom. Looking at them, one might think that they really have prefect lives. But behind the picture-perfect façade, there are a whole lot of insecurities, bad marriages, meaningless lives, and all the problems that come with being a new mom. Although Clair feels like an imposter, and though she was there to entertain the children, she slowly becomes close to those women, especially Amara. And then the things start rolling. 
The novel is a well written quick read, which is becoming more and more interesting with every page.  It speaks about issues that every new mom faces. Issues like the pressure of being perfect mom, the fear of making a mistake and screwing up your child’s future that way, while at the same time pretending that everything is fine. It is also showing how far are new mums willing to go to survive the pressures of motherhood and to be perfect. It also opens gender equality issues agenda. It is interesting that the author chooses women from upper middle class as the main characters. This is a group of highly privileged women who are stay-at -home moms and are living the high life. But being privileged does not mean that their life is perfect and that they are completely happy and fulfilled in their roles. I like this angle, because it allows for the author to focus on struggles that every woman, as being a mother faces (without going into problematic of class and economic inequality. Furthermore, the characters are fantastically developed and are three-dimensional. They are far from perfect and will make a lot of mistakes during the course of the story. 
HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT is the novel that opens a Pandora’s Box of the other side of the motherhood, Instagram fame, and striving for perfection, but it is also a feel-good-book that talks about the power of women friendship. I highly recommend it.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Berkley Publishing {partner} for my gifted copy of Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin in exchange for my honest review. Publication date 5/19/20. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

This new gig is definitely different than being in the band. The women seem nice, and they appear genuinely happy I’m here. I never thought we would click like we have. But, I still can’t shake this nagging feeling that something is not as it seems. 

Claire has gone from rock star to playgroup singer. It is not at all how she expected her life to go. She had to find some way to earn a living after the band kicked her out, and she desperately wanted music to be a part of that scenario. But playing nursery rhymes to the babies of a group of entitled housewives is not what she envisioned.

Claire quickly finds herself embroiled with this group of women, and soon discovers they all have something to hide. The happy stay-at-home, entitled-wife facade falls apart when Claire discovers the secret to their success may not be as innocent as it has been portrayed. 

In the vein of Desperate Housewives, Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin is an intimate look at a small group of women trying to live up to society’s expectations of womanhood, and being a mother without losing your own identity. With alternating points of view, the book sets the scene of each main character’s perception of balancing family and self in a time when appearances are easily constructed, but not always genuine. 

I loved how Hankin developed characters that were relatable, yet not always likable. Each character in the book had internal struggles that affected the decisions they made, and each of those decisions brought these women together for a common goal. 

There were twists and turns, shocking realizations, and lots of backstabbing throughout this book that left you to wonder, are any of these relationships legitimate? Or are they a carefully constructed disguise in order to attain some personal gain?

Although the motive for their actions can easily be questionable, Hankin connected me to the characters in such a way I found myself empathizing with these women and the path they had traveled to be in this place.

One of the ways the story helped pull you in and allowed for the possibility of understanding the plight of these women was by giving snapshots of their past. Little glimpses at strategical moments that laid the foundation for intimate looks into how and why they developed into the women they became.

A well-paced, evenly developed story, that shows just how public perception can impact happiness on a fundamental level. It poses the hard questions of the value in a carefully constructed life versus living life for your own joys, wants, and dreams. 

I enjoyed this look into friendships, marriage, motherhood, and the ever fleeting task of keeping your own identity in the midst of developing a strong foundation for the life you are building.
Was this review helpful?
This novel wasn't really what I expected it to be but I liked it a lot. It's a tale of a young woman searching for where she belongs. While I didn't love the ending for the protagonist, I feel like she could go more places, the pacing of the novel was excellent.
Was this review helpful?
I thought I would love this book, but it fell short for me. 

What I did like about this book:

1. The pressure on the moms was realistic. I felt the stress Amara felt when her son was the last in the playgroup to pull himself up.
2. Amara and Claire's friendship. In the first half of the book they have some great moments together, and every mom needs a friend like Claire.
3. The True Mommy twist came completely out of nowhere. It was so unexpected and added a hint of mystery to a book about scandao.
Was this review helpful?
This was such a dark, twisty novel and I didn't see it coming! I loved the sarcasm and wit. The dark humor was a nice change of pace from my usual reads and it was so fun to watch this story play out! I liked the individual stories of each woman and I thought it ended well. I loved the smart writing style or the author and overall it was a really great!
Was this review helpful?
When her band records a hit after dumping her as singer, Claire feels she has little choice but to accept a job leading musical sessions for a New York playgroup. The mums, who have all bounced back quickly after having their babies, lead enviable lives and often appear on hostess Whitney’s carefully curated Instagram feed. But it appears their quest to stay youthful and vibrant may be their undoing.
With plenty of dark humour, this entertaining story exposes the secrets behind the picture-perfect lives of the rich and privileged mummy set.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group, Laura Hankin, & NetGalley for this digital ARC in exchange for an unbiased review. The competitiveness of motherhood and secrets of the elite boil over when a 20-something ex-rising pop star falls back on entertaining a baby playgroup after she's kicked out of her band.  This was really a perfect summer/beach read to pour over during quarantine; a quick read, both lighthearted in parts but page-turning in others. As an early 30-something woman living in NYC myself (and having spent some time living on the UES, though not a mother myself), felt like the characters were true reflections of the toddler mother crowd.  The dialogue was so realistic, so filled with that snarky sarcasm that New Yorkers naturally pick up on after years of living here.  Part of this book made me laugh out loud; Hankin did a great job of making plenty of inside-joke sorts of references that NYC residents will surely get  (for instance, the narcissism of socializing finance bros). I finished the book quickly in a few days.  That said, it does seem like a story line that has been done before. In a way, it's sort of like the parents' story lines in Gossip Girls, but replace the rebellious teenagers with cranky toddlers. Also, there seemed to be so much build up of getting to know the characters, but the story arc resolved fairly quickly and very predictably. I still enjoyed it and everyone can use a light read these days!
Was this review helpful?
Women's fiction can be a hit or a miss with me, and in most cases, I end up somewhere in the middle. Not so much with Happy and You Know It. Nope, this one is a definite hit. I'm a big fan of dark humor, and Laura Hankin is simply brilliant with it. These women are the types that you love to hate - at least until the twists, and then I found myself actually liking some of them. The focus may be primarily on a group of mothers, but I don't think you need to be a mother to relate. Honestly, if you have a sense of humor, then it isn't hard to get into this one. The whole thing is just a thoroughly entertaining read from start to finish - the storyline, the characters, the wit, all of it comes together for a fast-paced story that I won't soon forget. This may be my first read by this author, but it won't be my last. Laura Hankin is now firmly on my radar.
Was this review helpful?
I wasn't sure to to think of this book but I did really enjoy it! Not all the characters are likable but the gossip and intrigue are delicious, you just have to keep reading to find out more. It reminded me of a Sex and the City type story but with moms and playdates. Recommended!
Was this review helpful?