I am not the most adept when it comes to poetry and metaphors. I like things to be a bit more literal--it means what it says. As such, I didn't quite connect to We Are All So Good at Smiling and struggled in some places, but I could understand and sympathize with what Faerry and Whimsy were going through. My overall experience might have been different had it not been in verse, but having it in verse is also what drew me to the book.
It's a thoughtful dive into mental health. Being in verse gives it a unique narrative that multiples the heartbreak especially as Faerry and Whimsy learn that the only way out is through; you have to work things through and sometimes it leads to discoveries you would rather forget. While a fast read, it's not until past the halfway mark when the pace picks up and everything begins to be revealed. While it took me a while to finish, it was a meaningful story and I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to read it.
Written in verse this young adult novel delves into a complicated topic of clinical depression. Beautifully written.
In her emotionally raw YA novel We Are All So Good at Smiling, author E. E. Cooper tackles mental health challenges and the power of human connection. The book centers on Whimsy, a teenager battling clinical depression who meets a kindred spirit in Faerry while in treatment. Though their friendship begins tentatively, the two bond over their shared "magic" as well as a mysterious, frightening forest that haunts them both. Cooper beautifully weaves themes of friendship, trauma, and personal growth together in this poignant story.
Whimsy and Faerry's journey demonstrates how sharing our struggles with others can help us heal. Their realistic characterization and experiences with depression, anxiety, and PTSD add an impactful layer of insight. Collectively, We Are All So Good at Smiling is a touching exploration of the power of human connection in overcoming life's challenges. Cooper crafts an emotional yet hopeful story that will last with me. Hope you like this book as much as I did!
We Are All So Good at Smiling is a fantasy novel that doubles as an allegory for clinical depression. It includes references to fairy tales from multiple cultures (plus a glossary at the back that explains them all) and emphasizes Hoodoo magic, which I’ve seen in few fantasy novels. It is rare to see a well-done allegory, especially one not overtly religious. Whimsy and Faerry are compelling characters with real struggles, but the plot does not grovel in sadness. The novel-in-verse format makes some of the plot confusing, and I wish the larger fantasy elements came sooner in the narrative. Despite those small grievances, readers will appreciate a story that deals with mental illness while bringing hope and magic.
This was definitely an interesting take on tackling the subject of mental illness. It combined fantasy with this heavy subject. I liked that it was written in verse and that it was accessible to readers. The diversity of the main characters brings to light the fact that mental illness can affect anyone and should be addressed for all. This was a beautiful and haunting story and a quick read.
I’m not entirely sure I completely understand what I just read, but it was beautifully written either way
Definitely look up the TW before diving into this one though
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me access to the free advanced digital copy of this book.
Amber McBride did it again! Her beautiful novels in verse are so captivating and compulsory. I cannot put her books down. She tells the story of of mental illness in such a masterful, artistic way. This book is not to be missed. I can't wait for her next one!
I loved We Are All So Good at Smiling so much! It was an easy read and my students will also love it. I am excited to get this for the library.
Such a beautiful, poetic read exploring mental health! I really enjoyed Amber's previous book, Me (Moth), and was excited to pick this one up. This one is much more magical and abstract and I didn't love it quite as much, but would definitely still recommend it. I found it hard to follow at times, but I think that has more to do with me than the book itself. Perfect for fans of "Home Is Not a Country" by Safia Elhillo!
I loved their first book in verse and I loved this one even more. Just such a powerful story told in verse. I will definitely keep purchasing and recommending this author and their books.
Let me just say that I wasn't the right reader for this story. McBride does an excellent job of making the reader feel the anguish and sorrow that Whimsy is dealing with. She does this with the use of imagery, which I found to be a little heavy handed. But again, I was not the right reader. Books about clinical depression are important.
Absolutely beautiful and poignant depiction of how clinical depression can shape a person's whole being. The prose resonated with the characters, and the writing voice is one I will be following in future stories.
***Thank you to NetGalley and to the publishers for providing me with a digital copy of this book for review.***
We Are All So Good at Smiling was a poetic and beautiful book, but it was definitely a heavy, hard read too. Readers should definitely check out content warnings before digging into this quick read.
Whimsy and Faerry meet in the hospital as they are being treated for clinical depression. They feel like they have met before and discover that somehow their lives may be connected, though they can't remember how. Faerry has recently moved in across the street and develops an obsession with the forest at the end of the lane. Whimsy is terrified of the forest, but when Faerry disappears, she somehow knows that he must have gone in, so she goes searching for him. The journey in the forest is one of fairy tales coming to life that help the two teens to find their way through danger and fear to the other side where they can finally confront a few events from their lives and pasts that haunt them.
The writing in this book is lush and lovely, and the mystical events in the forest stretch a reader's imagination and carefully blend real life with fantasy. I think the combination of these elements could make it a bit confusing for some teen readers, but I know that there are others who will dive in and relish this story in all of its beauty and sadness. I will certainly buy this book for my library.
This book was absolutely fantastic. I've already added it to our list for order next year and will recommend it to students.
I read this months later than I intended to, especially since I loved Me (Moth) so much. We Are So Good at Smiling is a beautiful, stunning, heartbreaking, and hopeful exploration of grief and depression. I hardly know where to begin other than screaming about how good it is and shoving it into people's hands. This novel in verse tells the story of Whimsey and Faerry, who both suffer from depression. Throughout the story they uncover past trauma and ultimately find a path to healing. This is a powerful and important story and I will be recommending it to my students immediately!
Thank you to NetGalley, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, and Feiwel & Friends for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
"We are all so good at smiling --- like we invented it."
This book was 100% a cover request. This has to be one of the most beautiful book covers that I have ever seen. I am so glad that I requested this book though because it was absolutely beautiful!
I have really been enjoying books that are written in verse recently and this book is probably one of my favorites. This is definitely a book that will stay with you after you finish reading it. I have also heard a lot of great things about the audiobook so I will probably try to listen to the audiobook when I want to read this book again.
Please check content warnings for this book before reading it. I highly recommend this book. 4.5 stars.
Beautiful story with a heartbreaking depiction of depression. Loved the metaphor of the garden. Definitely ordering for my school.
This book was such a rich and delightful reading experience. The writing style is a notable asset to the book, making the story vivid, visceral in experience, and full bodied. Despite the heavy subject matter, the book was a fast paced and impactful story, forgoing the need for processing because the writing style allowed the story to settle in with comfort. Gorgeous!!
I enjoyed this book even with covering such a hard topic of clinical depression. The author presents the topic in a relatable context to teens and young adults who may be experiencing sorrow, loss and trauma. The writing is wonderfully descriptive and not superfluous. By using fairy tale characters that we are all familiar with, readers can easily envision what the main character, Whimsy, is experiencing. She and her new friend Faerie go on a "journey" to connect with their grief and find a way to resolve their mental health and find their new normal. I feel this is a book that most teens should read. I will definitely be giving a copy to my 18 year old and recommending it to all my parent friends.