Cover Image: Are You Happy Now

Are You Happy Now

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Another masterpiece by Hanna Jameson. 
I loved The Last and was very excited to be offered the chance to read Are You Happy Now. Set in the modern world, Are You Happy Now follows Yun, Emory, Andrew, and Fin as they navigate a new phenomenon rippling through the world. People are sitting down and not getting up again, seemingly giving up on their lives. 
Tenderly written, I found this captivating and moving. Yun and Emory, Andrew and Fin. Each one of them has stayed with me, and I thought a lot about them after I finished reading. It is a masterful display of clever, poignant writing. I can't wait to see what Jameson writes next.
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What a weird book this is! Seemingly well written, but with a very thin plot that doesn't seem to go anywhere much. 

Yes, mental health can be a killer and can inflict pain on anyone, anywhere, but it just seemed to trivialise this very real issue. 

Emory, Yun and even Andrew seemed to be capable of ignoring the rest of the world and pretending that nothing else mattered to them. This is bizarre as you can't then easily warm to the characters, or grasp the plot.

Description of the book held promise, but ultimately this wasn't lived up to.
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I adored this novel just as much as I did Jameson’s last novel The Last. It follows a small cast of characters navigating their every day lives throughout a strange pandemic-like situation that I can’t give too many details on without spoiling the story. The characters were 3 dimensional and an ever-present sense of dread keeps the story taut with anxiety. So good!
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This is an intriguing book set amidst a strange 'plague' where people seemingly become so overwhelmed by life they simply stop. The main 4 characters witness the start of this illness at a wedding where none of them seem comfortable in their own lives or with the choices they've made so far. The book sits with their discomfort and experiences as they try to make sense of the new world around them and find their own peace. It's a book which is happy for you not to always like the characters or agree with their choices but urges you to understand their decisions. (Copy received from Netgalley in return for an honest review)
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This book sounded really interesting - a sweeping across the world of people just giving up….  Unfortunately it was incredibly drawn out and I couldn’t find one character I actually liked.   The pace of the book felt off and it was more about the relationships than the pandemic.  Really struggled to finish but loved the idea.
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I picked this because it seemed to be a dystopian/pandemic novel, but it doesn't quite fit either. there is a sort of pandemic sweeping the US and parts of the world, but it seems to a mental-health pandemic - people are just giving up. Our four characters, Yun, Emory, Andrew and Fin meet at a wedding where one of the guests suddenly sits down and is unable to get up, striking out at anyone who tries to help her to get up. Two weeks later she is dead and all around the world people of all ages and ethnicities are just sitting down - giving up. Yun and Emory start a relationship as does Andrew and Fin. In a world that is struggling to understand exactly what is happening, these four navigate their lives and try to decide what everything means. This book didn't 'grab' me as much as I was hoping that it would, but I think that is because I could not relate to these characters. Yun, Emory and Fin are all in their early 20s and so I think someone younger than I would be able to relate to them more easily. In fact, I found Yun so annoying - why on earth did Emory hook up with him? That said, I did like the portrayal of how this 'illness' affected every aspect of life.
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The Last by Hanna Jameson is one of my all time favourite books so I was really excited to have the opportunity to read her newest book pre-release! Unfortunately this one did not live up to expectations in the slightest. 

The synopsis drew me in and I was expecting a fast-paced, unique thriller. What I got instead, was a Sally Rooney-esque novel that hardly even focused on the crazy pandemic explained in the blurb. Most of this book consisted of ramblings about the boring relationships between people. 

Overall, this had so much potential but ended up being a massive flop.
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At a New York City wedding, on a sweltering summer night, four people are trying to be happy.

Yun has everything he ever wanted, but somehow it's never enough.
Emory is finally making her mark, but feels the shame more than the success.
Andrew is trying to be honest, but has lied to himself his whole life.
Fin can't resist falling in love, but can't help wrecking it all either.

And then the world begins to end. The four of them watch as one of the wedding guests sits down and refuses to get back up. Soon it's happening across the world. Is it a choice or an illness?

Because how can anyone be happy in a world where the only choice is to feel everything - or nothing at all?

This book seems to try and explain the question of mental health, our own free will, and a pandemic of sorts, yet it fails to deliver on any of them. Instead we have a delightful ramble of literary fiction, with no real answers.

While this was so different from my usual reads, and different still from the usual literary or speculative fiction that I read, i didn't enjoy it, not in the way that has me sinking into it, devouring it, carrying it around in my head for days.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book in return for my honest review.
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Love love loved this book. It’s like a cross between Modern Love and Leave The World behind. The writing is beautiful and what I love about it is how much it respects the reader. There is a lot left unsaid or explained in this novel - but in the most perfect way, and the ending is incredible.
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This book was categorised as sci fi & fantasy as well as mystery & thriller, and as they're the two genres I enjoy the most, I thought it was right up my street.  Unfortunately, I really don't think it's science fiction at all and possibly only loosely a thriller.  It's been a total disappointment, mainly because it was wrongly categorised.  It's solely about people's relationships and romances which is not a genre that really interests me and I wouldn't have requested it at all if I'd known that. I really struggled to get past 35% and if I didn't have to review it, I would have given up on it at that point. 

The whole 'world ending' aspect is immaterial, it doesn't really affect anything that happens in the book.  It doesn't seem to be as much of a threat as it's made out to be in the blurb so there's no real drama or anything with it.  I didn't connect with any of the characters either, they were mostly annoying and I rather wished that one of them would succumb to the lurgy to make it more interesting.  Overall, I found it to be very dreary and quite depressing.
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I've enjoyed Hanna Jameson's previous books, they are all a bit different to the usual themes.
This is an interesting book, about Yun and Andrew, and their partners, set in New York post-pandemic. A new phenomenon starts happening, in a kind of hysteria, people suddenly sit down and die. The first case happens at a wedding where they are all guests, Andrew is with his wife Nicola, and Yun meets Emory for the first time there.
Then a mass case happens at a festival, Emory's father is a forensic scientist, and Emory is a journalist, so is the first to report on this; she is later blamed for spreading the information. Although this theme runs through the book, and is part of the story, Yun and Andrew are the main characters, and the focus is on their lives and relationships. There are a lot of deep thoughts and ideas on how to live.
The story is open-ended - maybe we will meet these characters again, that would be nice. Beautifully written, and thought provoking, recommended.
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This is a book full of dysfunctional relationships, from friends who are not really friends anymore to cheating partners and relationship formed of circumstance rather than choice.
set in the midst of a new pandemic rolling across the world but focused in America people are just sitting down and giving up. With no answers as to what is really going on or whether there will ever be a cure the main characters battle on trying to live their lives without falling prey to this new disease.
Of the characters I really only found Emory relatable- the others were so very self absorbed as to become off putting- just like people can be I suppose!
The author really captures the utter hopelessness, the desire to just give in and give up that can overtake you so very easily in situations out of your control and seemingly with no end.
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I thought this was a novel about a weird disease but it's actually about people. It starts off with a wedding and the first case where someone just seems to sit down and give up on life.
As the book progresses the strange illness sort of fades into the background. The story becomes more about the relationships that develop between people at the wedding. 
It's a good description of how life just carries on when there is a crisis. How it becomes part of the background, but, also how it becomes pervasive.
The characters are all trying to get on with their lives whilst the world jumps from crisis to crisis so it feels very much as though it captures this moment in time.
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I love the premise and have read several novels with a similar theme, some more plausible and gripping than others.  Sadly, this one just did not keep my interest.  Emory and Yun really didn't come alive, and at times I found the narrative and the dialogue impossible to follow, and the characters irritating. 

I do try to finish a book once started, but this one felt as if it was going nowhere, so I gave up at the halfway point.
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'Are You Happy Now' by Hannah Jameson takes a cast of complex and contrasting characters and weaves a compelling story of self-discovery, emotional awakening, and harsk realisation. 

Set in a New York which finds itself at the centre of a strange and devastating 'dis-ease' erupting all around, causing collapse and confusion, the characters have to negotiate personal challenges in many aspects of their lives. This ranges from relationships and careers to family ties and loss, meeting chaos and deciding whether they want to continue to delve into inner truths or surrender to a more sinsiter condition. 

The thread that runs through is the fundamental search for happiness, and what it might mean to be happy and human.
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A novel about another life-threatening epidemic spreading panic and death among the population is probably the last thing you want to read now. Or the next to last thing maybe. The last thing you probably want to read is a novel about an epidemic resembling catatonic depression spreading among the Millennial generation. You might think that, but really you should be intrigued and Hanna Jameson does a terrific job of ensuring that she handles it in an exciting way, showing how there are many other ways that life can suddenly and totally unexpectedly come off the rails.
It seemed like a typically raucous end to a wedding reception when Yun meets Emory; everyone is drunk, taking full advantage of the free bar, a fight has started and the DJ is not quite hitting the right notes to hold the happy occasion together. One person however has a more violent reaction that no-one is expecting when she sits down on the dancefloor and appears to fall into an unresponsive catatonic state, but screams when anyone tries to touch her. Rose is taken to hospital, but tests fail to find any drugs in her system and there is no medical history of depression recorded. When Rose fails to recover and dies a few weeks later, concern spreads as more instances of this strange behaviour are reported in America and then across the world.

Emory, a freelance reporter, having witnessed what is thought to be patient zero, starts investigating the phenomenon and discovers that dozens of similar cases have been identified almost simultaneously at a music festival in Hunter Mountain. As reports gradually start coming in from all over the world, no-one seems any closer to understanding what is happening. Is it another pandemic? A new disease? A biological agent? It definitely appears to be something contagious, affecting people in close proximity to other cases, but it doesn't appear to have affect anyone else at Mike and Laura's wedding. The term Pervasive Refusal Syndrome starts getting applied, as no one knows if it's voluntary or something else. "Maybe, somehow, we've brought this on ourselves".

There's the key there to Are You Happy Now?, the title providing a further insight or clue. We are dealing with a particular age group here, just heading into their thirties, most of them involved in arts or creative careers, musicians and dancers, teachers or writers. There are four main figures whose lives are entangled and whose lives are affected by the strange mood surrounding the increasing number of deaths and the impact this has on society and their careers. Emory has residual guilt about Rose and as a journalist reporting what is happening, feels in some way responsible for others following her 'example'. Andrew is getting divorced, Yun is still hung up on his last girlfriend and, as a musician and DJ, worried about work opportunities and keeping an apartment. Fin, a young dancer then appears on the scene, another who happened to be at the ill-fated wedding reception.

Yun seems particularly unstable and incapable of dealing with what is happening, feeling his life falling apart, but all of them are wondering whether they will make it and do whatever it takes to achieve happiness and fulfillment in their lives, find exactly who they are and whether they can live as they choose, or whether the world has other plans for them. The world is certainly changing and younger people than them are dying, seeming to give up before they have even started to live.

Now, this can be as annoying as it sounds if you aren't terribly sympathetic to irritatingly self-obsessed, oat latte drinking, bread avoiding, caffeine intolerant late-twenty-to-thirty-somethings discontented with relationships, confused about their sexuality agonising about where they fit in and where they are going in life. On the other hand, Are You Happy Now? captures the nature and concerns of that age group very well, with authentic responses to relevant issues today. You might not like the way the modern world is, but this is what we have to deal with and there are undoubtedly more pressures than ever on those from the Millennial generation.

As flawed/selfish/annoying as some of the characters might be, Hanna Jameson nonetheless treats them all realistically, putting them through deep emotional situations and frank exchanges with authentic dialogue that makes no effort to portray them in any other light than real people with their own problems and issues. There is no special pleading for how difficult these examples of their generation find adjusting to the rapidly changing world that threatens their sense of security. It does in fact suggest that, despite the apparent privileges they might have enjoyed, they are less capable of dealing with the challenges life throws their way. Or perhaps not less capable, but they are conditioned by life in a way that makes it harder to adjust when something challenges their principles and beliefs, or ideal of who they are. 

There's a good balance here then between the science-fiction epidemic premise and an underlying reality that everyone can relate to to one extent or another, of a world that is changing more quickly than we can keep up with emotionally and indeed financially. Whether the spread of a condition that looks like near-catatonic depression comes from outside or from deeper inside, it is nonetheless a clever way of looking at the world where people are increasingly feeling a lack of control, where they begin to feel that their lives have come to a dead end. The sense of impending doom for humanity is all around, and that might not be pleasant to read about in Are You Happy Now>, but it's something that we will all have to face up to eventually.
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It’s like nothing I’ve read before, so I will only tell the honest truth by saying I have no idea how I am feeling about this book.

The idea got me hooked and invested, the beginning was building that up and I really wanted for something groundbreaking to happen. Except… it didn’t. In some moments I got lost in what I was reading, not being able to follow the lead, if there even was one.

There were some plot twists, but they got lost between some kind of repetitiveness.

I loved Andrew and it was his character and plot that somehow helped me to put the book at 3 stars.

Not bad, not awesome.
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The premise for this book is so interesting and I think I fell a little bit in love with some of its characters, faults and all. I picked it up due to comparisons to Emily John St. Mandel's Station Eleven and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go but didn’t get the same feel from this, not because I didn’t enjoy it… it just felt different to me. 

It was a good study of how the general population stigmatises mental health, and includes a lot of interesting commentary on how different forms of victim blaming and shaming happens towards the patients of a new pandemic that’s graced humankind… one they can’t find a medical cause for. This forms the backdrop of the novel, which features the lives of 4 people falling in, out, back in and back out of love again. 

I appreciate the obvious research that the author has put into having half a Korean-North American cast. Didn’t much like Emory though, not because she wasn’t well written but because she was written well enough that I knew I’d never get along with such a person. 

In the authors acknowledgments, they thanked one of their friends for dubbing the book as ‘the most millennial novel ever’. Spot on there, says I, a millennial. 

Unfortunately the ending fell flat in offering no conclusions to the things that I actually started reading it for. I can see what the author was going for but it missed the mark a bit there for me, otherwise it’d have been a 5* rating because I couldn’t put it down for the most part! 

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin for providing me with the ARC so that I could read and review this book.
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This was so bizarre I couldn't stop reading. The main focus of the story was a strange dystopian, pandemic / end of the world event. Which ran throughout but didn't overpower the characters stories. 

To say it was dystopian the characterization was very much true to form and I think readers like me will see themselves in one or two of these characters at some point in their own lives. Which I found really interesting. The main characters form friendships, relationships, have work problems and lifestyle changes just like you and me would but they do all this whilst trying to understand this world ending event. 

I did feel at times I was waiting for answers or dramatic turn of events which never really came however thay didn't stop this being a good read. 

I've been sat pondering the content for a good while now and I think this book will stay in my thoughts for a long time to come. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the Publishers for the opportunity to review this book.
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a really interesting take on mental health and an absolutely bizarre kind of pandemic. the premise was so interesting and kept me gripped for much of the book. what would you do if the people around you started sitting down and couldn't get back up again? i was itching to figure out what was happening to these people, much like yun and his obsessive reading on it. but the last third kind of fell flat for me?

i feel like we didnt really get anywhere / get any answers, or even just find a point in what had happened. i felt tense for parts of the book, mainly for my own desire for something dramatic to happen. i wish it turned into something more!

that being said, the characters were beautifully done and all were so multi-faceted and interesting. yun was an absolute enigma to me like truly i was so enraptured with what he was doing. because what ??? and shoutout to any bts fans because he also is in almost all aspects a variation of yoongi (music producer, piano lover, nail biter etc.). i think they were interesting enough to read without this doomsday climate around them but i think this also made things feel more pressing. but interestingly, i felt like there wasn't much discussion of how things like this (especially post pandemic) bring people together and make you appreciate the people you have. instead it was a pretty selfish, dog eat dog outlook.

really enjoyed though! plus the writing was great.
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