Cover Image: Are You Happy Now

Are You Happy Now

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Member Reviews

This was an interesting story wth people suddenly becoming catatonic within the general worldwide population. The book focuses on the relationships between 2 characters at a time. As some previous reviews have said, the characters are not very sympathetic or very believable. I finished the book but did not feel very fulfilled.
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The blurb had me intrigued considering what we've lived through for the past 3 years and while I found the first half really engaging, it did seem to drag during the second half and very little happened!

It follows 4 characters, but a global event, as a woman is at a wedding and takes to sitting on the floor with no response - just a blank stare. Medics are baffled while she's in hospital, and then other people start falling 'ill' with this vacant shutdown of their minds and bodies and the fear begins to creep in as nobody can make head nor tail of what is causing it or what kind of people it is affecting.

The 4 characters are going on with their daily lives, so you get to see a window into their soul as they all deal with varying personal issues, set against the backdrop of the world witnessing this strange phenomenon. It was interesting at times to see how the fear would creep in to the way of thinking of some but I found it mostly to be a look at the human experience, especially in these times of social media and all that entails. There's the expectations placed on yourself along with that of what other people expect from you, and how those often don't marry up.

I wish the characters had felt a bit more likeable and had that spark about them, but often their 'problems' were a little self indulgent and 'meh'! It did make me think while I was reading about the 'human experience' and how we either feel everything or nothing and that the 24/7 rollercoaster we're all on never shows any sign of letting up
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What a unique concept written in such a beautiful way. I would love to dive into Hanna’s head whilst she’s writing to see her thought process. I urge everyone to read this book and will be buying a copy for my forever shelf.
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This book started off really good and then I struggled to continue with it, I took a break and them managed to dived right back in to like like I hadn't put it down. The storyline was good and the characters were interesting. The part that I struggled with slightly was the pandemic type story line, after going through the strangest couple of years in the 'real' world, parts of it hit a little close to home for me. Overall I did enjoy the book, and maybe if I had read it in a couple of years time I wouldn't have struggled as much with parts of it. 

I just reviewed Are You Happy Now by Hanna Jameson. #AreYouHappyNow #NetGalley
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I really enjoyed this book, I was slightly put off by some of the reviews, but it ticked all the boxes for me. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me an advance copy, I will definitely be recommending.
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Thanks ever so much to @vikingbooksuk for sharing this title with me on @netgalley!

Are You Happy Now by Hanna Jameson. 

Sigh. This got off to such a promising start, but ended up being a bit of a frustrating read for me. The premise, in principle, sounds great: we follow the lives of four young people in New York in the midst of a mysterious pandemic. You know me by now: I love reading about pandemics! (not so much experiencing them.) However, I feel like it's trying to do too much and should commit to one narrative thread: are you a true to life, millennial, Sally Rooney-esque love story? Or are you a twisty, gripping account of a pandemic? Because, honestly, I feel like the whole ended up being weaker than the sum of its parts.

The pandemic element of the story left me feeling confused and disappointed: it is such a huge part of the story in the early chapters (yay!) but as the novel progresses, its relevance to the story fades away. There is no resolution or development to it: we never find out what causes it, where it comes from, why case numbers end up falling... by the end of the novel, it feels like an afterthought. I can't help but feel like the comparison to Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven is... far-fetched. 

The daily life, love story narrative gets off to a great start and I was heavily invested in Emory and Yun's relationship. Then came in Andrew and Fin who I honestly really didn't care for. I simply couldn't relate to their dynamic and, at times, I felt like their story dragged on a bit too much. Call me sheltered, but I struggle to connect with very obviously emotionally self-destructive and self-jeopardising characters. On the other hand, I would have liked more time to have been devoted to Yun and Andrew's past and current relationship.

Overall, I wish there had been more pandemic and less love story. I enjoyed Jameson's writing style throughout, even if it fell flat sometimes, and the idea was obviously great, but I wish the execution had been better.

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The premise of this book intrigued me and I was drawn in at the beginning. However the pandemic side of the story wasn’t explored enough and seemed to be a spurious backdrop to the four main characters and their relationships.  I quite liked Andrew and Fin but actively disliked Yun who was a self indulgent little boy in a grown man’s body.  His girlfriend, Emory was apparently a writer specialising in the pandemic but the opportunity to flesh her character out and perhaps enlighten the reader as to the cause of the pandemic was lost.  I did finish the book but it became a chore and by the end I didn’t care about any of them.
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Honestly I loved this book so much. It really told a unique and emotional story with such an interesting backdrop.

The characters were insanely developed and all felt so human. Obviously it was more of a character based book rather than  plot based which helped a lot but even the massive plot points were written in such raw detail I was shook. 

My only issue with this book is the pacing, I think it starts off quite slow and then speeds up and slows again. It took untill about midway through the book to meet one of the main characters and while I understand why this was done I felt that it was a little unnecessary.

Overall, I just loved this book so much. The emotions it put me through and the reflection of my own life that'll it is sure to give me long after today is immense and I would absolutely recommend it.
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Llegué a esta novela porque la anterior novela de Jameson, ‘Los últimos’, me pareció una interesante propuesta dentro del trillado género detectivesco, aunque la ejecución fuera finalmente fallida. Desgraciadamente, leyendo esta nueva obra de la autora me encuentro con una situación similar.

En ‘Are you happy now’ seguimos la historia de cuatro personajes principales (junto a un buen puñado de secundarios) que se enfrentan a un mundo donde se origina una pandemia. Parece la historia típica que podría surgir de estos últimos años. La pandemia consiste en personas que de un momento para otro se sientan y no hacen nada hasta que pasadas un par de semanas mueren.

Jameson utiliza esta pandemia como reflexión de la vida de estrés y las presiones que todos ponemos a otros y a nosotros mismos por tener que hacer ciertas cosas vitales como parte fundamental de nuestra vida.

Este, para mi gusto, buen punto de partida se sume en el más absoluto aburrimiento durante la novela. Ni los cuatro protagonistas son interesantes ni su desarrollo atractivo. Sus idas y venidas no son más que un slice of life que, aunque por momentos parece despegar, termina siempre dejando una sensación agridulce. Para añadir más problemas, el ritmo de la historia es sumamente lento. Y, aunque sea un ligero spoiler, el final de la trama “pandémica” es totalmente decepcionante.

Una novela prescindible.
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Are You Happy Now, although it is about a fictitious pandemic where people sit down and give up, feels like it is a snapshot of modern life. In a world where things are difficult and overwhelming, the possibility of just giving up is an appealing one. 

It is beautifully written with characters who I loved, is incredibly tender and a thoughtful read  There were shades of Emily St John Mandel (the highest accolade I can give, I love her books) in the writing and world building. Although rooted in a realistic New York, things felt slightly altered and I really enjoyed this slight disconnect, 

The central relationships of the four main characters were multi layered and beautifully depicted. I just adored it and gobbled it up in a couple of sittings.
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At a New York City wedding, one of the guests suddenly sits down on the floor and refuses to stand back up. Soon, it became a worldwide phenomenon. Nobody understands if this is a choice, a sickness or another strange epidemy. Among the chaos, Yum, Emory, Andrew and Fin, all present at the wedding, try to find their happiness.

Are You Happy Now is an original position. In beautiful lyrical language, it tells the story of four people or rather two couples. It is a slow but emotional read, focusing on the characters' thoughts and intense feelings. I found the idea of people randomly sitting down in the middle of the room fascinating and thought-provoking. I could not stop thinking about the reason behind it. Was it an illness? A virus? A form of depression? Were they conscious? Was it a decision? Did they decide to opt out of the fast, stressful and overwhelming way we live right now?

I could not stop reading this unique story and would recommend his book to those looking for an original and thought-provoking novel.
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This is a difficult novel to review - not because I didn’t enjoy it, rather I’m not sure how I felt. I seem to have been on a dystopian book trip lately and this seemed like it would tick all my boxes. The beginning really leans heavily into a pandemic, however, not Covid - one that sends people catatonic. The novel progresses by focusing on a group of friends and their dynamics when faced with a unique situation. So, the relationships were interesting, however, as I said, it’s not what I thought I was getting into. So, I’m effect, if you’re looking for a full on dystopian pandemic novel then this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a nuanced tale about millennial relationships then seriously give this a go.
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I can't say I honestly enjoyed this one. It started off well and drew in the reader sufficiently. Lots of intrigue about the 'epidemic' of people giving up that builds to absolutely no pay off. I enjoyed Andrew and Fin's side of the story for the most part but the real focus of the novel was on Yun who was pretty insufferable as a person. Maybe that makes him accurate as a flawed human being but I feel like I wasted my time by the end of the book.

What worked for the author in 'The Last' doesn't work here at all. It needed answers, direction and a compelling protagonist I feel.
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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.’

What a book… this has got to be the heaviest I’ve read in a long, long time. Written during the pandemic, this book looks at an epidemic of misery which leads to catatonia and later death. 

With each character harbouring their own issues, and a sort-of mystery of these unusual deaths sweeping the globe, it’s an intense read and at points page-turning. 

I found that this book made me feel exhausted and slightly triggering as someone who struggles with their mental health, but nevertheless found it to be an interesting read. 

Again, it was quite unusual in the sense that very few of the characters had ‘likeable’ elements to them which meant I found it difficult to know what to make of them and whether I should be whooping that they had made progress or supporting the other characters.

Thanks to @netgalley for this ARC, but definitely think before reading it as it did leave me feeling quite low.
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I'm unable to pinpoint this novel into a genre.  It's part coming of age story, (although none of the characters are that young) , part dystopian/pandemic novel and part romance exploring love, attraction, relationships and self.
After reading it, it left me thinking was this a novel not quite sure what it was trying to be and therefore ended up being a bit of lots of things but without being enough of any of them, or was it just a imaginative take on a kind of romance story. On reflection I've decided it was the later.

I enjoyed the author previous book, a dystopian novel and indeed went to a fantastic launch in London for it, so I was interested to she what she wrote next. It is quite different.
Four people are at a wedding when a guest stops, sits down on the floor and doesn't get up. She can not be 'woken' and appears to be in a catatonic state. Soon news of other very similar incidents are being reported.  It doesn't appear to be a virus yet it is spreading. The novel follows these 4 as they form relationships, move in with their partners and go out to work, or not. All with this strange pandemic type situation going on around them.

A slower paced story which in the main is a romance of sorts but also looks deeper  at the characters as this pandemic makes them look at themselves and those around them.
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Firstly, the lack of a ‘?‘ in the title is driving me mad!

4 people are at a wedding when one of the guests enters a catatonic state and refuses to move. Soon, this starts to spread around the world and becomes another pandemic.

This was really a contemporary ‘romance‘ novel, with the pandemic on its edges. There wasn‘t enough depth to that side of it, and the reasons behind the catatonia (mental illness, a voluntary response to the climate crisis?) weren‘t fully explored. It certainly shouldn‘t be compared to the authors in the blurb. The ending was rather weak too.

2.5 stars rounded up to 3
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Was not sure what to expect to this story and even now, I am not.sure It was an interesting read, but not enthralling
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I liked the start of this book and I liked the concept of it.  To just sit down and give up living without any knowledge of why or how is quite scary.  The story concentrates on 4 interconnecting people and you get their stories but ultimately I was disappointed with the ending.
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“He didn’t want to die, he just wanted to stop, to cease, sit down. Maybe just sleep, for a year or maybe forever.”

Four people, all in their late twenties/early thirties, are trying to be happy against the backdrop of a pandemic - no, not COVID-19 but a sinister mental health pandemic, where people simply... stop. They sit down, and never get up again, entering a state of catatonia. It's an intriguing premise that sadly I found the author squandered, using it as a jumping off point for 4 in depth character studies - which is fine, but I found myself rolling my eyes muttering "go back to the PANDEMIC!" 

I found the characters various shades of frustrating - Yun especially, who is the one we follow most closely. Emory, a journalist on the front lines of communicating what's happening with the "pyschogenic catatonia" is a little more complex, as are Andrew and Fin, but ultimately, none of them captured my imagination. 

I'm sad, as I was really looking forward to this one, but perhaps it's on me for expecting a dystopian novel where there simply isn't one - merely a dystopian backdrop. 

I will say that this is one of the most striking and beautiful covers I've seen in forever, though, so kudos to the designer.
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This was a wild and intriguing sci-fi dystopian. The novel starts off with an ominous gripping line when a “boy meets girl at a wedding and the world ends”. The story follows the four main characters, the way their life changes as they witness the affect of the mysterious catatonia. Yun, an agnostic struggling musician; Emory, a self inflicting news reporter hoping to gain success; Andrew, an underpaid teacher who had never felt much; and Fin, a young ballet dancer fighting against the world. The lives of these characters become intertwined with each other as they watch the harsh reality of NYC. Relationships are created, tested and some are distorted as “love not properly expressed mutated into something jagged”.

With an unknown disease, neither viral or bacterial, mass hysteria occurs when millions of people start shutting down. With no scientific reason and the government leaving them to come up with their own conclusion that "it wasn’t a virus. It was no longer a simple case of mass hysteria, it was now just a narrative, that too many people had accepted.” People are forced to carry on with their lives with the fear of the catatonia that seemed to be “something so vast it couldn’t be perceived with the eyes. It could only be felt, like an ache soul- deep.”

This novel touched on the downfalls of living in a capitalist society where individualism and competition is encourage. I enjoyed how Jameson used the different personalities to witness how people responded to the unknown pandemic and succumbed to the dystopian reality. Whilst reading, it reminded me so much of the initial response to covid and with the reference of coming out of a previous pandemic, it hinted at a far more sinister alternative. I really like how through all the mystery and paranoia, the book asked very philosophical questions about death. The question over why this disease has happened is never cleared up which only adds to the uncertainty and unease. Whilst this was not an easy read, this psychological pandemic had me very intrigued and is something that I would recommend.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Penguin General for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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