Cover Image: Are You Happy Now

Are You Happy Now

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Member Reviews

The premise of this book really drew me in, it sounded like something I would really enjoy, but unfortunately it did not work for me.

I like the idea of the book bringing to light how important the mental health crisis is, but I feel like the plot felt faltering at points. There was no real explanation of anything happening and the pacing of the book was off for me personally, it felt too slow. 

I found the characters to be disjointed. The relationships between them did not sit right with me for some reason and they did not fit into the overarching premise of the book either.

Something just did not feel right with this book for me, and I am also not really sure who I would recommend it to.
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This was one of those quiet peaceful apocalyptic reads. 
Follow a group of intertwined people as a catatonic sleeping condition plagues the world. While not necessarily focusing on the pandemic, it mostly focuses on the different forms of relationships and ultimately, complicated love.
This was more literary fiction than and for of pandemic novel.
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Hanna Jameson became an auto-buy author for me after I read her incredible apocalyptic novel THE LAST, which I recommend to people regularly. The chance to read her next book was a given, and I was pleased to find that ARE YOU HAPPY NOW was just as gripping. 

With a clearly drawn cast of characters, none of them perfect and all of them ringing familiarity bells in one way or another, the story begins with an eerie unexplained event which slowly starts to seep across the world. It's a sobering reflection of what it's like to live in a time when there's a daily tally of a terrible thing that's causing people to die. I believe this was written during the pandemic and even now, when the pandemic is still here but we're all just "getting on as normal" and going to work and so on, this book is unnerving in how honestly it looks at what that's like - to continue living and planning and working and enjoying yourself while people in your city or your neighbourhood, or your family or circle of friends, are dying.

This was a story I kept having to pick up to get a couple more pages done whenever I had a spare moment, and that to me is always a marker of success. I continue to hugely enjoy Hanna Jameson's work.
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This book made a very promising start - a guest at a wedding suddenly sits down and is unable to move, followed by a wave and then a pandemic of people falling into catatonic states, and then dying.  We follow Yun, Andrew, Fin and Emory as the pandemic spreads.   It is unclear whether the problem is caused by a virus or mass hysteria.

The story then loses impetus and direction, as we seem just to be embroiled in the romantic nonsense of these characters - all the males are apparently gay, even if married or with girlfriends.  The whole story becomes a rather self-obsessed diatribe as the characters fall in and out of love with each other and try to decide what they really want from life.  I think the author was trying to show that life is what we make of it, and the option of just sitting down and giving up remains with us all, but it fell rather flat for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin General UK - Fig Tree, Hamish Hamilton, Viking for allowing me access to the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Are You Happy Now starts at a wedding, a guest sits down and refuses to stand up. She’ll turn out to be the first out of many people around the world. We then follow four guests at this wedding witnessing the world changing and their lives changing too. It was a really captivating book to read, dealing with mental health and the younger generations living through a worldwide disease that aims people randomly. The writing was great and most characters were really interesting to follow. Definitely a book I’ll recommend at my bookstore!
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for letting me read this ahead of publication.
3.75/5 rounded up to 4. *Some spoilers*
I really enjoyed this very emotional and intense book. The characters were very well fleshed - I felt like I knew them all and I understood their motives and pains, their situations, emotions, and relationships were extremely realistic and I couldn't help feeling for them. I found myself getting emotional a few times and ended up thinking about the characters when I was not reading, which in my book is a sign of goor vibes. The writing style was engaging and beautiful. I also loved how diverse the characters were, in many different ways.
I felt like it could've been slightly shorter overall, as there was, in my opinion, a slight change in pace in the last 30%.
The minus for me was the "pandemic" plot. Mostly because even though it was a major plot point and a major driving force, the fact that it was never actually developed and explained further bugged me throughout the book. The fact that we didn't have a clear "theory" as to what was causing it and if it was, in the end, intentional or not made me doubt some motives and the peoples reactions to it, especially due to recent and still ongoing real events. 
Overall a really great read and once I will surely recommend!
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Thanks to net galley for this free read. I read 'The Last' by this author which is totally different but also has themes of 'the end of the world' and how it may/could happen.
The opening scene introduces the reader to the main characters who are attending a wedding. Yun and his best friend Andrew attend as do Emory (a journalist) and Fin a ballet student. During the wedding one of the guests sits down on the dancefloor and 'refuses' to get back up again. 
We follow the lives of the above characters in the following days where more and more people appear to be struck down by an illness which could be physiological or could be due to mental ill health. Nobody can pinpoint the cause and no individuals survive. The book poses the question - 'is it a choice or is it an illness.'
This was an interesting read and although it took me a while to get into it, it felt like it ended too soon!
I look forward to reading more from this author and what subject she tackles next!
Thanks again to net galley.
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At a wedding in New York, four friends witness one of the other guests enter what seems to be a catatonic state that they cannot recover from. Soon it transpires that this isn't just an isolated incident but something that, slowly but surely, becomes pandemic-like in scale and prevalence.

Is it a virus? Is it psychological? Is it mass hysteria? No one seems to know what's going on, and this looming threat fosters an uneasiness as you're getting to know these characters. This makes their attempts at navigating their relationships that much more intense.

What follows is a relatable and timely character-driven exploration of the state of the world today. And whilst Jameson's worldview is at times a nihilistic one, it is also rooted in reality, serving as a damning critique of capitalism.

Jameson's characterisations are complex and diverse (two of the four main characters are Asian whilst gay and bisexual identities are also reoresented). We learn about their hopes and dreams, their fears and doubts.

If you're not into contemplating the 'big questions' in life, then this book may not be for you. For me, it was a real treat that validated the way I look at the world sometimes, especially in the midst of an existential crisis.

Many thanks to Viking Books and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced digital copy in exchange for my honest feedback.
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This novel is hard to describe. In brief, it's about a pandemic, with all the echoes of the COVID crisis one would expect – the fear, the uncertainty, the impact on the economy and society as a whole, the grief and the loss. But more than that, it's about love, and selfishness, and creativity and apathy. It's about frustration and settling and fighting and giving up. The illness sweeping the world takes a strange and haunting form; those affected abruptly sit down and refuse to move, speak, eat, drink – they simply stop and effectively wait to die. Are You Happy Now explores this chilling pandemic from the perspective of a group of interconnected friends, each struggling with their own personal issues – sexuality, break-ups, relationship problems, career challenges – which take on a stark nature when set against the backdrop that all around them, people are suddenly stopping and seeming to give up. Really compelling and unsettling.
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Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Not for me, this one, I found it quite disturbing. Although well-written.
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Unfortunately for me this was a dnf book. The characters are dull and not interesting and the plot moved far too slowly for it to keep me interested and engaged. I wasn't super eager to read a book which feels like it is about a pandemic especially after going through one but I would still give it a try but the pacing was just far too slow for me to care. Honestly the writing style made me slightly bored.
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This was so different. A slow burn which eventually had me hooked. I have a fascination fir books with a dystopian feel and am always pleasantly surprised when takes me in a different direction to what I was expecting .
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I was really intrigued by the premise of this book but unfortunately I wasn't a big fan. Perhaps it was too close to living through a pandemic to read it or it may not have suited my January mood when reading but I failed to connect to any of the main characters and when a novel is largely character driven , you need to feel something for the characters and unfortunately I didn't. and found the second half dragged before being neatly tied up. An interesting idea but the delivery fell flat for me, maybe I missed something obvious but I think this books target audience is one that is a lot younger than I am.

2 stars.
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Intense, cutting and enthralling writing from an incredible writer. For those who enjoy Naomi Alderman and Patricia Lockwood, this novel asks the right questions and is both hopeful and desperate all at once.
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"Boy meets girl at a wedding and the world ends."

On paper Are You Happy Now? was my kind of book. However, the characters were so self-absorbed, shallow and repellent that I almost didn't finish the book several times. I only carried on because I enjoyed the author's previous book. 

I read this book to the end and I am still undecided whether it would have been better to have not read it. It made me feel something for the characters I guess but I don't feel like it left me with anything. Having said this, it was well written and I liked the premise. It wasn't for me but it may be the book for someone else. 

"The young woman in the teal dress appeared to have sat down....

Emory took both of Rose's hands and gently pulled, but as soon as she exerted enough force to threaten to bring her to her feet,Rose snatched herself out of Emory's grasp with what could only be described as a snarl. Her face was contorted, teeth bared.  Only when she was free did her expression slacken once again. Her eye though, those were blank."

If you can look past the entitled and obnoxious characters then you may enjoy the book.
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I knew nothing about this book before I'd started it, but I'd seen a lot of hype and knew I needed to read it. 

I didn't enjoy it so to speak (the type of book it is, means it isn't lighthearted) but I'm glad I read it, and I could not put it down. 

The first real event that happens is a friend sits down at a wedding, refuses to get up and lashes out at those who try and help her. Is this a form of protest? Is she sick? And what happens if she isn't the only one? 

The premise of this is so interesting - nothing at all like your usual pandemic plot. I would have liked an explanation but totally realise why I can't have one. The arguments and theories are fascinating and add to your understanding of everyone and their perspectives. 

With this as a backdrop, it's really a study into our four main characters and how they manage with the uncertainty of what is happening around them. They are all very different; I loved Emory at the start and how she tried to find answers while living with guilt (but felt she lost part of herself towards the end), Andrew and his compassion grew on me, Finn evolved most as a character but I struggled to really connect with him, and Yun I just struggled with full stop. 

The tone of the whole book is bleak, with little in the way of hope for the (fictional?) future, but we see our cast try to live their lives and have relationships regardless. There are lessons in morality and ethics with huge themes about mental health, death and suicide - so please make sure you're in a good place to read this before you start. 

All in all, a fascinating slow-paced but quick-witted dystopian novel!
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For me the pandemic/dystopian vibes of this book kind of felt too soon unfortunately (but I won’t let that impact my review!). Disregarding that I did think the angle was very interesting and found myself intrigued. I enjoyed getting to know the different characters and their relationships, they all felt quite raw and real and that was probably my favourite part of this book. I got a bit bored halfway through though and had to push myself through. Most of the answers or resolutions I was waiting for fizzled out a little which is where the book lost a few stars from me. If it sounds like an interesting read to you definitely give it a try when you’re in the right headspace!
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Sorry, got halfway through, but it was mind numbingly slow paced and I gave up. Didn’t care about any of the characters, who were all self obsessed. I’m probably the wrong age group to enjoy this.
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Are You Happy Now is a quiet, intelligent, emotional and moving novel. And compulsively readable. Like all the best dystopian novels, it gets to the heart of how ordinary people experience extraordinary events. The concept is brilliant (psychogenic catatonia), both as a storyline and for it's possible metaphorical interpretations.

The novel works well on an intellectual level: it sparks a lot of 'what if?' thinking as well as reflections about what it is to be young in today's world (and not just in terms of living through a global pandemic).  But it's also a good read, even if you don't feel like putting too much thought into it. In other words, it allows you to think but doesn't force you to do so - I like that in a book :-) 

It's got engaging characters (not all likeable, but mostly interesting), a good story, good dialogue and pacing, and it's well written. It's rather dark, occasionally nihilistic, and sad, but actually not depressing to read - I can't quite put my finger on why that is. I think some readers may be more dragged down by it while for others it may tap into ideas about resilience and optimism.

I would recommend it highly for any reader who likes books that explore stories about people living through adversity, and for book clubs in particular: it could trigger some interesting discussions!
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Are You Happy Now is the second novel I’ve read by this author. It follows four people. Yun a musician/DJ, Andrew a professor, Emory an aspiring news reporter and Fin a ballet student. All four are attending a wedding when they witness a guest at the wedding sit down in the middle of the dance floor. When guests try to help her up she refuses their help by lashing out. At first this looks as a one off incident but soon people across the world are doing the same.

This was an interesting read that not only covers a pandemic but questions the way people live and mental health issues. It’s not obvious at first that this is what the book is about but this is what I came away with after finishing this book.

I felt this was a well written book, it was easy to follow and although it didn’t feel particularly fast paced I wanted to read on. The characters are well done and develop well as the book progresses. However, I didn’t particularly like them. I mean I liked them at the beginning of the book but as the book progressed my feelings towards them started to change.

This was definitely looking to be my favourite book by Jameson however the ending is the reason for the lower rating. I found it predictable and left me unsatisfied. I did work out roughly how it would end about halfway through the book. Also I was expecting the whole thing to be more dystopian/ pandemic based as this is the vibe I got from the description.

This is definitely one of those books that won’t be for everyone but it was still a good read, and can’t wait to see what Jameson comes up with next!!

I would like to thank the publishers Penguin General UK and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for my honest and unbiased thoughts.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Death, Mental Health and Mention of Suicide

My Rating 3.5 stars
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