Cover Image: Happiness Falls (Good Morning America Book Club)

Happiness Falls (Good Morning America Book Club)

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A bit of a bummer for me. Angie Kim’s debut novel was a knockout favorite. For some reason, this fell short - it was a bit too drawn out and melodramatic. Some editing down may have helped.
Was this review helpful?
This was an interesting and intriguing read. I did find it hard to get into at first but once I got through the first third I was hooked. The subject and storyline was pretty unique and sometimes the amount of information provided was a bit heavy to digest. I did enjoy the book and especially the exploration of the family dynamics involved in a family made up of very different personalities. I will look forward to reading more books by this author. 

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you, NetGalley, for this book.

I read Miracle Creek a couple of years ago after hearing what an amazing book it was. And I definitely thought it was great. It featured an autistic boy, so I was surprised this book also did. Not only does Eugene have autism, but he also has Angelman Syndrome and cannot communicate in any way. The story begins with Eugene running home unattended by his father after they go for a walk.

Eugene would never be left alone due to his neurodivergence. His family loves him and protects him, but his father is nowhere to be found. What unravels as the family tries to find their patriarch is an epic secret. I have a neurodivergent nephew who can barely communicate. And, much like Eugene, he would never be left alone to find his way home after a walk. Watching my family protect my nephew, support him, and love him, is very much reflected in this book. I also related to the main character, Mia, very much. Our personalities are similar.

I read this book in two days and absolutely loved it. One of the best I’ve read this year. This might be due to a bias that I related to the story so much, but that’s the beauty of reading. Being seen.
Was this review helpful?
Great book. I found the storyline, plot, and characters to be very unique and enjoyable. You cannot go wrong with a Good Morning America Book Club pick.
Was this review helpful?
Happiness Falls is the best book of 2023. The prose is honest and truthful. The story is both shocking and suspenseful. Angie Kim doesn't go the easy route to enlighten and move the reader. She goes to places that a lot of writers wouldn't go especially in a story that centers on a child with autism especially when it comes to narrator's anger, jealousy, and resentment of her autistic brother.  

Happiness Falls is guaranteed to put Angie Kim on a great deal of best books of 2023 lists. 

It's number one on mine.
Was this review helpful?
I was looking forward to reading Happiness Falls by Angie Kim after having read her debut novel, Miracle Creek. Happiness Falls did not disappoint. It was a riveting thriller mystery about a missing person. The beginning was a little slow but once this well plotted story took shape I found myself totally immersed. Happiness Falls was character driven and was very well written. Angie Kim once again proved that she is a masterful storyteller. There were several clever twists throughout the book that kept me guessing. It took place in a suburb of Washington, D.C. during the pandemic of 2020. I found it deeply moving and it aroused many emotions in me throughout the book.

The Parksons family was not your typical family. They were a biracial family with a Korean mother, Hannah, who had a PhD in Linguistics and had switched roles with her husband to become the sole breadwinner for the Parksons family. Adam was a Caucasian American father who had been a successful businessman but had opted to become a stay-at-home dad. Then there were twenty year old twins, Mia and John, who had been attending college until the outbreak of the pandemic and were now living at home. Lastly, there was fourteen year Eugene, who had been officially diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome when he was younger and was completely non-verbal. The family dynamics worked for this family. Each member had their role to play and it seemed to work until Adam, husband and father, never came back home after an outing with Eugene. The main focus of Happiness Falls centered around the ongoing investigation into Adam’s disappearance and the revelations of hope, heartache, fear, discoveries and acceptance the family dealt with during this crisis.

I had some experience working with adolescent autistic and nonverbal children when I was working on my masters degree many years ago. However, Angelman syndrome was not a diagnosis I was familiar with. I especially enjoyed learning about the methods that have become available for nonverbal children over the years. These techniques have given this population their voices back so that they could communicate with their families and others. My admiration goes out to those who have chosen to do this.

Happiness Falls was suspenseful and thought provoking at the same time. It focused on several issues that included family dynamics, the complications involved with nonverbal communication, language, intelligence, raising a child with special needs, racism, interracial marriages and the effects it has on the children, ableism and the challenges nonverbal people face. I really enjoyed reading Happiness Falls by Angie Kim and recommend it highly.

Thank you to the publishers for allowing me to read Happiness Falls by Angie Kim through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Was this review helpful?
This book had all the feels. 

I still think about this book often months after finishing it. I think this is a must read for anyone
Was this review helpful?
A quiet mystery that is wrought with tension, that really leaves you thinking about our preconceived notions of intelligence and ability. The narrators voice is just delicious, as it builds the tension in subtle way, and the train of through in the footnotes was exactly my cup of tea. I wasn't 100% satisfied with the resolution to the mystery, but that wasn't really the point, in the end, and it left me with lots to think about.
Was this review helpful?
I hated the POV character. The writing jumped all over the place and I had a hard time keeping track of what was happening.
Was this review helpful?
Kerry and her brother,Murphy, were on their way to New York City to set up their family Christmas tree lot.  It had been a hard year on their farm. The weather destroyed a large part of their trees and then their Father had a heart attack.  So with a trailer full of trees and a motor home, that had seen better days ,they really needed to do well this season so they could continue with their farm.

After arriving they are surprised to see a rival lot. This has never happened before. The neighborhood has a lot of interesting characters. All taking care of each other.  Will Kerry find her true calling and leave home? 

This was a heartwarming Christmas story.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed reading Happiness Falls. The story builds suspense as we try to figure out what has happened to the father in the story. The only witness to his disappearance is nonverbal. I like the pacing of the story, which is well written and captivating.
Was this review helpful?
This book truly touched me as the aunt of a non-verbal young adult.  I loved the story and how the author's  description of the various relationships and family dynamics were true to what I have experienced.  Such a wonderful story!
Was this review helpful?
The premise and characters are entertaining, but I am the problem once again.

I don't know if I am just a hater of the genre or if I am expecting the genre to be mind-blowing.

I will give Happiness Falls a thumbs up for the build-up, the twists and turns, and the fantastic writing, though! It is original, and we love a different MC (cough notwhite cough.)
Was this review helpful?
This was my first book to read by this author but it won't be my last! This was a beautifully written novel that evokes so many emotions and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Don't miss out on this one!
Was this review helpful?
This novel caught my attention from the first page and never let go. The way the author unfolds the story piece by piece is masterful. I really came to care for this family, especially Eugene who has been trapped without being able to communicate for so long. I will read everything Angie Lom writes.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for this advanced copy.

Happiness Falls is such an interesting and wonderful book.  Part mystery, part family drama, I loved how Kim wove the central storyline about a missing father, an autistic non-verbal brother, and a family trying to come to terms with a significant event while navigating 2020 Covid together into a complex braid.  The characters have nuance and structure and I appreciated how Kim kept the plot tight and personal while expanding it as needed to get a fuller picture of what happened that fateful day in the park.  At times I worried that the characters were dealing with a lot of red herrings, but overall I found this story soulful, beautiful, and, at times, heartwarming in its care for the characters.
Was this review helpful?
The mystery element of this story is relatively predictable, but that doesn’t matter too much. What really drives this story is the family dynamics. We have a son who is essentially locked inside of his own brain, unable to communicate. We also have a well-intentioned, but misguided family who assumes he has no thoughts. Seeing him learn to communicate and his thoughts about his disability and treatment were fascinating. Overall, a good, but slightly predictable read.
Was this review helpful?
The family drama.  The disappearance.  The twists.  I just had trouble connecting this one and struggled to finish.
Was this review helpful?
Angie Kim's "Happiness Falls" is a spellbinding exploration of a biracial Korean-American family in Virginia, plunged into turmoil when the father inexplicably vanishes. The narrative opens with a gripping statement—“We didn't call the police right away”—setting the stage for an extraordinary tale of suspense, familial bonds, and personal revelations.

Narrated through the eyes of Mia, the astute and analytical twenty-year-old daughter, the story unfolds as her father and younger brother disappear during a routine walk. Initially attributing their absence to a trivial incident, Mia remains unperturbed until her brother returns home, injured and unable to speak due to his Angelman syndrome, providing the sole witness account.

As the clock ticks, the novel becomes a riveting investigation, both in the search for the missing father and in unraveling the intricate dynamics of a tightly-knit family. Kim expertly crafts a narrative brimming with shocking twists, delving deep into themes of love, race, language, and the profound connections that bind us together.

Angie Kim's "Happiness Falls"  is not just a mystery; it's a deeply moving family drama and a profound exploration of human relationships.  It is an indelible and emotionally resonant story that lingers in the mind long after the final page—a testament to the lengths families go to in their pursuit of understanding and unity.

I just reviewed Happiness Falls (Good Morning America Book Club) by Angie Kim. #HappinessFalls #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to receive this book for an honest review.

I had such high hopes due to all the publicity and reviews I read.

But honestly I was disappointed. I found disturbed about reading about a disabled non-verbal child. Not that I have a problem with it I just was sad.

I found myself putting down this book and picking it back up. But in the end I could not finish, sad to say.
Was this review helpful?