Book Review: Happiness Falls by Angie Kim

20-year-old Mia’s life has just been upended. Her father is missing and the only person who may have the answer is her younger brother, Eugene. But Eugene has a rare genetic condition, Angelman syndrome, and is nonspeaking.

As a search party is organized to scour the nearby woods where Eugene and Mia’s dad take their daily walks, the police begin to focus on Eugene. Slowly, the truths each family member knows about their lives and each other are turned upside down.

Happiness Falls is a mystery but mostly a richly layered story about family, understanding, inclusion, and awareness. I love the angle of a nonspeaking person holding the key. It’s an intriguing story with layer upon layer of mystery.

This book did have a slow start, but the intrigue kicked in about 1/4 of the way through and as new layers of secrets came about I was more able to get lost in the storyline. Even though I enjoyed the book, there were some aspects that didn’t appeal to me. The characters jumped to assumptions far too much instead of having conversations. They seemed to tip toe around each other and jump to conclusions in a way that seemed more useful as a plot tool than true character behaviors. Also, Mia isn’t exactly an empathetic character for a majority of the story.
There were a lot of instances in which internal dialogue was heavy and Mia analyzed the motivation of others which slows the pace. I found there to be a lot of telegraphing the story line so plot twists/reveals weren’t necessarily unexpected or surprising when they happen.

Toward the end of the book there were a lot of interesting ideas on happiness and philosophy woven into the story line. Although I found it interesting , it was also a little didactic at times.

Overall, I’m glad I read Happiness Falls and I found it to be a unique read.

Happiness Falls will be released 8/29/23

I received a copy of Happiness Falls from Random House Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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