North of Happy

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Accompany Carlos and inevitably his brother on a journey north as Carlos ditches his graduation party and flees to a famous restaurant called Provecho on a small island off the coast of Seattle. Dealing with the sudden death of his whimsical and adventurous brother, Felix, leaves Carlos seeing him everywhere: in ghost-like manifestations, in swirling fog, or even in a pigeon. By abandoning Mexico City, Carlos also leaves his life as he knows it and pursues a Food Network fantasy with a famous chef and a summer romance with the chef’s daughter.

Adi Alsaid in North of Happy remarkably deals with grief and loss through implementing Spanish literary techniques like magical realism in conjunction with the element of delusion to describe these complex emotions and how people deal with them. When Carlos continues to push his brother’s phantasmal presence away, he continues to reappear, mirroring the haunting and inescapable feelings that come alongside a tragedy. Where Alsaid also wins is the amazing precision with which he discusses food, leaving me hungry after each chapter. Even though the recipes and descriptions inevitably made my stomach grumble, I couldn’t tear myself away from Carlos’s journey to fulfill his dreams. The relationships he builds and maintains mimic semi-normal life scenarios where the infusion of magic from Felix makes North of Happy incredibly successful.

Reviewed By:

Author Adi Alsaid
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Harlequin Teen
Publish Date 2017-Apr-25
ISBN 9780373212286 Buy this Book
Issue August 2017
Category Young Adult


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